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Updated 11/1/2021

Rescues not yet scheduled but in the planning stages. (note - rescues are put on the website calendar before email announcements go out)

Urban Rescues - We are formalizing our program to save plants from urban landscapes. More information below.

Pima Co. Fairgrounds - Hopefully we will have at least one more visit to the fairgrounds for barrels, ocotillo and the possibility of a queen or two the first Saturday in November.

8 acres near Cortaro Farms rd. - A possibility in early November.

Rocking K site - Another Rocking K parcel might come available sometime in November.

Tucson Mountain Foothills - 13 + Acres in north of West Speedway and east of North Camino de Oeste. Available for rescue sometime in the first quarter of 2022. Not scouted yet but there are likely to be saguaros on this rescue.

Corona de Tucson Ocotillo site - A new section may be available near the area we previously rescued in that area.

The Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society Cactus Rescue Crew saves cacti and other native plants that would otherwise be destroyed during land development. 

Our work crew volunteers dig up and move the cacti out of these constructions sites. Some plants go home with the volunteers, some are transplanted to Pima Prickly Park, and the rest are sold at our plant sales.

There are many tasks suited to different physical abilities, so all members are able to participate. To join us in our cactus rescue activities, check the Cactus Rescue box in your member profile. To change your profile, you must log-in to your account, click on the person icon in the top right corner of this screen. After your profile is updated, you will receive rescue email notices when rescues are scheduled.

Urban Rescues

While the main focus of our cactus rescue program is on commercial construction sites, we also try to save unusual or specimen size cacti and succulents from destruction in Tucson's urban landscapes.

When a homeowner asks us to rescue plants from an existing landscape, we have a small group of our cactus rescue crew that can move plants from harm's way to Pima Prickly Park, Desert Haven Natural Resource Park or (if not needed there) to volunteer crew members' landscapes.

To contact TCSS for a possible rescue, email us at TCSS@TucsonCactus.org  

When you contact us to request an Urban Rescue, please include:

  • address & contact information  
  • photos of the plants to be removed
A TCSS rescue program team member will visit the location to evaluate the health of the plants, loading access, HOA noise restrictions and possibly order blue stake utility marking before a rescue is scheduled.

When a rescue is scheduled, a small group of 2 to 10 volunteers will come to remove the plants.
This team also serves as a large plant installation crew for Pima Prickly Park and Desert Haven Natural Resource Park.

Join this team by submitting your availability profile here -->    

You may see a list of pending Urban Rescues and / or modify your availability profile from the Volunteer Menu option (above)

  Preserving the Desert:
  Sustaining the Planet through Partnerships 
          Click Here to Watch Video 



The TCSS Cactus Rescue Crew Program was created in 1999.  We held our20th Anniversary Celebration October 5, 2019. See photos for this event and others on our Photos page.

Often, many viable native plants are simply cleared away with other desert vegetation during construction. Since 1999, we have accomplished Hundreds of rescues with volunteers putting in Over 39,000 hours, and Over 107,000 native plants have been saved and provided new homes throughout Arizona.



Our efforts are supplemental to the on-site preservation or other salvage that may be required by the development permits and Native Plant Protection Ordinances (NPPO).  By selling our rescued cactus at reasonable costs to the public, we not only save these native plants, but encourage homeowners to use native plants in their landscapes, saving water and preserving our Southern Arizona gene-pool.

Please Note: We have a strict Cactus Rescue Crew Policy and Procedures Document, please review it if you plan to participate with our crew, all rules must be followed.  We must maintain a perfect Safety record as well as following all Developer, Municipality and State requirements. 


  • Cactus Rescue Crew Program - Brochure  (available at our sales)
  • How to Plant & Care for Your New Ocotillo - Brochure  (available at our sales)
  • Rescuing Ocotillo Canes and uses by Steve - view
  • How to Plant & Care for Saguaro, Barrel or Hedgehog Cactus - Brochure  (available at our sales)
  • Cactus Gloves we use when we rescue and plant cacti. We sell them at our Cactus sales - Info (available at our sales)
  • Moving a 10 foot tall Saguaro by the TCSS Cactus Rescue Crew by John Durham - Animation
  • Cactus Rescue Crew informational video - 2007, a 12 minute Windows Media File presentation -view
  • Cactus Rescue Crew informational video  - 2003, a 9 minute Windows Media File presentation - view 
  • Presentation - Saving and Handling Our Native Cacti - Updated May 2018 - PowerPoint pdf Version
  • Presentation - Rescuing Cacti by TCSS Cactus Rescue Crew - Updated May 2018 - PowerPoint pdf Version
  • Presentation - Rescuing Cacti by TCSS Cactus Rescue Crew - Updated Sept 2020 - PowerPoint pdf Version

Chris Monrad, one of our our Cactus Rescue Crew Program founders, had an article on our project published in the monthly magazine, The Arizona Civil Engineer.

YOU CAN HELP!  We need your “Eyes and Ears” to help us find new Cactus Rescue Crew sites.  Please email us at Site @ TucsonCactus.org with as much information as you can from new project signs or from other sources. Attach a photo of the sign if you can.

    Cactus Rescues By The Numbers


    Rescued Cacti
    Rescue Trips Volunteer Hours Cactus Tag Costs # of Crew Acres Rescued Rescued Sites
    1999-2001 5565 40 600 $10,000 6 t o 30 200 15
    2002 4282 32 1263 $9,471 48 969 7
    2003 1771 9 647 $3,897 68 334 5
    2004 4382 28 1300 $10,303 113 608 17
    2005 9412 32 2317 $23,792 203 1046 13
    2006 5981 28 2258 $15,037 177 451 19
    2007 5965 20 2426 $13,290 180 407 7
    2008 5038 19 2447 $15,528 191 166 9
    2009 4670 25 2466 $22,475 184 127 10
    2010 3716 24 1991 $14,775 157 415 10
    2011 6435 27 1931 $12,121 142 186 10
    2012 4991 16 1476 $11,882 152 208 10
    2013 4615 24 1761 $14,207 157 163 7
    2014 7700 28 2170 $19,779 183 387 12
    2015 2061 11 842 $4,189 130 293 8
    2016 3828 15 2161 $9,054 134 426 9
    2017 3369 14 2190 $7,169 127 300 8
    2018 8404 24 2602 $10,564 146 274 14
    2019 8976 47 3795 $14,673 164 994 21
    2020 5869
    All Years 107,030 516 39,643 $252,322   8,132


    • To learn about the Statues regarding the protection and enforcement of Arizona Native Plant Laws (see Chapter 7) go to the following site: www.azleg.state.az.us/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp?Title=3
    • For forms to file permits and applications to be able to legally remove native plants go to this web site: https://agriculture.az.gov/plantsproduce/native-plants
    • Letter from Arizona Dept of Agriculture regarding non-tagged Arizona Native Plants view
    • Arizona Department of Agriculture Changes to Native Plant Law when moving cacti a second time view
    • Permits can be filled and tags purchased from the Tucson, Arizona Department of Agriculture office, located downtown at 400 W. Congress, Rm 124, phone 628-6317, They have limited office hours, call first.

    Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society (TCSS)

    PO Box 64759  -  Tucson, AZ 85728-4759   -   Phone: (520) 256-2447  -  Email: TCSS@TucsonCactus.org

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