Friends of the Desert #24

Friends of the Desert
E-News Issue #24
August 28, 2004
*A project of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection in Pima
County, Arizona*

Please visit our NEW AND IMPROVED website for more information:
http://www.sonorandesert.org.

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newsletter, or if you would like to be removed from this list, please
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IN THIS ISSUE:
– Town of Marana Special Election — VOTE NO ON PROP 400
– Town of Marana Habitat Conservation Plan Update
– City of Tucson to Kick-Off Habitat Conservation Planning
– Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan Update
– Conservation Acquisition Commission Update
– Ironwood Forest National Monument Update
– Arizona Conservation Alliance
– Tucson Resident Hikes the Length of AZ to Benefit Coalition
– Don’t Forget to Order Your Coalition T-Shirts!

– Town of Marana Special Election — VOTE NO ON PROP 400
On September 7th the Town of Marana will hold a special election
concerning the upzoning of the Willow Ridge Parcel. The 104.6-acre
parcel is located south of West Cortaro Farms between Hartman Lane &
North Star Grass Drive, and has been identified as environmentally-
sensitive by Marana’s General Plan and as important biological
habitat under the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. This proposed
upzoning would allow commercial development and increase residential
housing density.

After the Town Council voted unanimously to upzone this parcel,
northwest side citizens gathered signatures to refer the issue
directly to voters.

We urge all Marana residents to vote NO ON PROPOSITION 400, in order
to let Marana officials know that they must abide by their
conservation plans. Go to www.growsmarter.org or call 465-5435 for
information.
_______________________________________

– Town of Marana Habitat Conservation Plan Update
The Town of Marana staff plan to bring forward to the Mayor and
Council a draft Habitat Conservation Plan this September. The
Coalition has been represented on the Stakeholder Working Group by
Executive Director Carolyn Campbell as well as Defenders of
Wildlife’s Jenny Neeley. Trevor Hare is a member of the Technical
Biology Team.

The Coalition recently submitted comments on the Town’s "Preferred
Alternative," which includes an expanded Tortolita Preserve and an
augmentation program for the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl, and the
Bajada Environmental Resource Overlay District. In addition to the
pygmy-owl, other species proposed for coverage and protection are the
burrowing owl, the Tucson shovel-nosed snake, and the ground snake.
The Coalition supports the concepts contained in Marana’s proposal,
but has concerns about many aspects and recommended revisions to give
greater on-the-ground protection and be consistent with the goals of
the Endangered Species Act.

See the Coalition’s website for the Coalition’s complete comments on
Marana’s Habitat Conservation Plan at http://www.sonorandesert.org.
______________________________________

– City of Tucson to Kick-Off Habitat Conservation Planning
In July 2003 the City of Tucson was awarded a grant for $327,990 from
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop an HCP. Tucson Mayor
and Council have unanimously endorsed a plan to share information and
data related to endangered species and habitat conservation with Pima
County. Two of the City’s stated top priorities are contributing to
the conservation and recovery of the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl and
Pima pineapple cactus. Both of these endangered species and others
are located in areas inside the city, on city property outside city
limits, and on land likely to be annexed into the city. The
Coalition will be represented by Carolyn Campbell as a member of the
City of Tucson Stakeholders Advisory Committee. This first Committee
meeting was held on August 24th. Trevor Hare, of Sky Island Alliance
and Tucson Herpetological Society, is currently sitting on the city’s
HCP Technical Advisory Committee, the body advising the City on the
biological aspects of the plan. As with other conservation planning
processes in the region, the Coalition will work to hold the City to
their stated priorities, as well as the letter and intent of the
Endangered Species Act.
_______________________________________

– Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP) Update
Pima County’s latest timetable for its Multi-Species Conservation
Plan calls for completion of the Plan, and approval by US Fish and
Wildlife Service, in September 2005. With that goal in mind, the
county has convened a smaller stakeholder group, called the MSCP
Implementation Agreement Drafting and Negotiating Committee. The
Committee is comprised of 13 individuals representing the ranching,
recreational, Realty, development, and conservation communities.
Carolyn Campbell is representing the Coalition, along with David
Hogan from the Center for Biological Diversity and Christina McVie
from Desert Watch/Tucson Audubon Society. The group has so far held
three meetings, and hopes to wrap up their recommendations in the
next couple of months. The Coalition will continue to push for the
highest conservation measures possible in the final plan. For
meeting schedules and agendas, please go to
www.co.pima.az.us/cmo/sdcp/events.html.
_______________________________________

– Conservation Acquisition Commission Update
Pima County’s Conservation Acquisition Commission was formed to
oversee the recent voter-approved Open Space Bond program. The
Committee has begun their meetings and is still in the process of
clarifying their Goals and Criteria, and Operating Principles, in
order to apply a fair and consistent process to potential
acquisitions of open space. The categories of open space approved by
the voters include Community Open Space, parcels identified by other
local Jurisdictions, prevention of encroachment on Davis-Monthan Air
Force Base, and Habitat Protection Priorities. The category of
Habitat Protection Priorities is intended to further the goals of the
county’s Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan.

For meeting schedules and agendas, please go to
www.co.pima.az.us/cmo/sdcp/events.html.

