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Arizona State Land Department Considers Habitat Conservation Plan and Conservation Bank for its Lands
Southwest Region, February 20, 2008
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Arizona State Land Department invited staff from the Tucson Suboffice to provide a tutorial to the Deputy Land Commissioner, Jamie Hogue, and planning staff on habitat conservation plans, conservation banking, and safe harbor agreements.  ASLD is considering preparing a habitat conservation plan on approximately 270 square miles of land slated for disposal, called Superstition Vistsas.  This large block of state lands is near the Superstition Mountains and is rich in biodiversity.  ASLD is interested in preparing a HCP that would determine, prior to disposal, where development would occur and where conservation would occur. If such a HCP were successful in a pilot project, ASLD would consider expanding this concept to other areas in Pima and Pinal County.  Tucson staff discussed the non-traditional section 6 grant program as an avenue to obtain planning dollars for such an effort.  The Deputy Land Commissioner was scheduled to meet with the new Director of Arizona Game and Fish Department later in the week, and will discuss working together to apply for the grant.  ASLD is also interested in developing a conservation bank for Pima pineapple cactus in the Altar Valley of Pima County.  A developer has approached them with the prospect of using state lands to mitigate for impacts to Pima pineapple cactus in Green Valley.  The Tucson staff also discussed with ASLD the merits of safe harbor agreements, including those existing with the Malpai Borderlands Group and Arizona Game and Fish Department.  Many ranchers who participate in these safe harbor agreements have state land grazing leases.

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



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