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The Arizona Land and Water Trust protects Southern Arizona's vanishing western landscapes and wildlife habitat by acquiring and managing sensitive lands.

Velvet Mesquite Bosque, Santa Cruz River. Bosque is a Spanish word for woodland. The mesquite bosque is a highly productive habitat, supporting an astounding variety of mammals, birds, insects and reptiles .(Photo: USFWS, Jim Rorabaugh)

The Trust is part of a growing movement of land trusts across the nation, which are in general responsive to an entrepreneurial approach to protecting the land. We work with willing landowners, municipalities and other organizations to protect resources through acquisition and donation. Due to our small size, expertise, and a diversely talented board of directors, the Trust can expeditiously pursue protection opportunities that may be more difficult for larger organizations or agencies.

The Arizona Land and Water Trust, with more than 30 years of experience working in southern Arizona, has seen the need for local land trusts grow in the West. We see the enormous value in getting citizens involved in the preservation of the special places in their communities. We partner with community leaders, landowners and residents to protect our richest and most diverse landscapes, particularly riparian areas and those areas under the greatest growth pressure.

Never before has the demand for our work been greater. Increased awareness of the amazing resources within our region, coupled with growing human population, has spurred community-wide interest in land protection that we have not seen in the history of the Trust.

To address that interest we partnered with The Nature Conservancy of Arizona to identify the most biologically rich lands in Southern Arizona. The year long study illuminated 200,000 acres of land (of the 2 million acre study area) with high biological diversity warranting protection. We prioritized 44,000 acres of that land with the highest habitat conservation values and under the most pressure to development. The Arizona Land and Water Trust's Board of Directors commits to protecting 15,000 acres of that land within the next five years.