The Coalition is honored to be a beneficiary of this event. This race features 8-mile and 5k courses looping through a cactus forest in the foothills of the scenic Rincon Mountains at Saguaro National Park East. Click here for more information and to register to run! Lots of prizes and awards for participants, plus a great way to experience Saguaro National Park!
Our supporters have been challenged to match the donation from the Southern Arizona Roadrunners. Please donate now to meet this challenge!
Burrowing Owl May Benefit From Solar Farm
Multi-jurisdictional cooperation addresses renewable energy AND habitat conservation
With Pima County’s recent approval of the City of Tucson’s request for an industrial solar farm in Avra Valley, both the city and the county signaled they are serious about pursuing local renewable energy facilities.
In addition to providing renewable energy, the project site, a retired agricultural area, has been identified by Pima County’s Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and the City of Tucson’s Avra Valley Habitat Conservation Plan as important for a number of vulnerable desert species.
In particular, suitable Western burrowing owl habitat has been identified on the site by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, including recent burrowing owl activity. Fallow farm lands in general are an important component of the burrowing owl’s habitat.
Burrowing Owl. Photo by Ray Goodwin, www.sonoranconnection.com
Unfortunately, many species in our region are suffering because of impacts on their habitat. In cases such as the burrowing owl and others, active restoration is our best opportunity to permanently conserve Sonoran Desert wildlife species.
As part of the project approval, Pima County is requiring habitat restoration on approximately one-third of the project site, including a system of artificial burrows and resting sites for the threatened Western yellow bat.
In addition to on-site restoration, Tucson Water will be completing off-site mitigation to fully comply with Pima County’s land-use guidelines. Tucson Water will also begin to implement additional conservation measures, as laid out in their own habitat conservation plan.
It is the City of Tucson/Tucson Water, Marana and Pima County who own the majority of lands that have been identified as potentially suitable for the Western burrowing owl. These lands are a mosaic generally adjacent to the Santa Cruz River and lands in the Avra Valley’s Brawley/Los Robles area north to the confluence with the Santa Cruz River.
Throughout our involvement with this solar project, the Coalition has been encouraged by the willingness of Pima County, FRV Tucson Solar, and the City of Tucson to negotiate a viable environmental mitigation plan that allows the project to move forward while also appropriately mitigating for impacts to the Conservation Lands System.
As renewable energy projects become more common in southern Arizona, it is imperative that these projects be addressed with a spirit of multi-jurisdictional cooperation. The goals of renewable energy, the conservation of the Sonoran Desert, and jurisdictional compliance with state “species of concern” and the federal Endangered Species Act can all be accomplished if we work together to achieve these complementary goals. The FRV Tucson Solar project is one example of these goals successfully being accomplished together. We are very pleased by the leadership exhibited by both Pima County and the City of Tucson, and look forward to continuing these partnerships on conservation.
Pima County is looking for information to improve its model of potentially suitable habitat for the Sonoran desert tortoise. Of particular interest are observations of live or dead tortoises in the foothills of the Tortolita and Santa Rita Mountains. Observations will be used to refine the assumptions of the habitat model.
If you are willing to contribute your tortoise observations to a publically accessible website, please review the step-by-step instructions: http://www.pima.gov/cmo/sdcp/index.html. If you would prefer your data not be posted on the website, please email Neva Connolly at Conservation@pima.gov. It is critical that observers know the difference between the desert tortoise and other turtles of the region. To aid in identification, please visit the Reptiles of Arizona websites (http://www.reptilesofaz.org/herp-turtle.html). In addition, observers are asked to not handle or collect tortoises or turtles for this study; simple visual observations (made from a distance) will suffice.
Wednesday, August 17th, 6:30pm
Bag It by Susan Beraza
Try going a day without plastic. In this touching and funny film, we follow “everyman” Jeb as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic and its effects on our waterways, oceans, and our bodies. We see how our crazy-for-plastic world has finally caught up to us and what we can do about it.
Witness by Neil Ever Osborne & Chad A. Stevens
“The nature photograph shows a butterfly on a pretty flower. The conservation photograph shows the same thing, but with a bulldozer coming at it in the background.” Jane Goodall, National Geographic’s Michael Nichols and iLCP president Cristina Mittermeier are among those who share their thoughts on the power of photography as an effective conservation tool.
