Gila Valley NRCD

Conservation Practices

  • Improved Irrigation Management

  • Fencing/Grazing Management

  • Brush Control / Management

  • Water Distribution

  • Noxious & Invasive Plant Control

  • Vegetative Filter Strip

  • Solar Powered Livestock Watering Systems

  • Coordinated Conservation Management Ranch Planning

  • Coordinated Conservation Partnership Imitative

  • CREIP-Solar Improvement Program

Primary Resource Concerns

  • Water Availability, Quantity, & Quality

  • Soil Erosion & Soil Quality

  • Livestock Production Limitations

  • Inefficient Energy Use

  • Degraded Plant Condition

  • Noxious & Invasive Plants

District Contact Information

Amy Herbert

amy.herbert@az.nacdnet.net

(928) 428-5537 ext. 3593

District Meeting information

Meetings are held bi-monthy on the first Monday of the month. Visit their Facebook page for more info.

About the District

The Gila Valley NRCD serves the counties of Graham and Greenlee, located in southeastern Arizona. The District’s most defining feature is the Gila River, which runs directly through the area creating a diversity of landscapes, including high mountain ranges and low desert plains. The diverse landscape and climate create the prime location for fish, plant and wildlife habitat along with abundant outdoor recrea- tional and tourism opportunities. Located in the Gila Valley NRCD are the Apache Sitgreaves and Coronado National Forests, Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, Dankworth Pond Outdoor Archeological Classroom, Roper Lake State Park, Natural Hot Springs, Mt. Graham International Observatory, Discovery Park, Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area, Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area, Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area, and Eagle Creek Bat Caves. A portion of the US Fish & Wildlife Mexican Grey Wolf Recovery Area is also located within the district.

The purpose of the Gila Valley NRCD is to provide local leadership and education to ensure the wise use and management of all natural resources within the District, and is responsible for developing comprehensive programs and plans that conserve and improve the quality of natural resources. 

Physical Features

  • Elevation: 2,700 ft. to 10,720 ft. at the top of Mt. Graham
  • Terrain: High mountain ranges, steep rugged canyons, low river valleys, and desert plains
  • Precipitation: Average of 9-14” annually, varying with elevation

Land Use/Ownership

The district encompasses about 498,111 acres:

  •  Federal: 333,734.37 acres
  •  State Trust: 104,603.31 acres
  •  Private: 59,773.32 acres

Board Members

  • Dean Lunt, Chairman
  • Scott Alder, Vice-Chairman
  • Dennis Lunt, Secretary
  • Larry Barney, Member
  • Ray Tyler, Member

District Highlights

The district has seen a lot of growth and development throughout the years, but agriculture remains the predominate land use. The majority of ranches in the Gila Valley district include private, state and federal owned land, making Coordinated Resource Management Plans essential. Recurrent drought continues to negatively impact feed and forage production, irrigation water supply, crop production, and soil quality. The recurrent drought conditions have also contributed to more frequent wildfires, which have caused severe flooding and erosion within the district.

Farmers in the district must rely on surface water for irrigating their crops. The Arizona Water Rights Settlement has had a huge impact on farming in the district. With strict water allocations, farmers must continually search for ways to produce crops with less water. Traditionally, surface flood or furrow irrigation systems have been used, but several farms in the district have installed drip irrigation systems for conservation and efficiency.

The majority of ranches in the district are operated using traditional ranching methods, but, there are a few that are trying to diversify, and are implementing more non-traditional practices. One ranch in the Gila Valley NRCD is focusing on both eco-tourism and sustainable ranching. They run Texas Longhorn Cattle because of their hardiness and ability to adapt to any area. They practice a continuous rotational grazing system and operate entirely on solar and wind powered energy. They are also known for their dude ranch vacations, teambuilding workshops, erosion control workshops, wilderness survival workshops, and cattle driving workshops.

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