Archive for the ‘Action Alerts’ Category

Action Alert: Sign on to “A Conservation Vision for Arizona’s Water Future”!

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March 30, 2017

The conservation of our water resources is essential for the future health and resilience of both people and wildlife. A group of organizations, including the Coalition and spearheaded by Coalition member group Sierra Club-Grand Canyon Chapter, recently drafted “A Conservation Vision for Arizona’s Water Future.” This visionary document outlines the many reasons and ways we believe Arizona water policy needs to be changed and revised. More than anything, the Coalition believes environmental water needs should be considered in Arizona water policy. This includes policies that try to keep our rivers, streams, and springs flowing and subsequently support our incredible Sonoran Desert wildlife. 

The vision document states in part:

“We believe a clearer vision of water sustainability for Arizona’s future is needed, one that would:
• Consider environmental water needs and propose policies to keep rivers, streams, and springs flowing;
• Consider the water needs of rural Arizona;
• Incorporate the high probability that climate change will afflict Arizona with multidecadal droughts, increased temperatures, and diminished water supplies;
• Include new possibilities for controlling water demand through creative and strong water conservation measures; and
• Include a comprehensive economic evaluation of alternative augmentation techniques and advanced water reuse technology.”

It also concludes, “We are committed to including a broad range of stakeholders (both large and small) in the discussion, including our towns and communities, rural communities, Indian tribes, grassroots and community groups, local businesses, and the environmental community.”

Will you support “A Conservation Vision for Arizona’s Water Future” by adding your name in support of this document? We are seeking both individuals and organizations to sign on so please inform any organizations that you are involved in that this opportunity for action is available to them too. Sign on here

You can read the full vision document here

Going forward, we will be keeping you updated on how this new vision document will be used to advocate directly to Arizona’s water policy decision-makers and other ways you can be involved. 

Thank you for supporting water policies that support our environment and wildlife! 

In the News: Oracle Road wildlife crossing results make a splash!

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March 16, 2017

The new progress report on the first year of monitoring of the Oracle Road wildlife crossings has been a hot topic this week. 

The full report can be found here.

An article in the AZ Daily Star on March 15, 2017 can be found here

A Pima County news release on March 15, 2017 can be found here

A CBS News story on March 16, 2017 can be found here

A U.S. News & World Report story on March 16, 2017 can be found here

We have been a proud partner in this project since the very beginning and our volunteers and supporters continue to be essential to the future success of this project. Did you know Coalition volunteers monitor a set of cameras in the approach areas of the Oracle Road wildlife bridge? The data from these cameras is being shared with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to help them understand what animals are approaching the crossings but are not yet comfortable enough to use them. Some animals take longer to acclimate to new crossings – since these crossings are the first of their kind in the Sonoran Desert, we hope to learn how long it takes different species to use the crossings over the next few years. 

Thank you for everything you do to help protect and re-connect our important Sonoran Desert wildlife linkages! 

Action Alert: Oppose Bill that Repeals Arizona State Parks Board!

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March 9, 2017

The Arizona State House of Representatives recently moved forward HB2369, which contains provisions to repeal the Arizona State Parks Board. This destructive bill has not been heard by the Arizona State Senate yet – will you voice your opposition to this bill by adding your name to a growing list of organizations and individuals that oppose HB2369? Read the letter and sign here.

The State Parks Board’s purpose is to “select, acquire, preserve, establish, and maintain areas of natural features, scenic beauty, historical, and scientific interest, and zoos and botanical gardens, for the education, pleasure, recreation, and health of the people…” Elimination of the State Parks Board will mean less transparency, fewer opportunities for public engagement on a broad level, and one less entity to advocate for a parks system badly in need of more advocates.

So many of us love and enjoy our nearby state parks such as Catalina State Park and Kartchner Caverns State Park. Our collective voice is needed now to let the Arizona State Legislature know that Arizonans want our state parks overseen by a transparent, diverse State Parks Board.

Thank you for taking action today!

Update March 23, 2017

Yesterday, the Senate Government Committee passed HB2369 on a 6-1 vote BUT they amended the bill to remove the provisions about eliminating the State Parks Board. This is fantastic news – your voice was heard! The bill will still have to be heard and voted on by the full Senate and we are hopeful this amendment will hold. We will keep you updated as we learn more. 

Pima County’s Multi-Species Conservation Plan Becomes a Reality

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After close to two decades of planning, Pima County’s Multi-Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) has become a reality. On Tuesday, September 6, 2016, the Pima County Board of Supervisors gave their final stamp of approval to this long-awaited conservation plan.

