This spring water is captured to create a pond for use in dry times, as well as a refuge for birds and wildlife. The high water mark shows that the level has been low for some time. Culturally significant to the Navajo, this was the place they returned to when released in 1868 from their forced captivity at Bosque Redondo, New Mexico.
Dry cattle tank during a drought year. A clamor for bottled ‘spring’ water, industrial agriculture, cattle grazing and unchecked domestic growth put increasing demands on the biologically critical ecosystems that aquifers support.
The water that seeps out of canyon walls is a combination of a local aquifer and winter precipitation. As it flows down a cliff face it creates a vertical oasis of water and shade in an otherwise parched, environment. Being the only game in town so to speak they serve as a ‘hot’ spot’ for biodiversity supporting a wide variety of many plants, terrestrial and, aquatic invertebrates, as well as birds, mammals, and amphibians. Invasive species as well as changing weather patterns and long term droughts threaten their viability.
During the 2003/4 drought the water table became so low this spring once a part of a hot springs spa, dried up. While the drought has ended increasing local development water use has kept levels too low to support its return.
A geo-thermal artesian spring with a constant temperature at approximately 105 degrees, Tecopa Hot Springs is a remnant of the late Pliocene and early Pleistocene lake, that filled Tecopa basin. The climate became dryer and hotter leaving isolated springs along with ancestral Desert Pupfish. Today they are an endangered species. Relatively near the pacific migratory flyway a wide variety of birds stop here. Located on the Old Spanish Trail, the springs are mentioned in the Prairie Traveler: The 1859 Handbook for Westbound Pioneers. Tecopah was a Paiute chief.