WASHINGTON, D.C.— At a ceremony in the nation’s capital today, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne recognized the Upper San Pedro Partnership of southeastern Arizona as one of 21 recipients nationwide of the Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award.
The 21 awards recognized the work of more than 700 groups and individuals who achieved excellence in conservation through collaboration and partnerships.
“These outstanding partnerships and cooperative efforts represent a fundamental way in which our Department provides stewardship for America with integrity and excellence,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “They embody a broad spectrum of conservation work from restoring wetlands, rangelands and mine lands to protecting wildlife, conserving water and fighting invasive species to teaching conservation values to the next generation.”
The Upper San Pedro Partnership award recognizes the outstanding collaborative efforts of a consortium of 21 federal, state, and local agencies and nongovernmental organizations to achieve a sustainable ground water supply for human use while at the same time protecting the highly valued riparian ecosystem along the San Pedro River. The Sierra Vista Subwatershed of the Upper San Pedro Ground-Water Basin is home both to the federally protected San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and a growing residential population. The combination of ground water withdrawals and natural outflow has exceeded natural recharge in the area for many years, resulting in local declines in water levels and losses from aquifer storage.
“The Upper San Pedro Partnership employs a collaborative, science-centered approach to decision-making,” the award noted. “The partnership’s diverse membership, including environmental groups, the development community, scientists, engineers, city officials, and policymakers, accounts for the consortium’s success in identifying key policy questions, crafting and implementing a science strategy to answer those questions, and communicating the science back to the policymakers.”
The Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award recognizes conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of individual landowners, citizen groups, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and Federal, State, local, and/or tribal governments.
“This is a fitting start to a week of Earth Day activities,” the Secretary told the crowd at the main Interior auditorium. “If anyone were to ask me why America is the world leader in conservation of natural resources, I would simply point to the people in this auditorium. You are the spirit and you are the hands of cooperative conservation.”
Upper San Pedro Partnership (Arizona) Members:
Arizona Association of Conservation Districts: Mary Ann Black
Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality: Mel Taylor
Arizona Dept. of Water Resources: Tom Whitmer
Arizona State Land Department: Catherine Balzano
Audubon Ariz: Tricia Gerrodette, Tice Supplee
Bella Vista Ranches: Judy Gignac
Bureau of Land Management: Bill Childress, David Croft, Nathan Dieterich, Daniel J. Moore and Bonnie Winslow
Bureau of Reclamation: Eve Halper, Eric Holler
Cochise County, Ariz: Patrick Call, Paul Newman, Mike Ortega, Carl Robie, Richard Searle
Hereford Natural Resources Conservation District: Mike Hayhurst
Huachuca City, Arizona: George Nerhan, Dave Perry
National Park Service: Kym Hall,
The Nature Conservancy: Jean Calhoun, Holly Richter
Sierra Vista, Arizona: Pat Bell, Carol Dockter, Mike Hemesath, Henrietta Huisking, Rick Mueller, Chuck Potucek, Robert B. Strain
Town of Bisbee, Arizona: Ken Budge, Maynard Kreps
Town of Tombstone, Arizona: George Barnes
U.S. Army, Fort Huachuca: Gretchen Kent, Tom Runyon, Melissa Sturgeon
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service: David C. Goodrich, Mark A. Nearing, Russell L. Scott
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Sherry Barrett, Jason Douglas
U.S. Forest Service: Dan Montez
U.S. Geological Survey: Mark T. Anderson, Bruce W. Gungle, John P. Hoffmann, James M. Leenhouts, Donald R. Pool