The lands within the Apache NRCD range from some of the highest elevations in Arizona in the White Mountains down into the semi-arid grasslands in the northern portion of the District. It includes the headwaters of rivers flowing into the most important river systems in Arizona: the Little Colorado, Salt River, and San Francisco River.
Agriculture, mainly ranching, is an important industry in the District and neighboring areas. Most ranches operate on a mixture of private, State, BLM, Forest Service, and other land ownerships. Livestock are often grazed in the high mountains in the summer and on lower grasslands during the winter. Hunting, fishing, skiing, and other outdoor recreation are also major contributors to the local economy.
Because of the interdependence of land uses on different land ownerships, the District has put a high priority on its unique ability to coordinate various agencies and interest groups to benefit agricultural producers and the other citizens of the area. These efforts include such things as helping to develop Coordinated Resource Management Plans that help provide a unified approach to management, and improvement of ranch operations across ownership boundaries, and cooperative range and watershed monitoring efforts with the State Land Dept., Arizona Game and Fish, Fish and Wildlife Dept., U of A Extension Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. The District also provides coordination and educational efforts on noxious weeds, which must be addressed across ownerships.
In the summer of 2011, the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history, burned a significant portion of the area. The District was actively involved in helping solve two major problems associated with this fire. Because of the fire, thousands of elk were displaced from their normal range and often congregated on private lands and meadows at the lower elevation where they had significant impact on forage and hay produced for livestock on these lands. The District worked with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Society, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department to provide free hay worth $175,000 to landowners to offset these losses.
Another major concern due to the Wallow Fire was the threat of flooding and soil erosion on denuded watersheds. The District worked cooperatively with NRCS and Apache County to implement the Emergency Watershed Program. Thirteen projects were implemented to protect the communities of Greer, Eagar/Springerville, Alpine, Southfork, and Nutrioso. These measures will protect 322 people, 92 homes, and numerous roads and utilities. Projected costs are $656,000. The District also partnered with the Watershed Improvement Council to obtain a $250,000 grant for watershed conservation in the Coyote Creek Watershed.
The District also has an active Education Center, which provides conservation education opportunities in the area. Through this Center, the District has cooperated with the National Riparian Services Team, the University of Arizona Extension Service, and local ranchers on training programs for monitoring and management of riparian systems. The Center also provides scholarships for local students to further education and careers in agriculture/conservation fields.
(928) 333-4941 ext 3
P.O. Box 329
Spingerville, AZ 85938