Friends of the Desert #15

Friends of the Desert
E-News Issue #15
December 3, 2002
*A project of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection*
Please visit our website for more information:

* Federal Critical Habitat Designation Released for Public
* SDCP Steering Committee Update and Upcoming Meetings 
* Gearing Up for a County Open Space Bond 
* Fundraising News 
* TAS/Defenders of Wildlife Presentation and Book Signing,
December 6 
* Book Signing Benefit for Coalition, December 14 

* Federal Critical Habitat Designation Released for Public
Comment; Public Hearing to be Held in January in Tucson
On November 26th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposed the
designation of 1,208,001 acres of "critical habitat" for the
endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy owl. Under federal law, owl
habitat on federal land within the critical habitat zone�as well as
private or state land requiring federal permits�may not be destroyed
or degraded.
The pygmy owl was once common in Arizona from the New River (north
of Phoenix) to the Mexican border. Habitat destruction has reduced
the species to just 18 adults in Arizona in 2002. The tiny owl was
listed as an endangered species in 1997 in response to a scientific
petition and litigation by the Center for Biological Diversity.

While the new designation is 470,000 acres larger than the original
1999 designation, it excludes important and greatly threatened
habitat in northwest Tucson, the San Pedro River, and around
Phoenix. The exclusion of these areas contradicts the Fish and
Wildlife Service’s own draft Pygmy Owl Recovery Plan. With fully
one-third of the known population of pygmy-owls occupying the
northwest side of the Tucson metropolitan area and adjoining area of
southern Pinal County, and with this northwest population showing
the greatest reproductive success, the new critical habitat
designation is not biologically sound.

A public hearing to receive information and suggestions will be held
from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2003 at the Leo Rich
Theater (at the Tucson Convention Center), 260 S. Church in Tucson.
Written comments may be submitted to the Field Office Supervisor,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2321 W. Royal Palm Road, Suite 103,
Phoenix, Arizona, 85021-4951, or via fax at (602) 242-2513, or by
email to Comments must be received by FWS by
February 25, 2003 to be considered in the decision-making process.

The proposal, the draft economic analysis, maps and other pygmy-owl
information are available at or by
contacting the Field Office Supervisor, (see address above) or by
calling (602) 242-0210. 

* SDCP Steering Committee Update and Upcoming Meetings
The SDCP citizen’s Steering Committee has been very busy since
resuming their meetings this fall. Several groups have given their
presentations detailing what they would like to see as a
final "Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan." Steering Committee
stakeholder representatives will be giving a summation of those
presentations to State legislators at a special December 11th

In addition, the Steering Committee was given a presentation on
affordable housing by Alan Lurie of the Southern Arizona
Homebuilders Association. At the December 7th meeting, the
Coalition will be giving a presentation on the topic, "The SDCP and
Affordable Housing." In an upcoming meeting, the committee is
planning to invite experts in the field of property rights to help
clarify issues of compensation, and they are exploring various
funding mechanisms that will adequately and equitably provide monies
for the SDCP throughout the life of the plan.

Upcoming SDCP Steering Committee Meetings: 
* Saturday, December 7, 8:30-11:30am, Public Works Bldg.,
Basement Rm. C, 201 N. Stone 
* Wednesday, December 11, 6:00-9:00pm, Special Meeting with
Arizona Legislators, Sheraton Four Points, 1900 E. Speedway Blvd.
All meetings are open to the public. 

* Gearing Up for a County Open Space Bond
Having adequate funds for the purchase of open space is crucial to
achieving the SDCP conservation goals, and the Coalition is working
with other groups and individuals to promote a $200 million (or
more) open space bond election, which we hope to see on the County
ballot in May 2003. The Friends of the Desert, the organization
that formed in 1997 to promote the successful county Open Space
Bond, is back together and stronger than ever, ready to encourage
the Board of Supervisors to schedule an election and to ask the
voters in Pima County to support it. We will be contacting all of
you to ask for your help in persuading the Board to put this issue
on the ballot, and if we are successful, we will then need loads of
volunteers to get the measure passed! We cannot have a successful
Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan without funding for acquisition of
key biological lands. Contact Kate Hiller, Campaign Coordinator,
for more information or to volunteer, at 481-5637. 

