Archive for the ‘Action Alerts’ Category

Public comment period now open on I-11 Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement

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On July 16, 2021, the Arizona Department of Transportation and Federal Highways Administration released the Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The FEIS now identifies TWO possible Preferred Alternatives, a West Option through Avra Valley AND an East Option that co-locates I-11 with I-19 and I-10 through the Tucson region.

Action #1: Please ACT TODAY and request an extension of the public comment deadline from 30 days to 120 days. 

You can read the comment letter we submitted with this request HERE. Feel free to copy the language in this letter and/or personalize with your own words. 

A summary of talking points from our letter requesting an extension of the public comment deadline include:

  • The 30-day comment period is insufficient for review of the documents and ensuring the public is aware of the opportunity to review and comment on the project.
  • Because the impacts of this project are intergenerational, we urge you to consider an extension to provide the public with a full and fair opportunity to participate in this process.
  • Many of the communities impacted by the Preferred Alternative Options within the Corridor Study area are minority and low-income populations who in many cases do not have access to the traditional means by which federal EIS processes are advertised and published. Both proposed alternatives will have disproportionate adverse effects on these populations and they will need adequate time to be notified via ground mail or other means.
  • The Western Alternative through Pima County is proposed through traditional Tohono O’odham lands where tribal members may have limited internet access.
  • The Draft EIS documents totaled close to 5000 pages of text, maps, and other figures – the length and breadth of this document warrants a longer public comment period to allow adequate review by the public.
  • A new Interstate freeway has not been built in this metropolitan area since 1961 – over two generations ago. Many of the issues will have long-lasting, significant impacts on our community and we need sufficient time to review the record, research issues and concerns, and provide a substantive response.

Action #2: Submit a comment stating your opposition to the West Preferred Alternative Option (can be done concurrently or separately from Action #1) 

The Tier 1 FEIS identifies TWO Preferred Alternative routes: 1) a West Option that runs through Avra Valley, and 2) an East Option that co-locates I-11 with I-19 and I-10 through the Tucson region. There is currently a 30-day public comment period for the FEIS, with public comments due on August 16, 2021 (see above for information on our efforts to extend this deadline to November 16, 2021). 

The overarching message we encourage in your comments is that ADOT/FHWA should ABANDON the West Preferred Alternative Option in Avra Valley. We are currently working on our comments and will be posting more details soon. Check back here for more information in the days ahead. 

Comments can be submitted in the following ways:

Smart PhoneOnline Provide Your Comments | Proporcionar sus comentarios

Smart PhonePhone: 1.844.544.8049 (bilingüe)

EmailEmail: i11study@azdot.gov

EnvelopeMail: I-11 Tier 1 EIS Study Team c/o ADOT Communications
                       1655 W. Jackson Street Mail Drop 126F
                       Phoenix, AZ 85007

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Head over to our main I-11 webpage for more ways to get involved. 

Background and History of I-11

Links to media articles and published Letters to the Editor about I-11

Past information on the 2019 I-11 Draft Environmental Impact Statement process

The main I-11 FEIS website is at: http://origin.i11study.com/Arizona/

A traditional PDF version of the FEIS (split into multiple documents) can be found at: http://origin.i11study.com/Arizona/Documents.asp

An interactive version of the FEIS can be accessed at: https://i11.ee.alytics.com/I11Arizona-Tier1EIS/

 

Questions? Please reach out anytime to our Associate Director Kathleen Kennedy at Kathleen.Kennedy@sonorandesert.org or leave us a voicemail at (520) 388-9925 and we’ll get back with you ASAP! 

Support the 30×30 campaign

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Have you heard of the 30×30 campaign? While this campaign has circulated for a while, it hit the national news recently when President Biden pledged in an Executive Order to preserve 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. This ambitious goal is being called a “moonshot.” 

According to this recent article in The Guardian:

“One of the real exciting opportunities for [30 by 30] is that it’s really not a top-down mandate, where someone in DC is drawing the map and getting us towards 30%,” said Sierra Club lands, water and wildlife director Dan Ritzman. “The idea is really locally driven conservation efforts – these are bottom-up campaigns, where people familiar with the land and affected by its management will be deeply involved in its conservation.”

