St. David Cienega needs YOU!

See a brief history of the St. David Cienega, a remnant of the San Pedro River of the past, including its recent decline, and learn what the Community Watershed Alliance plans to do to preserve and restore it in an informative video.


CWA seeks partners, volunteers and donors.  The most immediate need is for donations to help fund a restoration expert to consult on a comprehensive restoration plan.  You can donate on the CWA website page about the cienega at:

The Donate button is located on the right side of the page.

Call to Action on Proposed State Water Legislation

A Sierra Vista area State Senator has introduced legislation that would circumvent current law by easing requirements that new developments must show the availability of a 100 year supply of water. This will clear the way for approval of developments, e.g., the massive development proposed along the San Pedro River south of Benson. It is hard not to view this as a death sentence for our river and the rural character of our area.

Arizona Audubon is organizing comments on the proposed legislation.  In this post, they explain how you can go about registering comments on this issue with our State legislators.


Arizona Game and Fish Dept. Seeks Citizen Scientists for American Kestrel Project

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is enlisting the help of landowners and citizen scientists to assist biologists as part of the American Kestrel Partnership, a program designed to collect data to be used to conserve this important species for future generations. AZGFD is participating in the partnership, which is coordinated nationally by The Peregrine Fund.

“The goal of this project is to provide nesting habitat and raise awareness for kestrels in Arizona, while contributing to national efforts to assist these falcons,” said Kurt Licence, an AZGFD biologist. “This great citizen science opportunity will help us to collect data to guide management decisions that could impact the stability of kestrel populations. That data will help us to better understand why long-term studies have shown that American kestrel populations have declined 50 percent across their range in the past 40 years.”

For more information about the program, visit or e-mail

URGENT! Public Comment Period on Review of National Monuments Extended to July 10

There is still time to submit your comments on the pending review of many of our national monuments, starting with Bears Ears National Monument.

An Executive Order has been issued calling for review of many national monuments to determine whether to redraw boundaries, reduce protections or even rescind designation for our most diverse and inclusive national monuments.

Since the Antiquities Act went into effect in 1906, millions of acres of environmentally, culturally, and historically important lands in the US have been protected for the enjoyment of generations to come. Without the constant vigilance of groups such as the Conservation Lands Foundation, there is a very real possibility that these lands could be removed from protected status.

Please consider acting now to help protect Bears Ears and other national monuments by clicking here to submit a public comment.

If you wish to make a donation to defend our national monuments, you may click here to make a contribution to the Conservation Lands Foundation to help them continue the fight to protect our national lands.

Appeals court rules ADWR must consider SPRNCA water rights

Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) officials did not properly consider the rights of the Bureau of Land Management, namely the federal reserve water right for the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) created by an Act of Congress in 1988, when it gave the go-ahead for a 7,000-home development in Sierra Vista, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

See the article on the appellate ruling (by Howard Fisher of Capitol Media Services) published by the Sierra Vista Herald for further information.

BLM invites public input on iconic trees


Photo by James Mahoney

The BLM issued a press release announcing the public comment period on its plans to address the iconic cottonwood trees at San Pedro House.  The BLM has proposed pruning the healthy tree that overhangs San Pedro House and removing the huge, aging cottonwood just to the west.  The Friends of the San Pedro River prefer an alternative in which both trees are pruned and the larger, western tree is left fenced to protect the public and allowed to die naturally.

UPDATE: The arborist’s report and his slide presentation on the trees have been added to the BLM eplanning website where the scoping document is still available. This is your opportunity to provide substantive comments. The deadline has been extended to July 29.  BLM asks that these comments be emailed to:  The scoping document describes the type of questions that would inform substantive comments.  According to the BLM announcement:

In order for your comment to be substantive you must include rationale for why the extraordinary circumstance is triggered.

Again, read the scoping document for details on how to comment.  Stay tuned to our FSPR Facebook page for updates.

Finally, Tom Wood of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (and a former President of the Friends of the San Pedro River) has created an on-line petition to save the trees. “Signing” the online petition is one way to express your opinion and feelings about the cottonwoods at the San Pedro House.

Cottonwoods featured on local radio

Cropped photo by James Mahoney.

Cropped photo by James Mahoney.

The Friday Morning Focus Show featured a discussion about the iconic cottonwood trees at San Pedro House.  The show, hosted by Pat Call, invited FSPR President Robert Weissler to discuss BLM’s plans to address these large, aging trees and public reaction and concern over the possible removal of the oldest one.  Hear the hour-long radio program.

Vigneto.. Sustainable Groundwater Use?

VignetoCMP_comments_to_Benson_thumbProposed Vigneto Development Plan Must Address Sustainable Groundwater Use

El Dorado Benson LLC recently submitted the Final Community Master Plan for “The Villages at Vigneto” to Benson officials.  One key area of concern is the prospect of large-scale groundwater withdrawals to supply water to the proposed development. We want to ensure that the developer is committed to measures like enhanced recharge of the aquifer and xeriscape landscaping.  And we want to convince Benson officials that now is not the time to become complacent about our precious water resources.

Read the entire letter to the Benson Planning and Zoning Commission.

Does Villages at Vigneto threaten the San Pedro River?

Does the proposed Villages at Vigneto development planned for Benson pose a threat to the San Pedro River? Is groundwater pumping for the planned 27,000+ homes sustainable? Or is this a repeat of unconstrained development like that of California?

Call on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to re-evaluate impacts of this huge, prospective city-sized development that threatens to adversely impact the San Pedro River, a Global Important Bird Area, migration corridor and biodiversity hot spot.  Learn more in the Arizona Daily Star article.