2017 Update from the Officers of the Lower San Pedro Watershed Alliance

posted Feb 6, 2018, 2:59 PM by Jeau Allen

Accomplishments of the Lower San Pedro Watershed Alliance (LSPWA) during the past year were shaped by Mick Meader, one of our directors who passed away gracefully in February of 2017.

Mick was active in all of our program areas. He promoted science-based conservation planning. He countered myths with actual data. He exposed the exaggerated benefit claims and profound impacts of inappropriate development proposals through tireless research and engagement in the administrative review process. Always reaching out, and always ready to pitch in, Mick was a model for conservation activism.

Great progress was made during 2017 in the efforts that Mick had been promoting:
  • The Madrean Watersheds Landscape Conservation Planning and Design process has advanced to the stage where design indicators are being selected and conservation stakeholders are assembling for planning purposes on a regular basis.
  • Attorneys from EarthJustice have joined with the LSPWA and other local conservation groups in strongly encouraging federal agencies to study the environmental impacts of the proposed 70,000-resident Vigneto development near Benson.
  • Resistance to building an industrial-scale infrastructure corridor through previously undisturbed portions of the lower San Pedro watershed has progressed from administrative hearings to the courtroom.
  • Wildlife monitoring continues under the coordination of Alex Binford-Walsh, a dedicated young volunteer in Cascabel, Arizona.
  • Researchers collaborated with LSPWA landowners to conduct ecological and hydrological studies.
  • Aravaipa LSPWA member Phil Hedrick continued to lead efforts in the control of invasive species.
And, we joined with several dozen other organizations in Arizona to promote the conservation of indigenous water for riparian ecosystems.

Mick had a vision of building a shield to protect the now-unique biological richness and natural beauty of the lower San Pedro watershed. This vision lives on in the individuals and groups who had the privilege to work with him.

Consider the labor and monetary contributions you can make to the LSPWA, to the Cascabel Conservation Association, and to legal assistance groups like EarthJustice. The most lasting legacy we can leave is to conserve the natural ecosystems that took millions of years to develop. Protecting our last remaining wildlands yields the most bang for your conservation buck, far more cost effective and beneficial to wildlife than trying to replicate natural conditions in areas that have already been significantly disturbed by development activity. Let's carry on our shared vision with Mick in the years to come.

Comments Submitted on Ray Mine Tailings Proposal

posted Mar 8, 2016, 1:34 PM by Peter Else   [ updated Feb 6, 2018, 1:48 PM by Jeau Allen ]

LSPWA director Diane Laush used her extensive background as a wildlife biologist to develop comments on the proposed Ray Mine Tailings Storage Facility near Kearny, Arizona. On March 8, 2016, the LSPWA board unanimously approved sending these comments to the Army Corps of Engineers, as part of the process for developing an Environmental Impact Statement. Below are the links to the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and to the comments sent on behalf of the LSPWA:

Attached to this post (below) are the comments submitted by the LSPWA ("Ripsey Wash DEIS comments final").

Winter Meeting, March 2nd at Oracle State Park

posted Feb 16, 2015, 12:19 PM by Peter Else   [ updated Feb 16, 2015, 12:22 PM ]

With our recently granted tax-exempt status and our membership base now representing over 9,200 acres in privately-held lands, 71,000 acres in leased lands associated with three ranches, 91 land-owners and 59 supporters, the LSPWA is planning its next meeting around the theme of uniting our efforts with those of agencies and conservation groups who are active in the watershed.  The next meeting of the Lower San Pedro Watershed Alliance will be held at Oracle State Park on Monday, March 2, from 1 to 4 PM.

In keeping with our mission to unite agencies, groups, and individuals to protect a threatened riparian ecosystem and the watershed that supports it, our meeting will include a short presentation by Doug Peacock, the inspirational author who has maintained his connection with our region since working with Edward Abbey as the first managers
of the Aravaipa Wilderness Area (Doug said they decided to be co-managers since neither of them wanted full-time jobs).  Doug says he will be talking about Abbey, climate change in the distant past and in the present, and why conservation is so important to our future.

The bulk of our agenda will focus on our mission to promote a more unified culture of conservation in the watershed, our strategic plan, current challenges (including the SunZia Transmission proposal), and our ongoing programs. An agenda and directions to the venue will be sent out prior the meeting.

Many thanks to Oracle State Park Ranger, Jennifer Rinio, for making this venue available and offering her volunteer services to open the Park to us beyond the limited weekend hours that are a result of cuts to our State Park system.

Meader Releases New Paper on Water Usage by Mesquite

posted Oct 27, 2013, 2:40 PM by Peter Else   [ updated Mar 1, 2015, 5:26 PM ]

In response to recent state legislation that prescribes funding for the removal of mesquites through the Arizona Water Protection Fund, LPSWA director Norm "Mick" Meader has developed and released a white paper that compares the relative water use of riparian mesquite woodlands and various other plants and crops.  A copy of this report can found at this link:

If you just want to read a short version of the article above, Mr. Meader has also developed a two-sided single-sheet information summary on this topic that was developed for distribution at conferences and community events.  This information brochure can be accessed at this link:

Summer Meeting of the LSPWA

posted Oct 15, 2009, 8:02 AM by Peter Else   [ updated Sep 30, 2014, 9:38 PM ]

On June 24th, 2014, the Lower San Pedro Watershed Alliance held its fourth general membership meeting at Central Arizona College, Aravaipa Campus.  The main agenda items at this meeting included the certification of our newly elected board of directors, a group discussion on our strategic planning effort, a review of the Oracle State Park Dark Skies initiative, a decision to pursue additional funding for our off-road vehicle and wildlife monitoring program, and election of our officers for the next term.  

For more details, go to this link:


Scenario Planning for Climate Change

posted Oct 15, 2009, 7:59 AM by Peter Else   [ updated Nov 12, 2013, 8:37 PM ]

Science in Decision-Making:   Holly Hartmann of the University of Arizona discusses how scenario planning for climate change can promote strategic thinking about the future.  This webinar was sponsored by the Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

YouTube Video

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