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  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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St. David Cienega update….


Matching funds still available thru May 12th.  Double the impact of your donation!  To Learn More:

 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.


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Shop at AmazonSmile during March, triple your donation to FSPR!

Shop at and support the Friends!

The AmazonSmile triple donation promotion starts today!  Amazon is tripling the donation amount to 1.5% when customers make their first eligible purchase from March 12 – 31. This is a great opportunity to increase donations to the Friends of the San Pedro River by shopping at AmazonSmile (via  For additional details about the promotion, visit the promotion detail page.

3x your impact!  Amazon is tripling the donation rate on your first purchase – through March 31!  Go to and Amazon donates to Friends of the San Pedro River Inc.