The Tonto NRCD is located in Gila County. The District is almost entirely rangeland ranging from desert shrub to pine forest, with large part of it in chaparral type vegetation.
Most of the land in the District and in Gila County is in federal ownership. The main land uses in the District are livestock grazing, wildlife habitat, and watershed. Outdoor recreation and hunting are important contributors to the local economy. Urban development has accelerated in recent years especially in the Payson area. Mining is an important land use in portions of the District.
Because of the dominance of federal lands, the opportunities for the District to provide assistance to landowners has been limited. The efforts of the District have mainly been directed toward educational programs to inform local residents, youth and others of the importance of ranching and agricultural and the value provided by good management to wildlife, watershed protection and the environment in general.
In recent years, there has been a change of policy to allow some NRCS programs to operate on Forest Service lands, which has provided more opportunity for the District to participate in rangeland improvements. The District has focused on pipelines, windmills, spring developments, solar pumping and fencing. District locally administered a grant offered to Arizona’s farmers and ranchers for conversion of fossil fuel agricultural production systems to renewable energy power. This program was made available in partnership with the AZ Dept. of Energy for the conversion of existing systems from gas, oil, diesel, and in some cases electric to the utilization of renewable energy available in the state and provided benefit in terms of energy savings, cost savings, better air quality and the creation of jobs in businesses related to the renewable energy and agricultural service industries.
Natural Resource education for local urban and rural land users is important to the District. The District has developed and Ag Awareness Program, Noxious Weed Program, Livestock Nutrition School and hosted Range Management and Monitoring Workshops.
200 W. Frontier St. Suite Q
Payson, AZ 85541