* Fundraising News
**The Coalition has received a generous $15,000 general support
grant from the Wilburforce Foundation. Thank you, Wilburforce!

**Please remember the Coalition as you write those generous year-end
tax-deductible gifts. We need your financial support so we can
continue to advocate for a Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan that
adequately protects our beautiful and unique desert home. Please
send contributions to Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, 300
E. University Blvd., Ste. 120, Tucson, AZ 85705. Thank You!

**We welcome gifts of stock. If you are interested in making such a
gift, please contact Kevin Gaither-Banchoff at (520) 869-4673. 

* TAS/Defenders of Wildlife Presentation and Book Signing,
December 6
The Tucson Audubon Society (TAS) and Defenders of Wildlife invite
you to join them on December 6, 5:30-7:30pm, to attend a
presentation and book signing of Red Delta: Fighting for Life at
the End of the Colorado River. Charles Bergman, author of the book,
is hosting a slide show, reading, and book signing event free of
charge. It will be a memorable evening of wonderful slides and
descriptions of the delta ecosystem and of the persons fighting to
protect and restore it.

The event will be held in the Audubon Nature Shop, 300 E. University
Blvd., #120. For more information, please call Judy Edison with
Tucson Audubon Society at 629-0510. 

* Book Signing Benefit for Coalition, December 14
What: Father and Daughter Show Benefiting the Coalition For Sonoran
Desert Protection!! Noted local author William K. Hartmann will be
signing his most recent book Cities of Gold; local designer Amy
Hartmann will be presenting a trunk show of her most current
When: December 14th, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Where: Silverbell Trading, Casas Adobes Plaza, 7119 North Oracle
Road, 797-6852

On December 14th from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Silverbell Trading
will be hosting local author, William K. Hartmann, who will be
signing copies of his latest work, Cities of Gold, and his daughter
Amy Hartmann, who will be presenting a trunk show of her latest

William K. Hartmann’s most recent novel, Cities of Gold, was just
featured on the front page of the Tucson Weekly. The book involves
a modern story set in Tucson, southeast Arizona, and Sonora, with a
parallel story of the Coronado expedition’s first Spanish foray into
this area. Hartmann will also sign his acclaimed work on the
Sonoran Desert, Desert Heart, listed in the Arizona Daily Star as
one of the best Southwest books of the year.

Reviews of Cities of Gold are coming in:
"An important novel about American heritage, part history and part
mystery." Stewart Udall, former Arizona Congressman and Secretary of
the Interior to President John F. Kennedy

"Two men, separated by centuries, endure parallel struggles to
expand knowledge against the forces of greed and exploitation.
Hartmann, a master storyteller, weaves these threads into a single
vivid fabric." Mike Hayes, Tucson Novelist, Author of The Grey

"Hartmann rescues the past in this novel." Charles Bowden, Tucson
Writer, Author of Blood Orchid

Tucson designer Amy Hartmann launched her business, Amygo, four
years ago after traveling extensively throughout Mexico. Her designs
combine the beauty of Mexican culture with an American sense of
quality and style.

Amygo products are the result of a mutually beneficial relationship
between Hartmann and a co-operative of weavers in Southern Mexico.
All Amygo products use hand-woven fabric or include hand embroidery
created by artisans of Chiapas. Hartmann provides a sense of design
and oversees the high standards of quality. The result are fair-
trade products made with the highest quality sewing and hand-woven
fabrics and also made in sizes and styles that fit the American
customer. The Amygo line includes purses,
pillows and apparel. By purchasing an Amygo product a buyer is
Mexican indigenous artisans and will enjoy a small piece of the
beauty of Mexico for years to come.

A portion of the sales from this event will go to the Coalition for
Sonoran Desert Protection.

For more information, please contact Keith Kleber at Silverbell
Trading, 797-6852.

**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

Susan Shobe
Assistant Director
Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection
300 E. University Blvd., #120
Tucson, AZ 85705
(520) 388-9925