The Springs Stewardship Institute, established 2013, is a global initiative of the
Museum of Northern Arizona, a non-profit 501(c)(3).

Our Mission

To advance understanding and stewardship of springs ecosystems.

Our Vision

We are committed to advancing research and stewardship of springs ecosystems on the Colorado Plateau and throughout the world. SSI understands that we must build upon our foundational pillars in order to accomplish this goal:

With over 40 years of field and research experience, Larry Stevens and Abe Springer developed standardized protocols to further understanding of springs ecology and stewardship. As part of this initiative, SSI developed Springs Online©, a publicly available and ever-growing database relating geological, physical, biological, and socio-cultural information on springs throughout the world.

We are reaching our goal of improved springs stewardship through rigorous, comprehensive, and educational outreach, training, and publication of results for those who manage these precious freshwater resources. Springs Online provides the framework needed for effective management. SSI also hosts workshops, webinars, and online sessions to present the elements of springs stewardship and provide guidance to land managers, other researchers, and students.

Effective management of springs ecosystems requires careful inventory, assessment, planning, implementation, and monitoring, all of which are best based on rigorous science. As thousands of springs are already managed by various individuals, organizations, and governmental agencies, standardized protocols are essential for promoting communication, discussion, and collaboration about aquifers and springs. SSI’s springs ecosystem inventory, assessment, and management protocols provide this standardization and have proven effective in the management and restoration of springs.

Collaboration is one of the most important aspects of our work. Our parent organization, the Museum of Northern Arizona, plays an enormous role in bringing our research to the public eye. In addition, we work with non-profit organizations, foundations, government land managers, universities, and corporations to improve the understanding and stewardship of springs. We also collaborate with researchers and volunteers who contribute research, photos, survey data, and time. SSI hopes that, as we work to further our mission, that our partnerships will continue to grow.



  • Continue to advance research on springs ecosystems in aridlands as well as other environments to understand the relationship between springs and their surrounding ecosystems.

  • Increase the number of collaborators, resulting in an increase of data, improved tools, more complex mapping, analysis, and solutions planning of springs and their ecosystems.

  • Extend the reach of SSI, encouraging local, state, federal, and international governments to adopt SSI protocols for springs and groundwater management.

  • Develop improved educational programs and materials for foundations, conservation organizations, government land managers, private land owners, and Tribal governments to improve their stewardship of springs.

  • Develop educational programs for youth, to teach new generations the importance of water conservation, not just in lakes and rivers, but all sources of freshwater.

  • In 2013, SSI became a Global Initiative of the Museum of Northern Arizona 501(c)(3).

  • SSI launched Springs Online in 2014 as a publicly accessible resource of springs ecological, biological, and geological data. Learn more in the Database User Manual.

  • In September 2015, the US Forest Service entered into an MOU with SSI to host their springs data collected across the nation.

  • SSI has collaborated and partnered with many organizations to map and compile springs data for more than 7 regions, including: Southern Alberta Springs, Arizona Springs, Desert LCC, Southern Rockies LCC, Nevada Springs, and other Individual Projects.

  • In April, 2015, Dr. Larry Stevens and Jeri Ledbetter attended the 5th Annual International HydroEco Conference in Vienna Austria. They presented their research, "Springs Ecosystem Inventory, Assessment, and Systematic Information Management: A Global Approach,” to members of the European Union. Their research received notice from several nations who expressed interest in adopting SSI protocols and the database to improve their own local management of springs and groundwater resources.