Even more information about the 30×30 campaign can be found in this article at newscientist.com

Want to take action in support of the 30×30 campaign?

First, contact Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema today and express your support for the 30×30 campaign, including the recently introduced Grand Canyon Protection Act. 

Senator Kelly’s DC Office: (202) 224-2235

Senator Sinema’s DC Office: (202) 224-4521

Here’s a sample phone script to help with your phone call:

“My name is _______ and I live in _______, Arizona. I want to thank Senator ______ for his/her support of efforts to protect Arizona’s wild lands and for introducing the Grand Canyon Protection Act in the Senate. I care about this issue because _________.

As you know, scientists are telling us that we need to protect 30% of nature by 2030 if we are going to stop the worst impacts of climate change. That’s why I’d also like to ask Senator _____ to publicly support the Biden Administration’s efforts to protect 30% of nature by 2030. We need Senator _______to lead efforts to protect more public lands and nature at home here in Arizona and nationally. Supporting the Grand Canyon Protection Act and 30×30 is a great start. Thank you!”

Second, RSVP for the 30×30 Spotlight Event on the evening of March 25th (exact time TBD). Join us to learn more about the science, challenges, and opportunities of protecting 30% of U.S. land and water by 2030 and learn more about opportunities to act in your state. At this event, there will be a speaker from National Geographic discussing the 30×30 campaign and the science behind it. RSVP today at https://forms.gle/TmLEV2YTaBRY4KGN8

Vote today for CSDP to win a $2,000 Banff Grant!

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Will you take 30 seconds today and vote for CSDP to win one of Summit Hut’s $2,000 Banff Grants? 

You can vote right now at: https://woobox.com/77j9qu 

Five wonderful non-profits have been nominated and the top two vote-getters will receive $2,000 at the Banff Mountain Film Festival on Friday, March 6. Only one vote is allowed per email address. You can also vote for us once per day at either of Summit’s two store locations. Voting started on February 1, 2020 and ends at midnight on February 29, 2020. 

Thank you for all your incredible support of a protected and connected Sonoran Desert, whether it’s speaking up against the proposed I-11 route, sending in a donation, volunteering for our wildlife camera program, writing an email, attending a public meeting, or voting for us to win a 2020 Banff Grant

Join us for Environmental Day 2020!

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Thinking about what you can do for the environment this year? Join us for Environmental Day at the Arizona State Capitol on Wednesday, February 5, 2020. We’ve got a bus chartered to bring community members up to Phoenix for the day to meet your state legislators, see the Legislature in action, and learn more about what bills are up for debate this year. 

There are two optional events scheduled to help you get ready for Environmental Day, plus Environmental Day itself. Please RSVP for any or all of them below!

1. TUESDAY, JANUARY 21: Tucson Legislative District Meeting, 6 PM – 7:30 PM at the Historic Y conference room, 738 N 5th Ave. Tucson 85705 – come out and meet your Team Leader and fellow residents in your legislative district, get an orientation to the schedule for Environmental Day, learn about current environmental bills in the legislature, and ask questions! RSVP here.

2. THURSDAY, JANUARY 30: Citizen Lobbying Workshop with Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr, 6 PM – 8 PM at the Historic Y conference room, 738 N 5th Ave. Tucson 85705 – Learn the ins and outs of the AZ State Legislature, how to be an effective citizen lobbyist, and more info on current environmental bills that we may want to talk about with our legislators. RSVP here

3. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5 – Environmental Day! Catch a ride on our chartered bus, leaving Tucson at 6am from the Historic Y Building (738 N. 5th Ave, Tucson, 85705) and return in comfort by dinnertime. RSVP here.

If you’d like to attend any or all of these events, please use the RSVP links above, email Whelan at sarah.whelan@sonorandesert.org or give us a call at (520) 388-9925. 

Thanks for using your voice for the Sonoran Desert and all the wildlife of Arizona! 

ACTION ALERT: Comments needed on draft Marana General Plan!

