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Safford and Graham County Coordination meetings
Southwest Region, March 1, 2005
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On March 1, 2005, Arizona Ecological Services Field Supervisor Spangle, Assistant Field Supervisor Barrett, Supervisory Biologist Rorabaugh, and staff met with Field Manager Civish, Assistant Field Manager Schnell, and staff at the Bureau of Land Management Safford Field Office. The purpose of the meeting was to facilitate cooperative efforts in listed species conservation and consultation on public lands in southeastern Arizona. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff presented information on our organizational structure as well as listing actions, critical habitat designations, recovery planning efforts, and ongoing consultations. Bureau of Land Management staff presented information on their upcoming structural reorganization, current planning efforts, and inventory and monitoring activities involving listed species. Interactive discussions were held on the Gila Water Rights Settlement Act and the implementation of the biological opinion on the Fire, Fuel, and Air Statewide Land Use Plan Amendment. Issues regarding the effects of implementation of the Land Use Plan Amendment on the Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuge were also discussed, and it was agreed to coordinate further between the Bureau of Land Management, Ecological Services, and Refuge staff. Technical staff from both agencies were assigned to the future Gila District-wide grazing consultation.

Subsequent to the productive meeting with the Bureau of Land Management, Field Supervisor Spangle, Assistant Field Supervisor Barrett, and staff met with Graham County Board of Supervisor Chair John, Board Member Herrington, and County Manager Cooper regarding their concerns with the Bureau of Reclamation and Salt River Project's plans to acquire and manage southwestern willow flycatcher habitat along the Gila River in the Safford Valley. We discussed the presence of flycatchers in the to-be acquired area and the region in general, the continuation of local land use practices in the presence of flycatchers, and the relationship between those issues and the proposal to replace the Eighth Avenue Bridge across the Gila River in Safford. The Service reaffirmed its commitment to work with the local interests at the earliest phases of the bridge replacement planning and design process. Service staff then visited the bridge site to examine the extent of flycatcher habitat in light of recent, significant discharges in the Gila River.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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