Wild vs. Wall by Steev Hise / Sierra Club
U.S. policies along our southern border are proving ineffective, costly, and harmful to people and the environment. The authority given to the Secretary of Homeland Security by the Real ID Act has been used to waive federal laws along the border so that walls, roads, and other harmful infrastructure are built without regard to environmental protection or public health and safety.
Walking the Line by Jim Karpowicz
What’s is like to walk 500 miles of a proposed transmission line – a line that will run through some of the West’s most remote landscapes? Thru-hiker Adam Bradley journeys to find out how our country’s transition to renewable energy will affect the land, wildlife and people.
Wednesday, August 17th, 6:30pm
We need your help to make the event a success! This is a great opportunity to support the Coalition and see some inspiring and entertaining films. All volunteers will receive free entry to the event and we will do our best to make sure that you get to see as many of the films as possible. Please email email@example.com or call the office (520-388-9925) if you are available to help, and note which tasks you are willing to help with.
We want this to be a huge success, so please consider helping out with this exciting event!
We need help both leading up to the event and on the actual night of the event.
Leading up to event, we will need help with the following:
—Postering (we have some fantastic posters, and need help spreading them all over Tucson)
—Outreach (please tell your family, friends and co-workers about the event, send them to the event’s Facebook page and our website, buy some tickets to giveaway, talk to your local neighborhood association about the event, etc)
At the event, we will need help with the following:
—Greeters (check people’s tickets at the door)
—Clipboards (help gather contact from festival attendees; this event is a "friend"raiser, an opportunity to reach new supporters for the Coalition, our goal is to gather contact information from 100% of the festival attendees, so we need a lot of help!)
—Raffle table (sell raffle tickets, collect raffle entries)
—Photography (capture people having a great time!)
—National Sponsors Table (share information about the sponsors and hand out freebies!)
—Floaters (help out with any tasks as they appear)
Other opportunities may arise as we get closer to the date, so if you are at all interested, please let us know today!
Thanks for all of your help, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!
A message from our member group, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas:
A motion hearing is set for our Freedom of Information Act case “Save the Scenic Santa Ritas et al v. United States Forest Service et al (4:11-cv-00094-FRZ)” this coming Monday, June 27th at 10am. The hearing provides a great opportunity for our members to gather in front of the courthouse for an old fashioned demonstration! The media will be there to report on the outcome of the hearing, so the more people we have gathered to demonstrate the need for an open and fair process regarding the proposed Rosemont mine, the better! The hearing will be open to the public (though with limited seating).
A group will be meeting on Saturday morning to make signs for the demonstration. If you plan to attend the demonstration/hearing on Monday, please let me know asap (email firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can prepare enough signs (and if you would like to help with sign-making, let me know!). Demonstrators will gather before and after the hearing, and the hearing is expected to run about two hours.
Here are the details:
Monday, June 27th, 10am
Evo A. DeConcini U.S. Courthouse
405 West Congress St.
(SW Corner of Congress and Granada)
No public parking is available at the courthouse. There is limited street parking (meters) available near the courthouse. For more parking information and for a parking map of downtown, go to http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/parkwise/where-can-i-park-downtown.
Consider carpooling to save gas and parking fees – if you need help finding someone with whom to carpool, let me know (email email@example.com).
A bit about the lawsuit: SSSR along with 2 other groups filed a lawsuit back in February, asserting that the Forest Service violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) in preparing the environmental impact statement. FACA requires that committees established by a federal agency be open to public membership and participation. The Coronado National Forest allowed representatives of Rosemont Copper Co. to actively participate in closed-door committee meetings the Forest Service has held since early 2009 with other government agencies, excluding members of the public. The lawsuit requests that the court prohibit the Forest Service from relying upon the tainted document and that, in the future, the agency provide members of the public an equal seat at the table with Rosemont.
To read our original press release regarding the lawsuit go to our website at http://scenicsantaritas.org/news/litigation.
Thank you, and I hope to see many of you on Monday!
