The Arizona Land and Water Trust is honored to have been selected as a recipient of the 2018 Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant, one of only 22 award recipients this year. Spanning two years, the $219,000 award will allow the Trust to assess land use and water supply linkages in the Upper Santa Cruz River Watershed. Aiming to protect river flow, groundwater supplies and riparian health, our team will work with partners and landowners to identify areas in which land conservation efforts are likely to have the greatest benefit on watershed health.
In keeping with the goals of the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program, this project enables Trust staff to develop watershed-scale strategies for the protection of the Santa Cruz River – strategies that will be informed by existing research, on-site data collection, consistent engagement with local landowners and coordination with public, private and non-profit partners. Contract support from AMP Insights and Ty Ferré of the University of Arizona Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences will be integral to the Trust’s efforts to assess watershed conditions and identify future conservation efforts.
Geographically, the Trust will focus its efforts on the U.S. portion of the Santa Cruz River from its headwaters in the San Rafael Valley to the downstream boundary of the Upper Santa Cruz Basin, where the river flows north into Pima County. Key tributaries encompassed in this focus area include Sopori Wash, Josephine Canyon and Sonoita Creek; the focus area also includes the headwaters of Cienega Creek, which sustain the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area and contribute to Tucson’s groundwater basin. Furthering the geographic significance of this project, a portion of the project area lies within the Fort Huachuca Sentinel Landscape, one of seven specifically designated regions in the nation where private land conservation strengthens agricultural communities, conserves habitat and natural resources, and protects the long-term viability of important military installations. The Arizona Land and Water Trust has played a key role in connecting Fort Huachuca to rural landowners and securing the financial resources necessary to preserve open land within the Sentinel Landscape.
The Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program is a partnership between the Endowment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to support the strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds.
This project has been funded wholly or in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement 83590301 to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency, nor does the EPA endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in this document.
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation that works collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities.