Who We Are
The 1.3 million acre lower San Pedro watershed supports the last remaining natural desert river ecosystem in southern Arizona. Significant investments have been made by native cultures and contemporary groups to protect this vitally important conservation corridor.
The Lower San Pedro Watershed Alliance was established as a non-profit corporation in Arizona on June 21, 2013. The Alliance is a tax-exempt organization under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRS). Contributions to the Alliance are deductible under section 170 of the IRS code.
The need for the Alliance was recognized late in 2007 during the process of considering a proposal to build a freeway bypass for Interstate 10 through one of two routes in the lower San Pedro watershed. At that time, the only organized resistance to the freeway proposal took place at the community level, and not with a watershed-wide approach. It became apparent that a freeway in one part of this important conservation corridor would eventually affect traffic and development pressure throughout the corridor.
The next proposal for major infrastructure construction in the watershed was the SunZia transmission project, an industrial scale extra-high voltage electrical transmission corridor. During this process, the community-based groups in Cascabel and Aravaipa worked closely together to resist the proposal. In November of 2012, representatives from the two communities came together to discuss organizing at the watershed level in order to educate the general public about the ecological importance of the lower San Pedro, promote broad-based collaboration on conservation initiatives, and work to protect the integrity of the river ecosystem in the long term. Through the next several months, a mission statement was developed, 70 local landowners expressed interest, and our first official meeting took place on March 9th of 2013.
We now have 94 participating landowners (70 total parcels), representing 9100 acres of privately-held land and 71,375 acres of grazing lease lands in the lower San Pedro watershed. Additionally, we have over 100 supporting members, including individual citizens, representatives from conservation groups, researchers/academics, film experts, and representatives from the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S Bureau of Reclamation.
Participation in the LSPWA does not involve paying a membership fee. The only requirement for participation is agreement with our mission. (see mission statement). The bylaws are available at this link.
Our current board of directors will hold office until June 21, 2020 (two-year term). These directors are all volunteers who have a long history of conservation activism:
Lon Brehmer, a landscape and insect photographer who lives north of Redington
Barbara Clark, a pottery artist, community activist, and citizen scientist who has lived in Cascabel since 1970, recently retired from The Nature Conservancy.
Matt Clark, a professional conservation scientist and consultant with wildlife and natural resource management expertise, based in Tucson
Peter Else (chair), an administrator who lives on the River north of Mammoth
Bob Evans, a bird survey expert who resides in Cascabel
Cathy Gorman (treasurer), a community activist from Aravaipa Canyon
H. Leslie Hall, (secretary), an attorney and landowner at a 3-Links Farm conservation property near Cascabel
Anna Lands, a communication facilitator working and residing in the Cascabel community
Diane Laush, a biologist with extensive experience in agency work, living in Tempe
David Omick (vice-chair), sustainable systems expert and outdoor adventurer based in Cascabel
Elna Otter, an engineer who has turned her focus toward climate change and other major conservation issues, living in Cascabel
Scott Wilbor, a professional conservation biologist based in Tucson, with expertise in wildlife connectivity and landscape scale ecology
Our most recent version of our strategic plan is in the file below: