Tribal Conservation Districts

Arizona is almost unique in having a large percentage of the state included with tribal lands. These lands are all included within natural resource conservation districts which are organized similarly to those on non-tribal lands. Some tribal lands are included within districts composed mainly of non-tribal lands).

Districts’ Highlights

Tribal districts have their own State association, and are funded by tribal funds. Otherwise their mission is similar to the other Districts and they also work cooperatively with the Natural Resource Conservation Service for technical assistance and cost sharing on conservation projects.

The tribal conservation districts in Arizona include: Tohono O’odham SWCD, San Carlos NRCD, White Mountain NRCD, Little Colorado SWCD, Navajo Mountain SWCD, Shiprock SWCD, Chinle SWCD, Fort Defiance SWCD, and Moenkopi NRCD. The Tohono O’odham is in southern Arizona, San Carlos and White Mountain are in central Arizona, and the rest are in northern Arizona, with some extending into New Mexico and Utah.

Lands included in these districts vary widely from hot desert shrub in the south to cold desert shrub, grasslands and woodlands in the north. Some areas reach into the high elevations of the White Moun- tains. However, most of the land is used for livestock production and wildlife. Limited areas of farming or forest production are also found. Administration of grazing also varies by area – grazing rights in some areas are allocated to individuals and in other areas to tribal managers or grazing committees within spe- cific areas.

The Districts on tribal lands help coordinate programs to provide assistance on a variety of projects. Ex- amples are wildlife friendly fencing, pasture rotation, improving livestock distribution, water develop- ments, solar water pumping facilities and other practices designed to improve range conditions and benefit wildlife and watershed protection.