In 2011, through the leadership of Audubon Southwest, the City of Phoenix became an Urban Bird Treaty City, and thus a part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ Urban Wildlife Conservation Program.  The outreach and engagement efforts of this Urban Program, based in the Arizona Ecological Services Office in Phoenix, expanded in 2021 to align with Rio Reimagined, a project envisioned by the late Senator John McCain in 2018.  By embracing the scope of the Rio Reimagined project, our Urban Program can work with numerous partners and join with them in efforts to reach out to diverse communities along the Salt and lower Gila Rivers.  This refocusing was celebrated in the first annual Urban Wildlife Conservation Day event on October 9, 2021, on partner-owned City of Phoenix land, with over fifteen participating organizations hosting informational booths.  In the second annual event to celebrate this growing partnership, held on October 8, 2022 on partner-owned City of Phoenix land, a special signing ceremony for the Urban Bird Treaty was held. 

In 2023 the development of the Rio Reimagined Urban Bird Coalition began.  This coalition's goal is to support, and coordinate, urban bird actions and activities in support of the Urban Bird Treaty.  

Overall, the goal of the Rio Reimagined Urban Program is to meet the communities of the greater Phoenix area where they are by building up and supporting existing partnerships within communities to offer environmental education and outreach opportunities.  It is also the goal that through this Rio Reimagined Urban Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can continue to offer technical expertise and provide connections between communities and conservation.  Together, we can “reimagine” what collaborative conservation and engagement can be!

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A rocky shoreline of a river. The water is calm. Mist and green branches line the river.
The Ecological Services Program works to restore and protect healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants and the environments upon which they depend. Using the best available science, we work with federal, state, Tribal, local, and non-profit stakeholders, as well as private land owners, to...
Students learning about tree identification
A program that supports city partners in conserving birds and their habitats and providing opportunities for community engagement in bird-related recreation, education, and conservation activities in urban and suburban areas.
A bison grazing in the foreground with mountains and a city and electrical infrastructure in the background
The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program improves lives by expanding access to green space, education and outdoor recreation for Americans living in and around cities. Program members work to clear social and historical barriers and foster new connections that advance conservation and strengthen...