Friends of the Desert #20

Friends of the Desert
E-News Issue #20
July 31, 2003
*A project of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection*
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* Coalition Forum on the SDCP POSTPONED UNTIL OCTOBER 
* Coalition Forum, August 28th�The Ironwood Forest National
Monument: Ensuring resource protection through citizen participation
in the management plan 
* Open Space Bond Update 
* State Trust Lands Reform 

The Coalition forum planned for August 16th, "The Sonoran Desert
Conservation Plan: Where we’re at and how you can make a
difference" has been postponed. In looking at the County’s timeline
for the SDCP, the draft is now scheduled to be released the
beginning of October, and we are postponing the forum until this
time in order to be able to give the public the most substantive
information as possible regarding the draft and our recommendations.

Details will be sent out to this list, as well as posted on our
website,, in advance of the date. 

* Coalition Forum, August 28th: The Ironwood Forest National
Monument: Ensuring resource protection through citizen participation
in the management plan
The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, joined by Congressman
Raul Grijalva, is pleased to host this free public forum on
Thursday, August 28th. The forum, co-sponsored by the Environmental
Law Society, will highlight the special features unique to the
Ironwood Forest National Monument and the importance of the
management plan in establishing on-the-ground protections for these
resources; most importantly, it will provide information about
opportunities for public input into the plan. Please join us August
28th in the Ares Auditorium, Rm. 146 at the University of Arizona
College of Law from 5:30-7:30pm for this special event. 

* Open Space Bond Update
As most of you are aware, the Board of Supervisors (thanks, in part,
to all of our encouragement) recently voted to put an open space
bond on the ballot in May 2004. They also specified that there
should be several bond committees assembled to give recommendations
to the Board on various issues. A Bond Oversight Committee has been
assembled, as well as two subcommittees: one to give
recommendations to the oversight committee regarding the open space
bond, the other to give recommendations to the oversight committee
regarding neighborhood reinvestment. In addition to these two
issues, the oversight committee is also considering other community
needs that are being solicited from all of the jurisdictions located
in Pima County. The oversight committee has a deadline of the
beginning of December to make their recommendations on a final bond
package to the Board of Supervisors.

We will keep you updated on the progress of these committees as
their recommendations are developed. 

* State Trust Lands Reform
Over the last 5 years or so, there have been several attempts at
reforming the language in the Arizona State Constitution and related
statutes to allow for the conservation of State Trust Lands.
Currently, this is not considered to be a "best and highest use" as
the constitution now mandates.

Recently, this effort has been renewed by a group of stakeholders
including educators, developers, ranchers, and conservationists from
throughout the state, with the goal of having a citizen’s initiative
on the ballot in November 2004. In order for this to happen, a
deadline of September of this year has been set for the stakeholders
to finalize the language for the initiative.

The Coalition and several of our member groups are participating in
these discussions and feel positively about the progress that has
been made thus far. Many new ideas are being circulated and we hope
that we are able to come to consensus on a package that facilitates
the conservation of ecologically important State Trust Lands, as it
will ultimately result in better planning capacities for all
jurisdictions, better protection of our important landscapes, better
quality of life for the residents benefiting from natural resource
protection, and better health for the economic status of the schools
by allowing the conservation community to contribute to the trust.

We will be sure to "keep you posted" on the progress of this effort.

Until next time!

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