_______________________________________

– Ironwood Forest National Monument Update
The public meetings to develop "Goals and Objectives" for BLM’s IFNM
Resource Management Plan concluded on July 28th. It is imperative
that the BLM hears strong public support and encouragement to produce
a conservation-oriented management plan that will protect this
national treasure as we move forward with the next steps. Members of
the Coalition attended these meetings vocalizing the suggestions the
Coalition has put into writing, such as:

*Enforce the proclamation’s motorized & mechanical travel
restrictions, and prevent development of new facilities and
travelways within the monument.

*Hold the BLM to legal definitions of a "road" which would
close any travel ways that are created by "use" only.

*Adopt the IFNM Transportation Plan, supported by
conservation groups, ranchers, and monument homeowners. This plan
provides reasonable legal access to the monument while protecting
ecologically and archaeologically sensitive areas through primitive
and non-motorized accessibility.

*Wilderness designation of specified areas would help ensure
multi-species protection, and is an excellent way to protect the
natural and cultural objects for which the monument was created.
=09
There will be further public meetings to present and discuss a range
of different management alternatives. These meetings are scheduled
to begin in late September.

We need all the support we can get to protect the Ironwood Forest
National Monument. Thank you to those who have participated in the
process, and, for those who have not participated in the process as
of yet — it’s not too late!! Go to
www.az.blm.gov/lup/ironwood/involved.htm for more information on how
to get involved.
______________________________________

– Arizona Conservation Alliance (ACA) Update
The 3rd-annual Conservation Summit was held August 12-14 in Rio Rico,
AZ. Bringing together conservation-minded individuals and groups
from all over the state, it was a great weekend =96 we all learned a
lot, heard some outstanding speakers, and had some very constructive
discussions about the Alliance and its future.

The focus of this year’s Summit was "Conservation and the U.S. Border
Policy." It has become clear that the U.S.’s border policy with
Mexico is having an adverse affect on wildlife, habitat, and human
lives in the border area. Speakers on this topic included
Congressman Raul Grijalva =96 the keynote speaker for the Summit,
environmentalists Matt Skroch of Sky Island Alliance, Kim Vacariu of
The Wildlands Project, Jenny Neeley of Defenders of Wildlife, and
Nina Chambers of the Sonoran Institute. The panel also included
Roger DiRosa, Refuge Manager for Cabeza Prieta NWR, Pasqua Yaqui
tribal representative Jose Matus, and border activist Isabel Garcia
of Coalicion de Derechos Humanos.

The concurrent message from all of the speakers was the need to fight
the current border tactics to provide an overarching policy that will
help protect international wildlife habitat corridors, designated
Wilderness areas, Native American Lands, and also treat the
overwhelming majority of migrants coming to this country to find an
honest job as human beings. You can find more information on border
issues at www.derechoshumanosaz.net.

Senator Gabrielle Giffords served as luncheon speaker on Saturday.
Photographer-in-Flight Adriel Heisey provided an amazing slideshow
presentation on his pictorial work on the Sonoran Desert. Other
speakers included Victoria Rome, Michael Bocian, Lisa Urias, and Eric
Ehst. The Emcee, Nancy Laney, and Summit facilitator, Margaret
Dykinga, both did a great job keeping us all in line and on time!
The final discussions of the Summit revolved around the future of the
Alliance itself. As a result of these discussions, a small team has
been formed that will be working to clarify the role of the Alliance,
roles and responsibilities of members, and the structure currently in
place. This team includes Jeff Williamson, Solange Whitehead,
Jessica Catlin, Mike Valder, Al Sterman, Carolyn Campbell, and Susan
Culp. They will be contacting current and prospective members of the
Alliance and past Summit participants regarding some important
questions about the Alliance and its future. So, for those of you
who weren’t able to be at the Summit this year and participate in our
conversation, just a heads up that you can expect to hear from them
sometime in the coming months.
______________________________________

– Tucson Resident Hikes AZ Trail to Promote Conservation
Tucson resident Jason Reinert is gearing up to undertake a 790-mile
hike over the Arizona Trail. This grueling hike will take about 8
weeks and passes through a variety of terrain, including the Grand
Canyon and ending in the Sonoran Desert. Jason will begin at the
Arizona-Utah border and make his way to the Arizona-Mexico border.

Jason has held a love for the outdoors since his childhood. He has
decided to bring attention to the conservation efforts of the
Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection through his life’s passion.
Please check out and direct others to our website,
http://www.sonorandesert.org, for the lowdown on Jason and his hike,
including the history of the AZ Trail, the route, Jason’s biography
with some pictures of his previous hike of the Appalachian Trial, and
his trail journal (which will be updated during his hike), and other
features.

DON’T FORGET TO ORDER YOUR COALITION T-SHIRTS!
* The Coalition has a full stock of our short-sleeved, organic cotton
T-shirts. With our logo on the front and a beautiful picture of a
mountain lion and words of wisdom from Tucson’s own Chuck Bowden on
the back, they are a comfortable and eye-catchin’ way to show that
you care about our Sonoran Desert home and support the Coalition’s
efforts to protect it. Only $12.00, available in sizes M-XL.
Download our online order form at http://www.sonorandesert.org, or call the
Coalition office at (520) 388-9925 to order yours today!

Until next time!

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

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