Friends of the Desert #21

Friends of the Desert
E-News Issue #21
October 2, 2003
*A project of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection*
Please visit our website for more information: http://www.sonorandesert.org

If you know of anyone who would be interested in receiving this
newsletter, or if you would like to be removed from this list, please
reply to csdp@dakotacom.net.

IN THIS ISSUE: 
* Join Us!! Rally to Save the Pygmy-Owl: Wednesday, October 8th 
* Please Help the Coalition with a Financial Gift! 
* Scoping Meeting for the Pima County Multi-species Conservation Plan
Environmental Impact Statement, Saturday, October 4 
* SDCP Update 
* The Ironwood Forest National Monument Management Planning Process 
* Open Space Bond Update 
* State Trust Lands Reform 

* Join Us!! Rally to Save the Pygmy-Owl: Wednesday, October 8th
The Tucson Audubon Society is hosting a rally to highlight the status
of and advocate for the protection of the Cactus-ferruginous pygmy-
owl. The rally will be held at the Tucson Audubon Nature Shop at 300
E. University Blvd., Tucson, AZ, on Wednesday, October 8th, from 5:30-
7:30pm.

There will be social opportunities & snacks, habitat restoration
demonstrations, and presentations from representatives of the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Tucson
Audubon Society.

Please join us! Learn more about this critically endangered bird and
what you can do in your own back yard to support its survival! Learn
how to enhance your back yard habitat for birds and other wildlife
through on-site demonstrations. Bring a postcard or stationary to pen
a letter to your elected and appointed officials. Come prepared to
meet like-minded birders and conservationists alike and, most
importantly, to have fun!

Hope to see you for this important event! Endangered species need
our help more than ever!! 

* Please Help the Coalition with a Financial Gift!

Over the past five years the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection
has established itself as the key organization that has worked to
enable and ensure the creation of a Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan
(SDCP) that meets our community’s conservation goals and standards.
You, as one of the Coalition’s supporters, are the lifeblood of the
Coalition and its efforts.

We are now in final twelve critical months of the public process
before Pima County takes the SDCP to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
for federal approval. We must mobilize and energize Coalition group
memberships and the general public that already supports protection
for the Sonoran Desert’s natural resources and biological diversity,
reach members of the general public who have yet to hear our message,
and ensure accurate information is available. We must demonstrate to
the Pima County Board of Supervisors that a vast majority of our
community supports a Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan that preserves
the wide array of wildlife and habitat that make up the Sonoran
Desert ecosystem.

Our upcoming work includes a media campaign, expanding a speakers
bureau, actively supporting and helping ensure passage of the May
2004 Bond Election, giving regular presentations to neighborhood and
community groups, working on the 2004 State Trust Lands initiative,
and much more.

To do all this work we need your support. Please invest $250, $100,
$50, or whatever you can afford =96 and know that we will put your
money to smart use in the fight to protect the Sonoran Desert. If
you can give a larger gift of stock, it will help even more. Send
your donation to 300 E. University, Suite 120, Tucson AZ 85705, or
call Kevin Gaither-Banchoff at 869-4673. 

* Scoping Meeting for the Environmental Impact Statement for Pima
County’s Multi-Species Conservation Plan, Saturday, October 4
A public scoping meeting will be held by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service to solicit comments on the Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) that it will perform on Pima County’s Multi-Species
Conservation Plan. The EIS will examine possible alternatives for
the County’s conservation plan and the impacts of those alternatives
on various aspects.

The meeting will be held on Saturday, October 4, 2003, at 10am in the
Pima County Public Works Building, Basement Conference Room C, 201 N.
Stone Ave., Tucson, AZ.

Comments regarding considerations for the analysis of these
alternatives can be given at the meeting, or written comments can be
sent to Mr. Steven Spangle, Field Supervisor, US Fish and Wildlife
Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ, 85021.
COMMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY OCTOBER 27, 2003.

To read the Federal Register notice of this meeting, including
background, proposed action, and alternatives, go to
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/ and type in (exactly as shown) "Page
53748" AND "Pima County MSCP" under Quick Search. The first result
in the search is the entry you want; you can choose to view in HTML,
PDF, or a Summary document. 

* SDCP Update
As some of you may know, the Coalition anticipated that the County
would be releasing a draft of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan at
the October 4th scoping meeting mentioned above. However, this is
not the case=97-the County is now talking about a release sometime in
November. The Coalition is planning a forum for mid-November to
discuss our recommendations for the plan, so we’ll be sure to keep
you posted on these events! 

* The Ironwood Forest National Monument Management Plan: Forum
highlights and upcoming meetings

On August 28th, the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, joined
by Congressman Raul Grijalva, hosted a public forum to highlight the
management planning process now being undertaken by the Bureau of
Land Management (BLM) for the Ironwood Forest National Monument
(IFNM). There were informative presentations and lively discussions
on the special features of the Ironwood Forest National Monument and
specific challenges that need to be addressed in the management
plan. The Coalition plans to have the proceedings from this forum
posted on our website at http://www.sonorandesert.org by the end of October.

If you missed the forum, but would like to be added to the mailing
list for meeting schedules, information, etc., please call BLM’s toll
free telephone number, 866-331-1795, or email Larry Shults at
larry_shults@blm.gov. The Ironwood planning effort will soon have a
website that the public can access for the latest information about
planning, meeting schedules, reports, etc., plus they will be able to
comment directly on the Ironwood plans. Scoping comments are being
analyzed and the results will be posted on the web site in the near
future. The web site is expected to be operational around December
1, 2003. 

* Open Space Bond Update
The bond committees appointed by the Board are very busy working to
develop recommendations on the upcoming May bond election for the
Board. The Open Space Advisory subcommittee and the Neighborhood
Reinvestment subcommittee are due to give their recommendations to
the Bond Advisory Committee in October. The Bond Advisory committee
will consider these recommendations, plus other community needs that
are being solicited from the jurisdictions located in Pima County,
and give a recommendation on the final bond package to the Board of
Supervisors by the beginning of December. Since the Board voted to
put an open space bond on the ballot, many other requests for bond
funds have been made. The Coalition representatives on the
committees will be working hard to ensure that adequate funding for
conservation goals is contained in the bond.

If you are interested in helping to promote the open space bond
within the community, please contact Carolyn Campbell, Friends of the
Sonoran Desert Outreach Committee Chair, 388-9925. 

* State Trust Lands Reform
The attempt to reform the Arizona constitution and related statutes
to allow conservation of State Trust Lands is still progressing. The
original deadline for finalizing the language to be used in the
initiative was September, however, the conservationists at the table
are still working hard for a reform package that achieves immediate
conservation for some significant State Trust Lands, recognizes
conservation as a legitimate use in the constitution, and enhances
the management and monitoring of state-leased lands.

We will continue to provide updates as progress is made.

Until next time!

Susan Shobe
Assistant Director
Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection
300 E. University Blvd., #120
Tucson, AZ 85705
(520) 388-9925
Susan@sonorandesert.org
http://www.sonorandesert.org

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