Conservation Corner


Arizona Fires July 2020

It’s fire season in Arizona, and many of us are all too aware of the effects fire has on the land, private property, and human and animal life. But have you ever stopped to ask WHY fires in Arizona burn as often or as seemingly out of control in the summer as they do? Or how, when controlled, fire could actually be a good thing? “Arizona Fires” is a high-level, scientifically based white paper that looks at and gives readers an understanding of how vegetation and soils across the state are, and have been historically, impacted by fire. (And you don’t need a degree in rangeland or forestry to understand it; this writer can attest to that!) The big question, “what can be done?”, brings home the point of the paper. But don’t worry, we’re not left hanging, an opinion to a solution is offered.

Increasing Irrigation Efficiency August 2020

All Arizona residents are aware that water is a very precious commodity in the state. The water used for agriculture and other purposes comes from three main sources: the Colorado River (36%), Arizona River (e.g. Salt, Gila, Verde, etc. 21%), and ground water (40%). Agriculture uses about 74% of the water, with municipal uses at 21% and industrial uses 5%. Crop production in Arizona is almost totally dependent on irrigation since precipitation where topography and soils are suitable for farming is not sufficient to raised crops without it. Irrigated farming is an important contributor to Arizona’s economy, but because it also is a major user of water, it is important to implement practices that make irrigation as efficient as possible. Efficiency means to ensure that as much of the water as possible is used by the crops being raised and not lost to evaporation, seepage, weeds, or runoff. Increasing efficiency of irrigation use, as well as improved water conservation measures implemented in municipal and industrial uses, has resulted in an actual decline in the annual use of water in Arizona since 1980 despite a great increase in population.

Coming Soon! September 2020

Reference Materials

Guide to Rangeland Monitoring and Assessment Basic Concepts for Collecting, Interpreting, and Use of Rangeland Data for Management Planning and Decisions

Best Management Practices for Ranching in Sonoran Desert Tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) Habitat in Arizona Prepared by the Ranching and Sonoran Desert Tortoise Working Group