With conservationists, homebuilder, realtors, ranchers, and developers on board, this plan will protect 44 Sonoran Desert wildlife species. These species include seven that are currently listed as endangered. The remaining 37 species could become endangered during the 30-year life of the plan.

“While many regional Habitat Conservation Plan have been approved before, Pima County’s MSCP is unique in that local officials truly embrace the intent of the Endangered Species Act,” said the Coalition’s Director, Carolyn Campbell. “This plan takes a regional approach to conservation and will protect not only the 44 covered species but also a diverse range of habitats found within the Sonoran Desert.”

Pima County’s MSCP is part of an application for an Incidental Take Permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Fish and Wildlife granted this permit in July 2016. On September 6, the Board of Supervisors approved the “Implementation Agreement” for the plan, which outlines the various responsibilities of the County and Fish and Wildlife as the plan is executed. By voting to approve this agreement, the clock has officially started on the 30-year plan.

Steve Huffman, government affairs director for the Tucson Association of Realtors, described the MSCP as a “win, win, win,” for the county, developers and conservationists.

The MSCP is one piece of Pima County’s larger Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. This nationally-recognized plan also includes a substantial open space preserve system throughout Pima County, which will serve as mitigation lands under the MSCP. Since 1997, Pima County has protected over 200,000 acres of open space, either through the lease of State Trust Lands or through outright purchases.

This preserve system allows the County to also include private development under the permit, one reason why the plan is supported by developers. One of the larger goals of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan is to balance development and conservation, directing development to appropriate areas and protecting the most biologically-rich places of the region.

Thank you to all our supporters for their persistent and passionate support for the MSCP and the Coalition over the past 18 years – this accomplishment is yours too! 

Submit scoping comments today on the I-11 Environmental Impact Statement!

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The proposed Interstate 11 is moving forward and your comments on this proposal are needed now! The Arizona Department of Transportation and Federal Highways Administration are holding a series of scoping meetings throughout Arizona this month for a new Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Interstate 11 segment between Nogales and Wickenburg.

There are two meetings this week in the Tucson region. Both meetings are from 4-6:30pm with a short presentation at 4:15pm and an open house format after the presentation is finished.

Wednesday, June 22
Arizona Riverpark Inn
777 W. Cushing St.
Tucson, AZ

Thursday, June 23
Marana Middle School Gymnasium
11285 W. Grier Rd.
Marana, AZ

Comments will be accepted at the meetings on June 22 and June 23 and up until the final comment deadline of July 8. More information about the project can be found at i11study.com/Arizona.

The Coalition’s final scoping comments can be found here.  The main issues we address and which we encourage you to address in your comments too include:

  • Impacts to federal and local protected open space lands such as Ironwood Forest National Monument, Saguaro National Park, the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Arizona Project mitigation corridor, City of Tucson mitigation lands for their Avra Valley Habitat Conservation Plan, and Pima County mitigation lands for their Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
  • Impacts to highly threatened wildlife linkages and have been identified in multiple planning processes, including the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, Arizona Wildlife Linkages Assessment, and Pima County Wildlife Linkages Assessment. These linkages include the Ironwood-Picacho wildlife linkage, Avra Valley wildlife linkage, and Ironwood-Tortolita wildlife linkage.
  • Impacts to Pima County’s Conservation Lands System, an integral piece of both the larger Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and the more targeted Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
  • Impacts to riparian habitat specifically, an increasingly rare and threatened habitat type that 80% of vertebrate species in the Southwest are dependent upon for some part of their life cycle (Noss and Peters 1995).

Comments can be submitted in a few different ways.

Interstate 11 Tier 1 EIS Study Team

c/o ADOT Communications
1655 W. Jackson St., MD 126F
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Thank you for submitting comments on this important issue!

Coalition hosting the Wild and Scenic Film Festival on August 17th

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CELEBRATION OF OUR ENVIRONMENT!
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival comes to Tucson

The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection will once again host the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Loft Cinema on Wednesday, August 17th, at 6:30pm.

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS TODAY!!

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a collection of films from the annual festival held the third week of January in Nevada City, CA which is now in its 14th year! Wild & Scenic focuses on films which speak to the environmental concerns and celebrations of our planet. “Films featured at Wild & Scenic give people a sense of place,” says Tour Associate Director, Amelia Workman. “In today’s busy world, it is easy to disconnect from our role in the global ecosystem. When we realize that the change we need in this world begins with us, we start making a difference. Come get inspired!”

