Willcox-San Simon NRCD includes a very diverse landscape in southeastern Arizona ranging from desert shrubs at lower elevations in the valleys, to pine-oak forest at the tops of isolated mountain ranges. Most areas of the District is rangeland used for livestock grazing, wildlife habitat and watershed protection, while some land in the valley area is irrigated farming of pecans, wine grapes, and beans.
Because it has a higher proportion of private and state lands than some areas, the District has long devoted much of its effort to coordinating USDA cost haring programs for conservation practices on farms and ranches, most of which are aimed at private and State-leased lands. These practices include prescribed grazing, fencing, water developments for livestock and wildlife, brush control, reseeding, irrigation equipment and delivery systems to conserve water, and other similar types of projects.
The District also has a long history of promoting natural resource conservation through educational efforts. For example, it has sponsored an annual Range Field Day for the past 45 years where vocational ag students from nine high schools participate in various competitions. In addition, it sponsors the Willcox-San Simon Resource Center for Environmental Education, and awards scholarships for students majoring in natural resource related classes. Workshops are held periodically to promote the latest agricultural technology, well water information, and range management. An annual “outstanding stewardship” recognition program was started in 1971.
The Cottonwood Canyon Project is a cooperative effort of local landowners, the District, NRCS, Forest Service, and Arizona Water Protection Fund to improve watershed condition by slowing runoff and reducing erosion on 13 miles of Cottonwood Creek.
The Bonita Grassland Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) is a project to improve habitat on 107,000 acres of privately owned grassland for grassland wildlife, including several “declining species.” This is a cooperative program with local landowners , NRCS, Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish, and Arizona Antelope Foundation.
The Arizona-New Mexico Borderlands Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) is a implemented program to develop Coordinated Resource Management Plans (CRMPs) for ranches with diverse land ownerships, and to implement shrub control and other practices to improve watersheds and wildlife habitat.
The 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.
The e examples above are only a few of the District’s current or recent projects, but they illustrate the key role that districts can play in helping to coordinate conservation practices across various land ownerships, resource interests, and agency jurisdictions.
(520) 384-2229 Ext 123
656 N. Bisbee Ave
Willcox, AZ 85643-1437