Groundwater pumping along portions of the binational San Pedro River has depleted aquifer storage that supports baseflow in the San Pedro River. A consortium of 23 agencies, business interests, and non-governmental organizations pooled their collective resources to develop the scientific understanding and technical tools required to optimize the management of this complex, interconnected groundwater-surface water system. A paradigm shift occurred as stakeholders first collaboratively developed, and then later applied, several key hydrologic simulation and monitoring tools. Water resources planning and management transitioned from a traditional water budget-based approach to a more strategic and spatially-explicit optimization process. After groundwater modeling results suggested that strategic near-stream recharge could reasonably sustain baseflows at or above 2003 levels until the year 2100, even in the presence of continued groundwater development, a group of collaborators worked for four years to acquire 2250 hectares of land in key locations along 34 kilometers of the river specifically for this purpose. These actions reflect an evolved common vision that considers the multiple water demands of both humans and the riparian ecosystem associated with the San Pedro River.