Info on former defense sites in SPRNCA

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been investigating an area of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area that was used during World War II by Fort Huachuca for military training.  This area is identified as the Fort Huachuca Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS).  The Army Corps of Engineers is implementing a Community Education Program that informs visitors about the history of the area, the potential to encounter old military munitions in this area, and the 3Rs of Explosives Safety they can follow to protect themselves and the land.

As part of the Community Education Program, the Army Corps of Engineers has placed informational fact sheets or brochures at the San Pedro House and Fairbank School House for visitors.  They have also provided the Friends of San Pedro River with information that is available on the FSPR website, including the updated fact sheet, brochure on the 3Rs of Explosives Safety and the 3Rs logo, and the link to the Fort Huachuca FUDS website (https://www.spl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Formerly-Used-Defense-Sites/Former-Fort-Huachuca/).

Volunteers sought to help with Wet-Dry Mapping preparations

 

Volunteers needed!

Help with Wet-Dry Mapping preparations

Dear Friends,
 
There are two different volunteer opportunities associated with the upcoming Wet-Dry Mapping of the San Pedro River in middle June.  One role is a smaller commitment of time, while the other is more expansive and involves taking on greater responsibility.
First, the Friends are looking for an additional volunteer to help with team packet preparation and in addition meal planning and setup for the dinner for Wet-Dry teams that attend the training event the evening prior to mapping in the field.  This volunteer position reports to the Friends and involves a total of 5-10 hours of time between now and the June mapping event.
 
The second and larger role involves coordinating volunteers between now and June who will join teams in the field in the SPRNCA and upper San Pedro Valley tributaries the day of the mapping event.  See the volunteer position description.  Attendance at several planning meetings is also required.  This position involves a commitment of roughly 50 volunteer hours between now and June.  This volunteer reports to The Nature Conservancy Wet-Dry Mapping event coordinator Brooke Bushman.
 
The actual Wet-Dry Mapping of the San Pedro River will take place on Saturday, June 15, 2019.  The Wet-Dry Training at San Pedro House is scheduled for the day before, namely Friday evening, June 14.
 
If you are interested in one of these two volunteer opportunities, please email fspr@sanpedroriver.org to indicate which one, how much time you could devote between now and June, and what travel or other commitments you have in the next few months.
 
On behalf of the Friends, THANK YOU to all the volunteers who do so much for the river!

The Friends of the San Pedro River

Support the river in the New Year!

This year has been an eventful one as the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) reached a significant milestone, namely the 30th Anniversary of the Arizona-Idaho Conservation Act of 1988 that created it.  We celebrated that milestone in November with FSPR founders, members, volunteers and with BLM staff past and present down at San Pedro House.

Let’s start 2019 with the same resolve to support the river!  Please consider a year-end gift to the Friends of the San Pedro River to support our education program, our docent-led interpretive walks, and our volunteer trail maintenance and clean-up events.

[If you already recently gave, please accept our heartfelt thanks!]

There are many ways to give.  Besides the PayPal donate button and the Razoo/Mighty Cause donate button, you can shop at Amazon Smile and Amazon donates to FSPR.  Or shop at Fry’s (sign up for organization # II206 to give to FSPR through Fry’s Community Rewards program).  Or donate for a personalized brick in our Dedication Walkway at San Pedro House by completing and mailing the application.  And we always appreciate the time donated by our many dedicated volunteers – Contact us to get involved!

We are grateful for all your support.  Happy Holidays and all the best in the New Year!!

More grazing in SPRNCA? Still time to comment on draft RMP!

How to submit comments on draft SPRNCA Resource Management Plan 
Help us protect the river and celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA).  Submit your substantive comments on the draft RMP to the Bureau of Land Management during the public comment period that ends September 27, 2018.  [In the row for SPRNCA DRMP Vol1, click on the Comment on Document button.]  Use the guide linked here to help you craft your comments.

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Join Tucson Audubon on the San Pedro

Join Tucson Audubon Society for two events in September:

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More grazing, hunting in SPRNCA?

