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Active Management Area Environmental Conditions - Arizona Water Protection Fund and Instream Flow Claims

Arizona Water Protection Fund Programs

The objective of the Arizona Water Protection Fund (AWPF) program is to provide grants for the protection and restoration of Arizona’s rivers and streams and associated riparian habitats.  Thirty-nine restoration projects in the AMA Planning Area had been funded by the AWPF through FY 2008.  Six projects were funded in the Phoenix AMA for wetland construction, exotic species control, revegetation and general research.  One habitat protection project was funded in the Pinal AMA. Seven grants in the Prescott AMA funded feasibility studies, general research and stream restoration. In the Tucson AMA nineteen projects, including general research, habitat restoration and exotic species control, were funded.  Finally, six research, revegetation and habitat protection projects were funded in the Santa Cruz AMA. A list of AWPF projects and project types funded in the AMA Planning Area through 2008 is found in Appendix A.  A description of the program, a complete listing of all projects funded, and a reference map can be found here.

Instream Flow Claims

An instream flow water right is a non-diversionary appropriation of surface water for recreation and wildlife use. Fifteen applications for instream flow claims have been filed in the AMA Planning Area.  The applications are listed in Table 8.0-1 and locations are shown on Figure 8.0-13.  Applications have been filed in three of the five AMAs, including Phoenix, Tucson and Santa Cruz; and seven certificates have been issued, six in the Phoenix AMA and one in the Tucson AMA. Certificates have been issued for claims on Arnett Creek, Camp Creek, Cave Creek, Cienega Creek, Hassayampa River, Seven Springs Wash and Sycamore Creek. Applications are pending for reaches of Cave Creek, Queen Creek Wash, Rincon Creek, Sabino Creek and Sonoita Creek.

Click to view Figure 8.0-12

Threatened and Endangered Species

Several listed threatened and endangered species may be present in the AMA Planning Area. Those listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as of January 2008 are shown in Table 8.0-2.2 Presence of a listed species may be a critical consideration in water resource management and supply development in a particular area.  The USFWS should be contacted for details regarding the Endangered Species Act (ESA), designated critical habitat, and current listings. 

As shown on Table 8.0-2 the number and type of endangered or threatened species vary by AMA, with only one in the Prescott AMA and 13 in the Tucson AMA.  Habitat encroachment by development and growth in the Tucson AMA, primarily in Pima County, required Pima County to develop a Multiple-Species Conservation Plan (MSCP).  No such plans affect the other AMAs.

The Pima County MSCP was created to comply with the “take” provisions of the ESA.3 Incidental take of a listed species, as the result of carrying out an otherwise lawful activity, is not allowed without a permit from the USFWS.4 The final Pima County MSCP was released in December 2009 and was submitted to the USFWS for a 30-year Section 10 permit.  The permit will provide mitigation to impacts on 49 species and approximately 36,000 acres. For the 36,000 impacted acres, Pima County proposes to acquire and protect about 125,000 acres of land by the end of the permit period.  By 2009, the county had acquired over 71,000 acres of fee lands and was managing over 130,000 acres of State Trust Lands. (Pima County, 2009a)

The Pima County MSCP is part of a larger planning effort known as the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP), which covers 5.9 million acres in Pima County and is focused on six elements: habitat, corridors, cultural resources, mountain parks, ranch conservation and riparian protection.  The SDCP planning process began in 1998 as a way to create a science-based conservation plan, update the county’s comprehensive land use plan, and comply with the ESA. The plan directs growth to areas with the least natural, historic, and cultural resource values as well as sets aside sensitive habitat through land acquisitions. (Pima County, 2009b)


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