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Spatial Database of Known and Potential Cienegas in the Greater Madrean Archipelago Ecoregion

February 15, 2022

This dataset provides location information and some limited attributes of known and potential cienegas in the Madrean Archipelago ecoregion and closely surrounding area. This was created using point data and information provided by Dean Hendrickson and Thomas Minckley, combined with potential locations derived from analysis of classified raster land cover images and other specialized datasets. Cienegas, as defined here, are wetlands in arid and semi-arid regions associated with groundwater or lotic components that ideally result in perennial waters on temporal scales of decades to centuries. Cienegas are typically located at elevations ranging from 0 to 2000m. Cienegas are typified by significant differences in flora and fauna relative to the greater terrestrial conditions in the region in which they are located. Cienegas are freshwater to brackish North American wetlands associated with fluvial systems of arid/semi-arid areas of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. Once extensively utilized by the region's indigenous human cultures, as well as early European explorers and settlers, the extent of these aquatic riparian communities has dramatically decreased from historic conditions. These communities are now considered imperiled in North America.