Call to Action – Act now to help the Conservation Lands Foundation protect the Bears Ears National Monument

The Trump Administration has issued an Executive Order calling for “review” of national monuments – starting with Bears Ears National Monument – to determine whether or 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.

Locally, the Conservation Lands Foundation has provided direct support to the Friends of the San Pedro River by funding the Executive Director position for two years and development of our strategic plan.  This is a chance to reward their support of us by helping to protect our National Conservation Lands including the Bears Ears!

Please consider acting now to help protect Bears Ears by clicking here to submit a public comment.  The comment period is only open until May 26, so please act quickly.

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.

Donate to AZGF to help Sandhill Cranes this winter!

We have learned that the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area is without sufficient funds to pump enough water to provide protection for the Sandhill Cranes that call WWD home for the winter.  Many of our members will be concerned about Whitewater Draw and the Sandhill Cranes, so we are forwarding this request for donations.  The Tucson office of the Arizona Game and Fish Department has created a special account to help mitigate this problem.  This is a first for the AZGF and illustrates how dire the situation is.  
 
If you can help with a donation, just access the donation form, print it out, complete and sign the form, and mail it with your check.  Please mark only the first box, Whitewater Draw Groundwater Pumping and Habitat Maintenance, to be sure your donation goes directly to the groundwater pumping effort.  When you send in your checks make sure you note on the envelope and on the check:   ATTENTION, CINDY PEREZ. 
 
A donation of $100 automatically enters you into a drawing for a two night stay at Battiste Bed, Breakfast, and Birds, good through 2017, based on availability.  A donation for every multiple of $100 will give you more chances to win.  For example, a $500 donation equals five chances!!!
 
Thanks to our good friends Tony and Julie Battiste for alerting us to this situation and for their generous offer of a chance to stay at their beautiful bed and breakfast.
 
And in other news…..
 
SAVE THE DATE: We understand that the Bureau of Land Management might hold a public scoping meeting on January 10, 2017 about the Environmental Assessment for the cottonwoods at San Pedro House. We’ll provide more details when we have them.

Descriptions of volunteer services

New! In order to complete the revised BLM Volunteer Service Agreement form (available in hardcopy) for fiscal year 2017 starting October 1, 2016, volunteers should check each of the boxes listing the services they plan to provide during the course of the year.  The volunteer roles associated with those services are described in the pages below:

BLM invites public input on iconic trees

Mahoney_SPH_cottonwoods_photo

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: blm_az_tfoweb@blm.gov.  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.

BLM to Host Resource Management Plan Meeting on May 19th

The BLM will host a public meeting from 6:00 to 8:00 PM on May 19th at their Sierra Vista office, 4070 S Avenida Saracino, Hereford AZ.  The public is invited to hear and comment on the four alternatives that have been identified for consideration in the updated San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) Resource Management Plan (RMP) that is under development.  For more information, contact the BLM Public Affairs Specialist, Adam Milnor, at (520) 258-7223.

The Friends of the San Pedro River urge you to attend to voice your support for continued preservation of our precious riparian area with its rich wildlife habitat and unique cultural resources.

1st Annual Young Birders Camp – June 12-14

Arizona_Young_Birders_Camp_2015What: Young Birders Camp
When: June 12-14th, 2015
Where: Cave Creek Canyon, Chiricahuas
Fee: $150 per individual
Registration deadline:  March 31st (soon!)

Please feel free to share this announcement with any young birders you may know.

This birding camp is designed to draw together young birders from around the state of Arizona and to provide them with the opportunity to learn about birds, ecology, and conservation in the company of their peers.  The camp is open to youths between the ages of 8 and 18 years and welcomes birders of all skill levels, including novices.

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