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Safe Harbor Agreement Coordination Meeting for the Gila Watershed Partnership
Southwest Region, November 7, 2005
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Arizona Ecological Services met with representatives of the Gila Watershed Partnership, Environmental Defense, City of Safford, AZ, Gila Valley Irrigation District, and local landowners (including local farmers and Phelps Dodge) to discuss the value and processes of developing and implementing a Safe Harbor Agreement (and possible Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances) for the Gila Watershed Partnership.  Discussions in the office and in the field included the processes to develop, implement, and monitor a SHA.  We discussed what actions on private lands were appropriate to cover in a SHA, what actions were more appropriately covered in a HCP, and what actions may not need to be covered through any process.  We also discussed the advantages of implementing a SHA for a private landowner through the Gila Watershed Partnership, including their responsibilities and protection from further ESA requirements.  The many concerns from private landowners were addressed, with the final thoughts expressed that a SHA, and possibly a HCP, was worth pursuing.  Arizona Ecological Services Office will discuss SHAs and other programs with the Gila Watershed Partnership at their December meeting.

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



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