[Source: Arizona Reporter] — The Trust for Public Land (TPL), First United Realty, Inc., Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the permanent protection of 795 acres in Santa Cruz County. This is the third and final purchase in a multi-year effort to conserve ecologically significant portions of the historic Salero Ranch.
The property is located in Ash Canyon, just two miles upstream from Patagonia Lake State Park. It will be managed for wildlife habitat by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in cooperation with Arizona State Parks as a part of the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area. The property will offer hiking, bird watching, hunting and camping opportunities. This acquisition expands protection of the watershed in an important tributary to Sonoita Creek. The property contains a portion of Ash Canyon, a drainage to Patagonia Lake, and several springs. The largest, called George Wise Spring, contains perennial ponds and riparian forest. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
Don Farmer, board president of the Arizona Heritage Alliance, received an Award of Excellence from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission at its annual banquet on January 19, 2008. Each year the Commission recognizes outstanding Arizonans that have contributed significantly to the welfare of Arizona’s wildlife and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
The Arizona Heritage Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was created in 1992 to protect Arizona’s Heritage Fund and its objectives. It is guided by a Board of Directors drawn from a broad base of outdoor sports, environmental conservation, and historic preservation groups that helped pass the 1990 statewide initiative creating the Heritage Fund. Numerous attempts in the past have been made to redirect the flow of Heritage Funds. AHA members and supporters — through hundreds of phone calls, e-mails, letters, and one-on-one meetings — have successfully maintained the integrity of the Heritage Fund.
In the picture above, Don visits with Kathryn “Sam” Campana at the awards banquet. Don, Sam (fellow AHA board member), and the entire AHA board encourage you to contact your state legislator to sign the pledge to protect the Heritage Fund, wildlife programs, and State Parks from any cuts in the state’s budget during the 2008 legislative session. To contact your legislator, click here.
[Source: Associated Press] — The Nature Conservancy has bought the last major parcel of private land along the Upper Verde River, a rare strip of riparian habitat. The Nature Conservancy bought 312 acres for an undisclosed price from a Paulden couple, who also donated two major conservation easements on the uplands portion of their ranch to The Nature Conservancy (160 acres) and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (2,440 acres). The easements prevent development. The Upper Verde River is one of the two best remaining native fisheries in Arizona and is home to three endangered and threatened species, Nature Conservancy officials said Friday. The Upper Verde has been at the center of controversy in recent years as Prescott-area communities move forward with their plans to pump groundwater from the Big Chino Sub-basin south about 20 miles to their water-strapped region.
Those plans prompted American Rivers to name the Verde one of the most endangered rivers in the country in 2006. Scientists generally agree that the Big Chino supplies 80 percent of the base flow of the Upper Verde River. The new Nature Conservancy property encompasses the first mile of the river, where springs help keep the first 24 miles of the river flowing during the dry seasons. The Arizona Game and Fish Department already bought 700 acres on three parcels along about three miles of the river that are interspersed with the new Nature Conservancy property. The Prescott National Forest and State Land Department are the other major landowners along the Upper Verde. Nature Conservancy and state wildlife officials say the new purchase will foster efforts to protect and restore native fish threatened by at least eight non-native fish species.