Attend the Public Meeting in Sierra Vista August 22!

BLM will host another public meeting on the draft RMP at 5:30pm Wednesday, August 22 at the Sierra Vista Police Department.  This is an opportunity to voice your concerns about BLM’s plan to open more areas in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area to grazing and hunting.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released the draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area with a 90 day comment period.  Major changes from the current management approach include increased grazing.

The Friends of the San Pedro River has reviewed the draft and shared our position on the FSPR website.  To begin your own review, you can access the document online. Public input will shape the final plan.

Public meetings on the draft RMP are scheduled for:

  • Aug. 8, 5:30-7 p.m., Benson Fire Department Station 71, 375 E. 7th Street, Benson, Arizona
  • Aug. 22, 5:30-7 p.m., Sierra Vista Police Department, 911 N. Coronado Drive, Sierra Vista, Arizona  (Meeting attendees should use the lobby entrance to access the room)
  • Aug. 23, 5:30-7 p.m., Pima Community College, 401 N. Bonita Ave., Tucson, Arizona

Public input will shape the final plan, and we strongly encourage you to attend one of the public meetings to learn more about the draft RMP and voice your concerns and suggestions.

AZ Supreme Court opens door to Tribute

Thursday, August 9th, was a sad day for the Friends of the San Pedro River and everyone who cares about the continued existence of the San Pedro, a rare, functioning desert riparian area, and the wildlife it supports. By the slimmest of majorities, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled against a lawsuit that sought to force consideration of groundwater usage as part of the approval of the Tribute residential development project in the Sierra Vista area.

The Friends hoped the plaintiffs would prevail in order to require that the Arizona Department of Water Resources consider the federal water right for the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in determining whether there was 100 years of adequate and legally available water supply for Tribute. Instead, the court ruled that ADWR is under no obligation to consider the impact of additional pumping by Tribute on the San Pedro River. Owners of residential wells in the area should be concerned because this means they too have no protection for their water source from prospective deep groundwater pumping associated with Tribute.

Pumping in the Sierra Vista area is already withdrawing more groundwater from the aquifer than is replenished. The result is a cone of depression where the aquifer is being drained. This cone of depression is spreading and adversely affects the flow of groundwater to the San Pedro River. Tribute will add 7,000 new homes that will require additional groundwater withdrawals from the aquifer. The end-result is sadly easy to anticipate.

FSPR position on draft RMP

The BLM has released a draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA). This plan will govern how the SPRNCA will be managed for the next few decades. The Friends has completed a first review of the document and will provide comments to the BLM during meetings and in writing. We would like to share with you our reaction and concerns.

But first, how to find the draft documents…
The draft RMP is available for the public to review and provide comments on the BLM ePlanning website at https://go.usa.gov/xnTuM.  Get involved!  Your opinion counts. Your voice is needed to counter those with influence who are working behind the scenes to undo the work of the last 30 years.

Public meetings on the draft plan are scheduled for:

  • July 30, 5:30-7 p.m., Sierra Vista Police Department, 911 N. Coronado Drive, Sierra Vista, Arizona (Meeting attendees should use the lobby entrance to access the room)
  • Aug. 8, 5:30-7 p.m., Benson Fire Department Station 71, 375 E. 7th Street, Benson, Arizona
  • Aug. 22, 5:30-7 p.m., Sierra Vista Police Department, 911 N. Coronado Drive, Sierra Vista, Arizona  (Meeting attendees should use the lobby entrance to access the room)
  • Aug. 23, 5:30-7 p.m., Pima Community College, 401 N. Bonita Ave., Tucson, Arizona

Public input will shape the final plan, and we encourage you to attend one of the public meetings to learn more about the draft RMP and voice your opinions and suggestions.

Overall assessment. The BLM has been working on this document for several years. We commend them for the completion of this draft and look forward to working towards issuance of a final plan that continues current protection of this precious national resource.  However, we do have significant concerns as discussed below.
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