Pima County acquires 3,200 acres to protect wildlife

The Pima County board voted 3-2 to purchase the Tesoro Nueve Ranch in the San Pedro River watershed area.   File photo

Ensuring safe space for frogs, fish and others to flourish, the board of supervisors for Pima County recently voted to acquire over 3,200 acres of natural lands just to the east of the Catalina Mountains.

On June 19, the board voted 3-2 to purchase the Tesoro Nueve Ranch in the San Pedro River watershed area for the purpose of future wildlife conservation. The land sits amid properties tended by the county, its Regional Flood Control District, and the Coronado National Forest.

Going forward, the land will come under the county jurisdiction’s park system. Pima County’s Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Department will manage 1,476 acres of land and 1,807 acres of state grazing leases, described by officials as “an important riparian habitat” in a beneficial location to maintain the natural habitat for vulnerable and threatened wildlife.

“With this acquisition, the entire watershed of Buehman Canyon, an important Sky Island drainage, will be conservation status, protecting a major wildlife linkage to the San Pedro River and beyond,” Julia Fonseca, who serves as environmental planning manager with Pima County’s Office of Sustainability and Conservation, said.

Brian Powell, a second Sustainability and Conservation official, concurred, stating that “the property contains one of the most important springs in the Santa Catalina and Rincon mountains area, and that spring supports some of the largest populations of native fishes and frogs in our area.”

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