This story began 18 years ago. It is a story of seemingly impossible goals, challenges and compromise, our dedicated community, and one tiny owl. It is also a story about YOU.
You are one of the heroes of this story.
This story begins in 1998 when the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan was born. Spurred by the listing of the tiny cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl as an endangered species, our community embarked on a challenging journey of trying to balance conservation and growth. One of the cornerstones of the Sonoran Desert Conservation plan is Pima County’s Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (or MSCP for short), which protects 44 of our most vulnerable desert wildlife species, including 7 endangered species.
Developing the MSCP over almost two decades involved countless meetings among scientists, developers, ranchers, conservationists, and passionate citizens. Emotions often ran high. Competing ideas and opinions were debated. The pygmy-owl was removed from the endangered species list in 2006. Yet, always, the best-available science served as the underpinning.
And now, after 18 years of hard work and the incredible contributions of a wide variety of community members, including YOU, the Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan was officially approved this October.
Imagine cheers of joy, lots of clapping and pats on the back, and a real sense of accomplishment when the final documents were signed on October 13. You were with us too, an army of supporters celebrating in spirit. With your ongoing support, the Coalition advocated for the strongest conservation measures using the best available science in the MSCP. Thank you for being by our side throughout this long process. The result was worth the wait.
Will you continue to be a part of this story by donating generously today?
Your generous gift will support the Coalition’s ongoing work to protect and connect the Sonoran Desert. Our goal is to raise $60,000 for the Sonoran Desert by the end of the year and we’d love your support in reaching this goal!
And this story isn’t over. We now have a 30-year road map to permanently protect our most special areas as this region continues to grow. And we need to make sure this map is followed every step of the way. As Pima County begins implementing the MSCP, with your support we’ll continue to advocate for strong conservation and smart solutions in the years ahead.
In 2017, we’ve got big plans, including:
- Continued collaboration with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and other partners on the monitoring of the Oracle Road wildlife crossings.
- Significantly expanding our volunteer-driven Wildlife Camera project (thank you to our volunteers!).
- Fighting the proposed Interstate 11 west of the Tucson Mountains.
- Ongoing work with private developers to include functional and connected open space in their projects.
- And much more!
This year saw the completion of many challenging projects. The Oracle Road wildlife crossings were finished and animals started using them right away. The Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan was signed after almost two decades of hard work and visionary planning. Yet we all know that many challenges remain ahead. The wildlife linkage between the Tucson and Tortolita Mountains remains the most threatened in our region. Ongoing plans for a proposed Interstate 11 west of the Tucson Mountains threatens Saguaro National Park, Ironwood Forest National Monument, and many local conservation lands. And our work advocating for open space in private developments is never-ending.
Thank you for being the heroes of this story. Your moral support, financial donations, volunteer time, and voices of passion and reason are as essential to this story as anything else. YOU are transforming our community into a place where both people and wildlife are valued.