The San Pedro River watershed is in the national spotlight. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, announced it is one of 10 river restoration efforts in the western United States that will serve as a model of the America’s Great Outdoors River Initiative. America’s Great Outdoors launched two years ago to improve outdoor recreation opportunities for Americans, support jobs in recreation and tourism, and enhance the quality of life in our communities.
“We’d like to thank Secretary Salazar and the Bureau of Land Management for acknowledging the importance of the restoration work on the San Pedro and for contributing to its success,” said Patrick Graham, The Nature Conservancy’s state director in Arizona.
The San Pedro River is one of the last remaining free-flowing rivers in the Southwest. The San Pedro and its watershed provide water for the growing communities of Sierra Vista, Bisbee and Tombstone and critical habitat for wildlife and millions of migrating birds. “Many of our rivers are straining under increased demands and ongoing drought,” added Graham. “Protecting the San Pedro is critical. We have worked hard to develop diverse partnerships and creative solutions that will have a lasting impact.”
Government agencies, non-profit organizations and community members are pulling together to have a positive impact. The San Pedro River watershed partnership projects range from removing invasive plants and recovering native fish to placing conservation easements to creating education programs. “One of the most successful efforts along the river involves 150 citizen scientists who brave the heat to map the flow along 220 miles of the river and its tributaries,” remarked Graham. “By determining what areas are flowing, the Conservancy and its partners can determine where conservation efforts are working.”
The Conservancy is a partner in many of the river restoration projects named by Salazar. What we learn from these projects will be shared with other communities who wish to reap the benefits of a healthy, resilient river.
To learn more about the work the Conservancy is doing to protect important land and water in Arizona, visit nature.org/arizona
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy of Arizona