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The Trust starts its conservation process with a science-based plan to identify and map the areas with the highest biodiversity and scenic values.  This plan serves as a the common ground to work with our partners, and to secure public conservation financing.

Sonoran Desert Conservation Priorities in Eastern PIma County (click to enlarge)

Arizona Land and Water Trust works closely with local, state and federal agencies, as well as private landowners and land trusts, to protect Arizona's vanishing landscapes and wildlife habitat. The Trust helps its public and private partners achieve their specific land protection goals by providing risk capital, effective negotiation, legal skills and leverage of limited funding. This partner-driven approach enables us to act quickly and effectively to meet our partners' needs.

ALWT helps structure, negotiate, and complete land transactions that help protect natural areas. We serve as an independent agent, finding conservation buyers for willing landowners and strive to make landowners fully aware of conservation options by providing both the tools, information, and resources to assure that you have the information you need to make an informed decision.

CONSERVATION PLANNING
The Trust assists southern Arizona counties in protecting vanishing western landscapes, working ranches, and wildlife habitat. Growth patterns throughout southern Arizona, coupled with concerns about decreasing wildlife habitat, indicate that there is a growing need for protecting land with high biological diversity. Urban encroachment, subdividing rural parcels, and improvements to interstate highways threaten existing wildlife corridors throughout rural southern Arizona.

Planning starts with a science-based plan to identify and map the areas with the highest biodiversity and scenic values. This plan serves as the common ground for working with our partners and to secure public conservation financing.

Pima County
During the course of our work on the Habitat Protection Priorities for Eastern Pima County, we solicited input from community stakeholders and completed the plan in April 2003. By July 2003, both the Citizen's Steering Committee for the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and the Pima County Board of Supervisors had adopted the plan to set priorities for implementing the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. Click on the map above to see the Habitat Protection Priorities map.

Read More on Transportation and Habitat Fragmentation in Southern Arizona.

Our ongoing work with Pima County serves as a model for how we aim to assist other southern Arizona counties to achieve their conservation objectives by identifying conservation priorities and securing conservation funding. Under contract with a county, we assist in the following conservation planning services:
• Identification of Conservation Priorities
• Gathering Public and County Support for Public Funding Mechanisms
• Implementation of the Conservation Program

In 2004, the Arizona Land and Water Trust partnered with other conservation organizations to successfully campaign for a Pima County Open Space Bond. Overwhelming voter support for the measure was evident by the 67% voter approval. This measure funded $174.3 million for open apsace and habitat conservation.

CONSERVATION SERVICES
1. Identify Priorities

In 2001, ALWT received a two-year grant to identify habitat conservation priorities in eastern Pima County. The Trust partnered with The Nature Conservancy in Arizona to create the plan - Habitat Protection Priorities for Eastern Pima County. During the course of our work we solicited input from community stakeholders and completed the plan in April of 2003. The plan calls for protection of our community's richest biological resources on both private and state land by working with willing sellers.

2. Gather Support
Funding to acquire the conservation priorities will come from public finance mechanisms, private donations and matching funds programs through state and federal agencies. The public finance mechanism we are using to protect these priorities is the May 2004 Pima County General Obligation Bond of $174.3 million for open space and habitat conservation. The Trust partnered with other conservation organizations to successfully campaign for the open space bond. Overwhelming voter support for the open space bond measure was evident by the 67% voter approval.

3. Implementation
The Arizona Land and Water Trust is partnering with Pima County to use the open space bonds to protect our conservation priorities in perpetuity. The Trust assists in the implementation of the open space program by conducting outreach with willing sellers and the willing conservation buyer -- Pima County. In the first year of the open space bond program. the Trust assisted Pima County in acquiring 10,395 acres with open space bonds.

Conservation Buyer
The Trust connects conservation buyers with properties supporting significant ecological, historic, cultural, and open space values. Conservation buyers are people who support our mission to protect southern Arizona's western landscapes and wildlife habitat by acquiring and managing properties with conservation values. Conservation buyers are either interested in buying land encumbered by a conservation easement, or donate a conservation easement on their purchase to permanently protect a property's conservation values and restrict its development potential.

Contact us if you are interested in purchasing property with the intent of protecting its natural values in perpetuity. For more information about our conservation planning & services, or how we can assist in the protection of open space and wildlife habitat, please contact Liz Petterson, Executive Director at (520) 577-8564 or lpetterson@alwt.org