Click here to download a .pdf version of the letter, or simply read on below.
June 14, 2011
Mayor Satish Hiremath and Councilmembers
Town of Oro Valley
11000 North La Canada Dr.
Oro Valley, AZ 85737
RE: Rescission of Resolution No. (R) 07-55, withdrawing the Town’s opposition to the proposed Rosemont Mine
Dear Mayor Hiremath and Town Council Members:
I am writing to you on behalf of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, comprised of 39 environmental and community organizations dedicated to achieving the long-term conservation of biological diversity and ecological function of the Sonoran Desert through comprehensive land-use planning.
I urge you to oppose the item on your June 15, 2011 agenda that proposes to rescind Resolution No. (R) 07-55, approved by the Town Council unanimously on April 18, 2007, and stating the Town’s opposition to the proposed Rosemont Mine. This resolution clearly outlines numerous reasons why the Rosemont Mine will be detrimental to the long term health of our economy, water resources, wildlife and wildlife habitat, and recreational and scenic values.
In the four years since Resolution No. (R) 07-55 was approved, Rosemont Copper launched a substantial public relations campaign aimed at convincing the residents of southern Arizona that their proposed mine will be positive for our region. However, this proposed mine, located in the heart of the Santa Rita Mountains, and near the headwaters of important water resources and drainages in the Tucson Basin, will be using untested methods by an untested corporation. Indeed, the 2011 Annual Information Form (a required public disclosure form for all Canadian public companies) submitted by Augusta Resources Corporation on March 31, 2011 states that the company has “no history of production” and “has never recorded any revenues from mining operations” (p. 10). The form goes on to state that:
[Insurance] against risks such as environmental pollution or other hazards as a result of exploration and production is not generally available to the Company or to other companies in the mining industry on acceptable terms. The Company might also become subject to liability for pollution or other hazards which may not be insured against or which the Company may elect not to insure against because of premium costs or other reasons (p. 15).
Thus, the proposed Rosemont mine would be run by a corporation that has no experience with mining operations, and that will likely not have adequate insurance to guard against unforeseen environmental pollution and other hazards. Furthermore, Rosemont Copper is proposing to use over 5000 acres of public lands for the disposal of toxic mine waste, lands that lead to some of Pima County’s most cherished and ecologically intact waterways such as Davidson Canyon and Cienega Creek. The Coalition strongly believes these realities, along with others, warrant strong opposition to this project and we hope you will join us in continuing your opposition to the proposed Rosemont Mine.
The Town of Oro Valley has established a strong history of supporting the conservation of biologically-rich open space in our region. You have shown regional leadership in taking steps to preserve the Tortolita-Santa Catalina Mountains Critical Landscape Linkage and officially supported the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan by adopting Conservation Lands System guidelines for future annexations. While the Rosemont Mine site is located in a different part of Pima County than Oro Valley, we hope the Town Council will recognize that the health of our economy and environment are all connected and the proposed Rosemont Mine will be detrimental to both. Indeed, mining claims exist in both the Santa Catalina and Tortolita Mountains, in the backyard of Oro Valley. These claims could be acted upon in the future. Would the Town Council remain neutral about mining projects that would destroy thousands of acres of these mountain ranges and are closer to home?
Finally, Pima County and southern Arizona are already home to numerous existing copper mines, including a new mine near Safford and mines in Green Valley owned by ASARCO and Freeport-McMoRan. While we understand the need for domestic copper production, we also think that southern Arizona already hosts enough copper mines, and efforts to increase production should focus on those mines currently in operation. According to a recent Arizona Daily Star article, in the last year Freeport-McMoRan has hired 806 new employees and ASARCO has hired 137. This is more than double the amount of jobs that Rosemont states their mine will support. In contrast to the jobs the proposed Rosemont Mine would produce, we support the promotion of the Santa Rita Mountains as a recreational and scenic destination, an effort already in motion and a proven positive contributor to our local economy. In fact, studies show that the economic boost southern Arizona receives from its beautiful landscapes, clean air, and myriad recreational opportunities dwarfs that of mining.
