By providing a reliable input of water to the Santa Cruz River, this project directly supports the growth of native plant species and return of endangered wildlife. Sonora Mud Turtles and Gila Topminnow have been found residing in the Santa Cruz River further north, downstream of Pima County's wastewater treatment facilities, where treated wastewater has been released into the river since 2013. In 2016, more than 70,000 bird observations and a total of 221 species were recorded in the stretch of the river currently containing water. Discharging water upstream elevates the possibility of these species returning Tucson's urban center.
The Santa Cruz River Heritage Project will offer bike riders, joggers, walkers, and equestrians along the downtown section of “The Loop” trail improved river conditions and flowing water to admire when spending time along the paths. These recreational opportunities will also support regional historical and cultural community projects in the area such as the Mission Garden Project and the Mercado District.