Friends of the Desert #1

Friends of the Desert
E-News Issue #1
November 17, 2000
*A project of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection*
Please visit our website for more information:


Welcome to the first issue of the Friends of the Desert electronic newsletter, a project of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection (CSDP). The CSDP is an alliance of 41 conservation groups and neighborhood associations who advocate the strongest protection possible for the Sonoran Desert through Pima County’s Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan process.

The primary purpose of this newsletter is to keep our supporters informed of the latest news surrounding the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan so that you can participate fully in this important process. We will also include information on other local and regional issues that impact our fragile Sonoran Desert, updates on existing and developing Habitat Conservation Plans around the country, and upcoming events where your attendance and participation are encouraged.

Every resident of Pima County has a stake in the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. All of us need to get involved, take ownership of this planning process and keep ownership. We need to develop a habitat conservation and urban growth plan that will make Pima County a worldwide example for other communities to follow. The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection is committed to making this a reality. We encourage you to join us in this commitment.

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

Pima County released its first draft of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan September 22, and will be taking comments on this draft until January 1, 2001. Comments can be directed to:
Pima County Board of Supervisors
Attn: Chuck Huckelberry, County Administrator
130 W. Congress, 10th Floor
Tucson, AZ 85701

For more information on how to obtain a copy of the draft plan or on submitting comments please visit our website at, or call us at 388-9925.

The county is holding a series of public informational meetings and open houses between now and January 1, 2001. These meetings are another opportunity for you to get involved and participate in this planning process. Upcoming meetings will be held:
Monday November 20, 2000 — 10:00 to 12:00 a.m. — Green Valley Branch Library
Monday November 20, 2000 — 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. — El Pueblo Center (Building 1)
Tuesday November 21, 2000 — 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. — Mission Branch Library
Wednesday November 22, 2000 –6:30 to 8:00 p.m. — Woods Branch Library
Monday November 27, 2000 –6:00 to 8:00 p.m. — Kino Recreation Center
Tuesday November 28, 2000 –7:00 to 8:45 p.m. — Bear Canyon Library
Wednesday November 29, 2000 — 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. — Corrections Officers Training Center (ALETA)
Thursday November 30, 2000 –5:00 to 7:00 p.m. — Ajo Branch Library
Friday December 1, 2000 –6:30 to 8:00 p.m. — Halberg Center (Avra Valley Fire Dept.)
Monday December 4, 2000 — 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. — Mary Dill School (Robles Junction)
Wednesday December 6, 2000 — 7:00 to 8:45 p.m. — Nanini Branch Library

The US Fish and Wildlife Service will be preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the impacts of the Conservation Plan. This is a parallel federal process to that now underway with the county. The Service will be accepting comments on conservation alternatives and issues to be addressed in the EIS until November 24, 2000. Please send your comments on the EIS to:
Mr. David Harlow, Field Supervisor
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103
Phoenix, AZ 85021.

Please call Sherry Barrett at the Tucson office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service for more information — 670-4617.

The Coalition would like to express its sincerest gratitude to Barbara Kingsolver, who held a benefit book-reading for the Coalition November 2. Ms. Kingsolver’s inspiring words, both at the benefit and in her beautifully-written new novel _Prodigal Summer_, remind us all of the inherent connection we have to the natural world and the urgent importance of saving the last remaining wild places. We would also like to thank Antigone Books who sponsored the event, and urge all of you to follow Ms. Kingsolver’s lead and support independent bookstores!

Thanks to all of you who attended our free public forum October 21. The purpose of the forum was to educate the public on the basics of habitat conservation planning and the process now underway in Pima County. Judging by the comments received by those in attendance, it was a huge success! The coalition is considering holding several more, smaller-scale education forums that will focus on some of the specific elements of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. Is this something you would be interested in? Please let us know by calling the Coalition office at 388-9925 or e-mailing us at

The Nature Conservancy of Arizona presented the Joseph Wood Krutch Conservation Award to the Coalition at the Nature Conservancy Annual Membership Meeting at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort Wednesday, September 27, 2000. This award is given to an individual or private sector group who has done exemplary conservation work, research, or conservation education in the state. The following is the statement made when the award was presented to the Coalition:

“The work of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection has played a key leadership role in promoting an aggressive and overarching vision for conservation of the Sonoran Desert in eastern Pima and Pinal County. As a direct result of their efforts, Pima County has launched the most ambitious Habitat Conservation Planning effort in the country. The establishment of the Ironwood Forest National Monument is an outgrowth of the visionary work and committed advocacy of the Coalition.”