This event will inspire the people of Tucson to go out and make a difference in the community. This is the Coalition’s fifth year hosting the festival and past films have inspired local activism and raised awareness in a powerful way. This year, we will continue to show a series of motivating and entertaining films to bring strong and impactful messages to our community, including the Coalition’s first ever short film! Before the films begin, local conservation organizations will be on hand to share information about conservation efforts in our region. Music and food available at the Loft will round out a fun and inspiring evening!

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started by the watershed advocacy group, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) in 2003. The festival’s namesake is in celebration of SYRCL’s landmark victory to receive “Wild & Scenic” status for 39 miles of the South Yuba River in 1999. The 5-day event features over 150 award-winning films and welcomes over 100 guest speakers, celebrities, and activists who bring a human face to the environmental movement. The home festival kicks-off the international tour to over 150 communities around the globe, allowing SYRCL to share their success as an environmental group with other organizations. The festival is building a network of grassroots organizations connected by a common goal of using film to inspire activism. With the support of National Partners: Patagonia, CLIF Bar, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Orion Magazine, Klean Kanteen, Earthjustice, and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, the festival can reach an even larger audience.

For more information about the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, go to www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org.

EVENT DETAILS:

When: Wednesday, August 17th – 6:30pm

Where: The Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, Arizona

Tickets: $8.00 in advance, $10.00 at the door night of event. Purchase your tickets online now.

For more information contact Hannah Stitzer, sarah.whelan@sonorandesert.org or at 520-388-9925.

2016 Film Program (click the image to view larger)

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A special thanks to our local sponsors!

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Watch our first Coalition video!

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We recently completed our first short film, Safe Passages: Protecting Our Sonoran Desert Wildlife Linkages. Check out all the work we are doing to protect ecologically important wildlife corridors and how you can get involved!

Wildlife Crossing Dedication a Huge Success!

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On May 10th, over 200 people came to celebrate the completion of the Oracle Road wildlife crossings! The dedication included a press conference, a talk by our Director, Carolyn Campbell, and a guided walk and tour of the wildlife bridge. Following the wildlife bridge event, attendees made their way to Pusch Ridge Stables for a reception and a guided hike to the large wildlife underpass. We are so happy to have been able to celebrate this success with so many members of the community and those that made this work possible. We look forward to documenting wildlife using the crossings and celebrating connected habitat and a healthier Sonoran Desert for years to come.

Check out all the information below for news stories and photos from the wildlife crossing dedication and videos and photos of wildlife using the crossings.

News Articles

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2016/05/11/95-million-bridge-just-wildlife-opens-near-tucson/32600077/

http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/31939498/pima-county-wildlife-bridge-underpass-opens

http://www.kvoa.com/clip/12426522/supervisor-bronson-supporters-deem-wildlife-crossing-a-success

Pima County’s E-Newsletter article about the event can be found here.

http://www.tucsonlocalmedia.com/news/article_c5e73a06-1c5e-11e6-9bad-579e43369b82.html

The roughly $11 million wildlife bridge project includes an underpass for animals about one mile south of the bridge and fencing that funnels wildlife toward the bridge.

The Coalition’s Director, Carolyn Campbell, addresses the crowd near the wildlife bridge. Photo courtesy of Pima County

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Community members take a tour of the wildlife bridge. Following this tour, humans are prohibited from walking on the wildlife bridge. Photo courtesy of PLP Imaging

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A guided hike was led to the wildlife underpass. Photo courtesy of PLP Imaging.

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Photo courtesy of PLP imaging.

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Photo courtesy of PLP Imaging.

 

The wildlife bridge is already being frequented by wildlife! The photos and videos below are courtesy of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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New video shows deer and other animals crossing Oracle Road wildlife bridge

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About two weeks ago, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) installed video and still cameras on the Oracle Road wildlife bridge and wildlife underpass to document animals using the recently completed structures.

Almost immediately, the cameras began documenting wildlife using these safe passages to cross Oracle Road! This is incredibly encouraging news as habitat is being connected and wildlife can safely move to find resources for survival. It’s a big win for wildlife! We are proud of the partnership with Sky Island Alliance, Tucson Audubon Society, AGFD, Arizona Department of Transportation, and the Regional Transportation Authority that made this possible.

We can’t wait to see what other Sonoran Desert animals will use the wildlife bridge and wildlife underpass.

Watch the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLcfwGMF7Xk

Read a press release here.

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A mule deer makes its way across over the Oracle Road wildlife bridge. Photo courtesy of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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A coyote enters the Oracle Road wildlife underpass. Photo courtesy of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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A javelina exiting the Oracle Road wildlife underpass. Photo courtesy of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.