Urban development and roadway construction seriously threatens the ability for widlife to freely move thoughout the landscape. This movement is necessary for foraging, mating, and dispersal in search of home ranges. Development and the construction of roads through wildlife habitat can disrupt this movement which carries negative consequences such as reducing genetic diversity within widlife populations.
Local jurisductiouns within, and incliuding, Pima County has begun to recognize the need to address landscape connectivity issues. A regional widlife linkage on north eastern Pima County has been identified through various planning processes. This linkage, if protected and enhanced, would ensure connectivity between the Tucson, Tortolita, and Santa Catalina Mountain Ranges. The corridor falls within three local jurisdictions (Unincorporated Pima County, Oro Valley, and Marana) and includes land owned by federal, state, and local agencies, as well as private property owners. Various barriers intersect the linkage including a state highway, a federal interstate, locally maintained roads, irrigation canals, and train tracks.
A site, near the intersection of Interstate 10 (I-10) and Avra Valley Road is the keystone element to maintaining landscape connectivity and wildlife movement between the Tucson Mountains and the Tortolita Mountains located in eastern Pima County. This connectivity has been compromised by I-10. However, the presence of a former (abandoned) railroad tunnel near the intersection of I-10 and Avra Valley Road presents an opportunity to facilitate the movement of wildlife between these two mountain ranges.
The Coalition is now working with Marana, Pima County, AZ Game & Fish, AZ Department of Transportation, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Tucson Electric Power, AZ State Land Department, Union Pacific, and various private property owners to develop a protection plan for this linkage.
More info to come……
last updated April 7, 2009