Let's be honest - water policy and planning is often complicated and onerous work that can make you feel a million miles away from the birds and habitats that inspire you to take conservation action. However, members of Audubon's Western Rivers Action Network know that healthy rivers are critical to our mission. By staying engaged, we can ensure that birds and their habitats have a voice in ongoing planning discussions.
As part the Governor’s Arizona Water Initiative, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) has divided the state into 22 “Planning Areas” and is holding public meetings in each to address possible future water supply/demand imbalances. Among the first planning areas up for discussion are the Cochise Planning area, home to thousands of wintering Sandhill Cranes, and both the upper and lower San Pedro River, a waterway vital to forty percent of the nation’s avian diversity.
To protect wild bird populations in these areas, we must accomplish two things. First, we must make sure that the Arizona Department of Water Resources is aware of the wildlife values within their planning areas. Secondly, we must make sure that our members know that this ongoing planning effort will have material impact on birds and their habitats. To meet both of these goals, we’ve created this Arizona Water Planning Storymap. This map adds birds and habitat to the complicated equation of municipal, industrial, and agricultural water use. It will help the ADWR balance human and natural water needs and will remind you why engagement in the process is so important.
Planning meetings are ongoing, and birds and their habitat need you to speak up for them. Follow the ADWR’s planning area meeting information page or visit our WRAN action page website we’ll post any upcoming opportunities to stand up for western rivers.