Tucson, Arizona would have never existed without the Santa Cruz river. Yet Tucson’s success has transformed the Santa Cruz from an intermittent stream meandering through a lush floodplain into a dry channel imprisoned by cement walls. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Santa Cruz was Tucson’s geographic and cultural heart, but today the river is a forgotten landscape. Drained of water and stripped of vegetation, ignored the media and physically distant from most Tucsonans, the Santa Cruz is dismissed as an unfortunate casualty of Arizona’s modernization. But the river continues to be relevant--its very silence a loud reminder that civilization in the desert comes at a price and that, underneath the Arizona dream, there is a harsh environmental reality.