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The Town of Marana is currently accepting public comments on its new draft General Plan – will you send the Planning and Zoning Commission a quick email today and comment on this important planning document? You can send your comments to Marana staff member Cynthia Ross at cross@maranaaz.gov

If you’d like to access the full draft Marana General Plan, it can be found HERE

We’ve drafted some talking points below if you want some guidance on what to say. We know these types of planning documents can be cumbersome and time-consuming to review. However, they are really important in how they inform local government decisions around issues such as protecting open spaces and wildlife linkages; guide the locations of new developments and roads; and shape how our communities plan for future growth. 

THANK YOU for using your voice to protect open spaces and wildlife in Marana!

SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS FOR THE DRAFT MARANA GENERAL PLAN:

1.  The Tortolita Preserve needs to be identified on all Town maps. The General Plan is a 10-year document and there is an 81-year period left in the lease agreement. If the Town feels that it cannot be labeled “Preserve” due to perceived requirements dictated by the Arizona State Land Department, then the land should be, at a minimum, delineated on maps and labeled as “Open Space Park.”

2.  Given the investment that the Town of Marana has already made into a variety of environmental planning documents (such as a Draft Habitat Conservation Plan, the Tres Rios del Norte Feasibility Study, the Santa Cruz River Corridor Study, and the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan), the Town should be developing its proposed Open Space and Wildlife Conservation Plan concurrently with the General Plan. Resource protection and conservation need to be integrated with land use plans, not viewed as an unrelated goal or addendum. 

3.  Wildlife connectivity open space across Tangerine Road needs to be protected and buffered. Wildlife crossings have been installed along Tangerine Road at public expense (by the Regional Transportation Authority) and need to function as they are intended. Without adequate buffers, wildlife is unlikely to use these crossings. In addition, Prospect Wash wildlife connectivity across Tangerine Road and Moore Road needs to be preserved as Natural Undisturbed Open Space and buffered appropriately. In addition to Tangerine Road, open space is necessary across Moore Road in order for wildlife movement to continue to the Tortolita Preserve and on to the Tortolita Mountains.

4.  Various maps, including Future Land Use and Future Circulation, depict a new interstate, Interstate 11, running west of the Tucson Mountains. Given the current planning timeline for Interstate 11 and the fact that a Preferred Alternative Route has not been chosen, please delete the route and both spurs back to Interstate 10 from these maps. The construction of Interstate 11 is well outside of the planning horizon for this General Plan, whether Interstate 11 ends up being built as an I-10 bypass west of the Tucson Mountains or at all. 

5.  While many of the implementation actions listed in the Resources and Sustainability tables, if adopted and followed, will help mitigate the on-going effects of climate change, an action should be added that will “develop and implement a Climate Resilience and Emergency Readiness Plan.” 

Feel free to use any or all of these talking points in your comments, or use them as guides and put them into your own voice. 

PUBLIC HEARINGS

The Marana Planning & Zoning Commission is holding a public hearing on Wednesday, November 20, at 6pm at the Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Center Dr, Marana, AZ, 85653. Please consider attending in person and giving your comments verbally. Each person will be given 3 minutes to speak. 

The Marana Town Council will also be holding a public hearing on Tuesday, December 10 at 6pm at the Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Center Dr, Marana, AZ, 85653. Again, each person will be given 3 minutes to speak. If the Town Council approves the draft General Plan at that meeting, it will then go to Marana voters for approval. 

Our full set of comments that we have submitted to the Marana Planning & Zoning Commission can be found on our website HERE

Thank you again for using YOUR voice on behalf of the people and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert. 

Coalition weighs in on draft Marana General Plan

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On Friday, September 27, 2019, the Coalition submitted detailed comments on Marana’s latest draft General Plan, called “Make Marana.” To view the comment letter we submitted, head HERE

 

Two surveys are looking for your input on floodplain and stormwater management!

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There are currently two open public surveys that are looking for your input! 

1.  Pima County is looking for your input on floodprone areas near where you live and work. “The survey only takes a few minutes,” Floodplain Management Division Manager Brian Jones said. “People know of some high-risk spots for flooding and erosion in their areas that the District doesn’t know about. We want to know all of them. We also want opinions on how the public wants us to manage flood risks.” Please head over to the survey and share your views! 

2.  The City of Tucson would like your input on a proposed program and fee to provide additional stormwater management services in the community. To learn more about the proposal and provide feedback via a brief survey, which is open for feedback until the end of August, visit:

English: https://tucsonaz.gov/survey7707 
Spanish: https://tucsonaz.gov/survey7707es

Thanks for sharing your views with both Pima County and the City of Tucson to help improve our region’s floodplain management and stormwater management. 