In addition, the U.S Forest Service’s Rosemont Copper Project Deliberative Draft Environmental Impact Statement states that the operation would significantly increase the likelihood of violations of air quality standards in the Tucson metro area and cause degradation of viewsheds such as Saguaro National Park.
Again, I urge you to oppose the item on your June 15, 2011 agenda that proposes to rescind Resolution No. (R) 07-55, approved by the Town Council unanimously on April 18, 2007, and stating the Town’s opposition to the proposed Rosemont Mine.
Thank for your considering our comments on this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Wednesday, August 17th, 6:30pm
Discounted tickets available at Summit Hut, Antigone Books, and the Tucson Audubon Nature Shop.
Join us once again as we host the Tucson stop of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, August 17th at the Loft Cinema!
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival brings together a selection of films from the annual festival held each January in Nevada City, CA. The films speak to the environmental concerns and celebrations of our planet. “Films featured at Wild & Scenic give people a sense of place,” says Tour Manager, Susie Sutphin. “In our busy lives, it’s easy to get disconnected from our role in the global ecosystem. When we realize that the change we need in this world begins with us we can start making a difference.”
Featured films of the evening include Bag It, Walking the Line, and Wild vs. Wall. Bag It seeks to unravel the complexities of our modern plastic world. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic and its effects on our waterways, oceans, and our bodies. Walking the Line follows thru-hiker Adam Bradley as he walks 500 miles of a proposed transmission line – a line through some of the West’s most remote landscapes – to find out how our country’s transition to renewable energy will affect the land, wildlife and people. Wild vs. Wall examines the environmental impact of the current border policy. Created by the Borderlands Campaign of the Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter, this film addresses the ecological effects of enforcement and infrastructure in the four states that share boundaries with Mexico.
For more information, to volunteer, become a sponsor of this event, or to reserve a block of tickets, contact: Gabe Wigtil, firstname.lastname@example.org, 520-388-9925
Locally Sponsored by:
Tucson Bird & Widlife Festival
This year’s film festival is being held in conjunction with Tucson Audubon Society’s first annual Bird & Wildlife Festival. Visitors from all over the world will be converging on Tucson for a week of birding and wildlife-related activities and we are excited to share our film festival with them as one of the featured evening programs.
Action Alert: Talking Points for Oro Valley Town Council Meeting Tomorrow
On Wednesday, June 15th, the Oro Valley Town Council will consider action to rescind its opposition to Rosemont Mine. The Town Council meeting will be held at 6:00pm at 11000 N La Cañada Drive.
We need your support! We still don’t yet know if the Mayor will allow a public hearing, so we need to fill the room. We need to show Oro Valley that this is a regional issue, and they will also be negatively impacted if this proposal goes forward.
If the public is not given the opportunity to speak in reference to this item, we will make certain that a designate speaks to the Town Council during the general call to the public.
If you would like to contact Council Members, especially if you know one of the Council Members personally, please do so. Share a short message about why you are opposed to the mine and encourage them to continue their opposition to this mining proposal. We have included some talking points below.
Talking Points for Oro Valley Town Council
Rosemont mine operations would*:
- Result in the loss of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat.
- Increase habitat fragmentation and reduce habitat connectivity.
- Approximately double wildlife-vehicle collisions along SR83 by year 20 of operation.
- Impact up to 95,000 acres of habitat due to excessive noise, vibration, and light.
- Impact habitat for 29 of Pima County’s Priority Vulnerable Species.
- Impact habitat for 14 endangered, threatened, and candidate species.
- Reduce water flow along Davidson Canyon, an Important Riparian Area in Pima County’s Conservation Lands System.
*data taken from the Rosemont Copper Project Deliberative Draft Environmental Impact Statement
For additional talking points, please see those of Coalition member group, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, available online.
Pima County still has its Rosemont Mine model on display at the Oro Valley Town Library (in the Town of Oro Valley Municipal Complex). This model is viewable to the public during normal library hours. Please visit and see for yourself the habitat destruction that this mine will cause.
If you have any questions about this issue, please feel free to contact the Coalition office via email (email@example.com) or by phone (520-388-9925)
The Rosemont Valley and site of the proposed pit. Photo courtesy Save the Scenic Santa Ritas.