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Partners for Fish and Wildlife 2007 Projects
Southwest Region, July 12, 2007
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The AESO Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program funded seven habitat restoration projects in Arizona.  These projects include:

1)            Repairing two exisiting ponds (approximately 6 acres total) to allow for potential refuge and grow-out facilities for endangered Yaqui chub, Yaqui topminnow, Yaqui catfish, and the threatened beautiful shiner.  In addition, this project will benefit waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and other non-listed species.  The ponds are located on private lands near McNeal, Cochise County, Arizona.

2)            A fencing project with the Navajo Nation to protect 2.6 acres of Brady pincushion cactus habitat.  The fencing will prevent vehicle traffic from entering the area and damaging cacti.  The project is located on Tribal land off State Route 89A, about 120 miles north of Flagstaff, Coconino County.

3)            A cooperative effort between the Service, the City of Benson, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to enhance 14.4 acres within a 100-acre tract owned by the City of Benson along the San Pedro River in Cochise County.  Approximately 12.8 acres of upland revegetation will be enhanced to increase the species diversity of plants.  Additionally, approximately 1.6 acres of tamarisk will be removed from the river bank.  Since the San Pedro River is a natural corridor for a variety of bird and other wildlife species, this project will provide for habitat improvement, ecotourism, and wildlife and riparian education. 

4)            A cooperative effort between the Service, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and a private cooperator to convert a Gould’s wild turkey quarantine facility into a quarantine facility for reintroduction of thick-billed parrots.  The reestablishment of a population of thick-billed parrots in southern Arizona would reclaim part of the thick-billed parrot’s historical range in the absence of factors that presumably caused its demise, and would decrease the risk of extirpation to the species from environmental catastrophe, disease, or other unforeseen events.  It is also an opportunity to restore an important part of Arizona’s wildlife heritage.  The quarantine facility is located on private land in Cochise County. 

5)            Restoring approximately 40 acres of former agricultural fields and aquaculture ponds to native plant communities.  Of that 40 acres approximately 20 acres will be restored to  sacaton grassland and 20 acres restored to xeric grassland and shrub species.  These 40 acres are located on a preserve owned by the Nature Conservancy and is operated primarily to benefit rare habitats and the species they harbor, such as the federally listed endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher, the imperiled yellow-billed cuckoo and increasingly rare amphibians such as the lowland leopard frog.  The San Pedro Preserve is located in Pinal County.

6)            Enhancing an existing pond near Portal Arizona for possible reintroductions of threatened Chiricahua leopard frogs.  The project consists of enhancing an existing pond for wildlife habitat, upgrading an irrigation system, and planting native riparian vegetation.  The pond will provide wetland habitat for breeding native amphibians along with water in the desert used by a tremendous variety of birds and mammals. The project is located north of Portal Road, approximately 1 mile west of Highway 80 in Cochise County.

7)            Building a frog exclosure fence around a stock tank for future reintroductions of Chiricahua leopard frogs and enhancing another stock tank to hold water year-round for potential dispersal habitat for the frogs.  The project is located about 5 miles northwest of Sasabe, Arizona and about 2 miles west of State Highway 286 in Pima County.  With help from other funding sources the landowner is completing a number of other wildlife habitat improvement projects on the property. 

Private landowners for Projects #6 and #7 will sign Certificates of Inclusion so their restoration efforts will be covered under the Statewide Safe Harbor for Chiricahua leopard frog.

Additionally, 4 or 5 Partners Projects are being funded by the Arizona Fisheries Resource Office.

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



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