Environmental Factors

Nature and Science
A rare sight - snow in the mountains.

The Sonoran Desert exhibits many of the characteristics common to desert areas: low humidity and low rainfall, a high ratio of evaporation to precipitation, and a paucity of moisture available to promote growth. This desert also has many unique aspects. The proximity of the Gulf of California, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico, and the distribution of high mountain barriers in the region influence the amount, apportionment, and seasonality of rainfall.

Much of the Sonoran Desert is rather wet by desert standards, receiving more that 8 inches (20.3 centimeters) of annual precipitation, distributed biannually in late winter/early spring by frontal pacific storms and in late summer by often local and occasionally violent convectional storms. Drought and temperature extremes continually stress on the Sonoran desert environment, but periods of relief have occurred with sufficient frequency to permit the evolution of a rich and highly specialized biota. The result to specialization and adaptation in this desert has been the ability of flora and fauna to endure environmental stresses, and to optimize utilization of environmental resources—particularly water—when they are available.

State of the Park

In 2012, Organ Pipe, along with eight other parks, was selected as a pilot park in a new project for the National Park Service called State of the Parks. State of the Park reports are intended to:

  1. Provide visitors and the American public a snapshot of the status and trend in the condition of the park's priority resources and values;
  2. Summarize and communicate complex scientific, scholarly, and park operations' factual information and expert opinion using non-technical language and a visual format;
  3. Highlight park stewardship activities and accomplishments to maintain or improve the State of the Park; and
  4. Identify key issues and challenges facing the park to help inform park management planning.

Visit the State of the Park webpage

Last updated: July 14, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

10 Organ Pipe Drive
Ajo, AZ 85321



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