The Aravaipa Watershed Conservation Alliance is located in Southeast Arizona in the lower portion of Graham County. A quote by author Heidi J Osselaer from her book Arizona's Deadliest Gunfight says it best, "It is hard to imagine a place more removed from civilization than Aravaipa Canyon. Located fifty miles northeast of Tucson, the region, generally referred to simply as Aravaipa, contains not only the canyon itself but nine side canyons, and their surrounding tablelands, situated on 540 square miles of rugged terrain. Mountains ranges, including the Santa Teresas, Pinalenos, and Galiuros, sport elevations ranging from 4,500 to 10,700 feet."
As a group of working ranchers it has taken time and perseverance to get started. Creating bylaws, starting webpages and social media, organizing email, accounting and setting up meetings around regular chores has been a challenge but these simple goals are near completion and we are ready to begin serious discussion with working partners. We've missed several grants that might have assisted us in these goals, but we've learned a lot on the process. We are all trying new things and building our knowledge as we go.
The AWCA has a long list of goals, and our number one objective will be to build partners interested in achieving them. We have been working towards both a Watershed Plan and an Implementation Plan as part of the process of putting together a Regional Conservation Partnership Program and building a pathway to productive grants for the watershed. We have access to a WSM Watershed Modeling Program and are currenting in the process of collect LIDAR for good baseline imagery.
The Aravaipa Watershed Conservation Alliance has partnered with the US Bureau of Reclamation on a watershed management plan for the upper Aravaipa watershed,The USBR began working with the AWCA in early 2020. In July of 2020 the USBR Phoenix Area Office received funding for WaterSMART Applied Science Tools project. The Enhancement of LIDAR and PRECIPITATION & Soils Monitoring in the Aravaipa Watershed will be implemented over two years and include soil monitoring, weather tracking and LIDAR (light detection and ranging) data which will be incorporated within a comprehensive watershed management plan. This plan will identify specific watershed improvement projects to be implemented by the partnership.
"We need to protect the land, water, wildlife, sustainable agriculture and part of that is gathering scientific data to assist in making sound decisions.This project is truly the best foundation the AWCA could ask for to start moving forward." says Matt Magoffin, president of the AWCA.