Coalition submits comments on the I-11 DEIS

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On July 4, 2019, the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, and additional signatories representing 27 community and environmental organizations, submitted comments on the Tier 1 Interstate 11 Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Nogales to Wickenburg.

The full comment letter can be found HERE

Still haven’t submitted YOUR comments on the I-11 DEIS? There’s still time! The comment deadline is still 4 days away on Monday, July 8. 

You can submit public comments in multiple ways, including:    

Onlinei11study.com/Arizona

Phone: 1.844.544.8049 (bilingüe)

Email: I-11ADOTStudy@hdrinc.com

Mail: 

I-11 Tier 1 EIS Study Team c/o ADOT Communications               
1655 W. Jackson Street
Mail Drop 126F              
Phoenix, AZ 85007

For more information on this issue to help inform your comments, head to our Take Action Webpage.

Thank you for using your voice for the people and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert! 

Join us for our April Highway Cleanup!

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Our adopted one-mile stretch of road includes the new Oracle Road wildlife underpass. This is a fun way to meet fellow like-minded conservationists, get some exercise, and beautify one of our roadways, all with the spectacular backdrop of the Santa Catalina Mountains. For more information email sarah.whelan@sonorandesert.org

When: Saturday April 6, 2019

Time: 8am-10:30am

Meeting Place: See map link below.

What to bring: Sun hat, water bottle, closed toed shoes, we’ll provide bags, gloves, and garbage grabbers.

For more information or questions email Whelan at sarah.whelan@sonorandesert.org

The wildflowers along our adopted stretch of Oracle Rd are outrageous in all the best ways. Help us to help them by picking up some garbage April 6th!

Highway Clean up meet place

 

Stand up for Avra Valley!

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One of the Coalition’s supporters, Rick Brown, wrote this beautiful and powerful poem in defense of Avra Valley. Take a moment to sit with Rick’s commanding words about what we stand to lose if Interstate 11 is built at the doorstep to Saguaro National Park and other irreplaceable public lands. Thank you, Rick, for YOUR voice on behalf of the wildlife and wild places of the Sonoran Desert. 
 
Stand Up for Avra Valley! 
 
Midst a scenic desert valley
a freeway is planned to flow 
more useless sprawl and chaos
whose outcome we all know
 
This Sonoran panorama
is a treat for jaded eyes
seducing all who view her
‘neath those brilliant blue skies
 
A first trip to this landscape
will cause your heart to flutter
with glimpses of Arizona
before it fills with clutter 
 
A treasured realm of nature
spreads forth in grand repose
dotted with tall Saguaro
in their striking graceful pose 
 
Vistas that stir our conscience
abound from this great place
Tucson Mountain to Ironwood
are gifts you can NOT replace
 
Sacred and spiritual 
historic and sublime
Avra’s cultural essence
is the ideal paradigm
 
But greed, wealth, and pressure
fueled by backroom politics
keep Avra on the radar
with puzzling little tricks
 
It’s just another freeway
more miles of stark concrete 
What could possibly happen
when the Interstate’s complete?
 
Bulldozers by the hundreds 
would scour this mighty plain
by tearing it asunder
in a militant campaign
 

Noise, glare, and vibration 
would be the new calling card

gone are her days of wonder
left tattered, torn, and scarred
 
Thousands of tiny boxes
will rise from scattered seeds 
strewn across this basin
like machine-built tumbleweeds
 
Gridlock and more congestion
will become regular routine
Drivers could not imagine
this place was once serene
 
Destroying creation’s realm
when alternatives exist
is heinous to the utmost
and why we must resist
 
Foundations are in place
without building yet anew
along present corridors
much less-costly to pursue
 
Floodplain and water sources
occupy this narrow route
Why build amid these features
posing danger, risk, and doubt?
 
Our duty is to save her
from harbingers of doom
By protecting this fine Eden
she’ll forever stay abloom
 
Stand up for Avra Valley
let voices be overheard
It’s time to show the powerful
the passion of our words!
 
by R. Fleet Brown – 2018