The Pima County Bond Survey results are in, and Habitat Protection Priorities and Associated Lands and Community Open Space received the top votes in the Historic, Cultural, and Natural Area Conservation category. This bond survey gave the community an opportunity to voice support for projects that matter most. These results are important as Pima County’s Bond Advisory Committee continues its work producing, vetting, and tweaking a list of projects to recommend to the County Board of Supervisors as a future bond package.
These results are no surprise to the Coalition. Open space preservation has long been a priority for Pima County citizens. In the county’s 2004 bond election, residents overwhelmingly showed support for acquiring conservation lands by approving over $174 million in bond funds. $28 million was approved in 1997 for the same purpose. With these open space bond funds, approximately 200,000 acres of land have been leased or purchased for conservation! These funds have protected portions of upland desert, vital riparian habitats, and unique desert grasslands.
We know that vast tracts of biologically valuable open space in Pima County still need protection. Pima County’s Conservation Acquisition Commission, the citizen body responsible for evaluating and recommending to the county the open space needs, proposed that $285 million be allocated in the next bond package to purchase important habitat. However, the county’s Bond Advisory Committee has included only $120 million be included in the upcoming bond.
Already, approximately $80 million from the upcoming open space bond package is needed to acquire important open space in the Upper Santa Cruz and Southern Altar Valley Reserve. About another $10 million could be used to complete the Santa Catalina-Tortolita wildlife corridor north of Oro Valley. The Rosemont ranch property, which sold for over $20 million in 2005, is another important property eligible for purchase that needs to be preserved in perpetuity. Additionally, important riparian areas, wildlife habitat, and community open space such as Painted Hills and an expansion for Catalina State Park are still yet to be acquired. Our community needs a fully funded open space bond program.
The approval of additional bond funds will ensure the continuing preservation of habitat and open space that are imperative for the health of the Sonoran Desert.
Read Pima County’s bond survey results for more information.
If you took the survey, thank you! Your voice helps make a difference for people and wildlife!