Victory for the western yellow-billed cuckoo: July 2016 AZ WRAN Happenings

To Audubon Arizona, the long-term health of our western rivers means the long-term survival of the western yellow-billed cuckoo.  Thanks to the nearly 1,000 of you who took action by contacting the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) in May, the health of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area - an Important Bird Area and home to one of the largest remaining breeding populations of western yellow-billed cuckoos - is receiving priority consideration by the Corps. 

In regard to the proposed Villages at Vigneto development near Benson – a development that could have significant impacts on the San Pedro River - you asked that they formally re-evaluate the project’s section 404 Clean Water Permit “to ensure that the analysis on which the permit was issued remains valid, comprehensive and complete and that all significant scientific information and changed circumstances have been appropriately weighed in making a final determination.”  At your request, the ACOE has suspended the 404 Clean Water Permit. This is an important milestone, and we thank you for making it happen.  Read on to learn more about how the Western Rivers Action Network is working to protect our rivers and the wildlife, communities, and economies that depend on them.

Declines in species such as the yellow-billed cuckoo and the dropping levels in Lake Mead both point to the same thing: if we hope to meet future water needs despite uncertainty surrounding our long-term water supplies, then our leaders must develop creative, flexible, and responsive policy solutions.  As advocates for western rivers, it is our job to educate these policymakers and ensure that water for natural areas is a key part of the discussion.

This month, WRAN Leaders from Trout Unlimited, Arizona Wildlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Arizona Elk Society, Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation, and others met with Hunter Moore, the Governor’s Natural Resource Policy Advisor.  Water for natural areas was a point of emphasis and we left with guarantee of quarterly follow-up discussions.  We've also been working closely with ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke and his team to share input in the ongoing work of the Governor's Water Augmentation Council.

If you’re reading this and thinking “how does all of this talk of policy effect the habitat and wildlife I love – birds like the yellow-billed cuckoo and places like the San Pedro River?”, then you’re in luck!  By joining us for our summer webinar series, Talking Water, you can learn about these often complex connections between policy and conservation and become an even stronger advocate for western rivers.  Take Action by signing up today!

Arizona has a long history and proud tradition of making the most of our water supplies and the future of our cities, habitats, birds and other wildlife depends on us keeping it up.  Thank you for all you do – we look forward to seeing you on our next webinar!

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