Friends of the Desert #5

Friends of the Desert
E-News Issue # 5
March 16, 2001
*A project of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection*
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The Southern Arizona Homebuilders Association was successful with its
lawsuit challenging County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry’s recent
directives regarding the issuance of building permits in critical
pygmy-owl habitat. The directives were put forth in a series of
memoranda to county staff and required that developers prove, in
writing, that the US Fish and Wildlife has been notified of building
plans prior to any new permits being issued in the affected area. A
Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that "Pima County
does not have the power to require enforcement of those memoranda
because such powers are not expressly or by necessary implication
delegated to the county or the constitution." The judge further
stated that the county does not have "the express authority to assist
in the enforcement of federal laws such as the Endangered Species

According to the Arizona Daily Star, Huckelberry said he would
recommend to the Board of Supervisors that the county attorney appeal
the ruling. "At this point, I’m not quite sure what the ruling means,
and until we are advised as to how to proceed we will continue to do
what we’ve done in the past." That, Huckelberry stated, includes
requiring developers "to make contact with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and
disclose the extent of their proposed development."

There is still time to get your letters and phone calls in to the
Board of Supervisors supporting the passage of interim conservation
measures. We have a great opportunity right now to put in place
protections for environmentally sensitive lands and other areas
integral to the SDCP while the planning process is underway. These
protections are vital to the success of the plan, as an immense amount
of land and resources may be lost in the next two years while the plan
is being developed.

While there has been some delay getting this issue on the Board
agenda, we are expecting that this proposal will be on a board agenda
as early as next Tuesday, March 27, and we need all Board members
supporting our proposal. Please call, write, or email all the County
Supervisors TODAY. Contact information for all supervisors is below.
The following points should be emphasized:

— There is a need for protection of environmentally sensitive areas –
not just those important to one species of owl – pending preparation
of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, to ensure that important
conservation opportunities are not foreclosed prior to implementation
of the plan.

— Note your specific support for Mr. Huckelberry’s expanded proposals
for interim protection, outlined in the September 2000 Preliminary
Draft SDCP and the July 1999 SDCP Update.

� Emphasize that the county should expand Mr. Huckelberry’s proposals
to include the passage of an new interim ordinance or expansion of
existing ordinances to include protection of all environmentally
sensitive areas.

— The new ordinance should include an accompanying environmentally
sensitive areas map and survey requirements for pygmy-owls and other
biological resources.


130 W. Congress, 11th Floor
Tucson, AZ 85701
740-8126; Fax – 884-1152

Ann Day, District 1 � 740-2738; Fax – 740-8489

Dan Eckstrom, District 2 � 740-8126; Fax – 884-1152

Sharon Bronson, Vice Chair, District 3 � 740-8051; Fax – 740-8060

Ray Carroll, District 4 � Phone: 740-8094; Fax – 740-2721

Raul Grijalva, Chairman, District 5 � 740-8126; Fax – 670-9780

The following meetings are subject to change. Please call the County
Administrator’s office at 740-8162 to confirm times and dates.

— Thursday, March 22, 8:30am – Ranch Conservation Technical Advisory
Team (RCTAT) meeting on adaptive management. Water Resources Research
Center, 7th Street and Campbell Ave.

— Thursday March 22, 11am – Science and Technical Advisory Team
(STAT) meeting. Water Resources Research Center, 7th Street and
Campbell Ave.

�- Thursday March 22, 7pm – SDCP Steering Committee meeting on the
first draft reserve design. Duvall Auditorium, University Medical

— Friday, March 23, 9:00am – Science and Ranch Technical Advisory
Teams, Recon Consultants Inc. meeting on adaptive management. Water
Resources Research Center, 7th Street and Campbell Ave.

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Ironwood Festival, being held May
6 at the Mason Audubon Center from 4pm to 9pm. The Mason Audubon
Center is located at 8751 N. Thornydale, on the southwest corner of
Thornydale and Hardy Road. There will be booths, activities,
presentations and loads of other fun stuff. As details get ironed out
we will pass them along. Hope to see you there!