Conservation Action Alerts
Villages at Vigneto
October 2017 UPDATE: Public comments needed on the re-evaluation of Villages at Vigneto’s Clean Water 404 permit. Ask the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke permit # 2003-00826-SDM by December 4 using our Petition page.
LATEST UPDATE: Extensive efforts by Tucson Audubon and our partners resulted in the Army Corps of Engineers suspending the proposed Villages at Vigneto’s inadequate, outdated 2006 Clean Water Act 404 Permit in July 2016. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now seeking Public Comments to determine whether to revoke, modify or reinstate the Villages at Vigneto’s outdated 2006 permit.
Originally proposed in 2003 as Whetstone Ranch on 8200 acres, Villages at Vigneto would fragment 12,817 acres (almost 20 square miles) of high desert grasslands and inter-braided washes southwest of Benson, AZ, current population 5,100. El Dorado Benson LLC proposes 29,400 new homes, golf courses, artificial lakes, Italianate non-native vegetation, shopping and recreation centers, and is intended to attract up to 70,000 new residents with a Tuscany in the desert theme. This population explosion would dramatically impact the environment surrounding Benson and significantly alter the San Pedro River watershed.
- Read full October 16 Action Alert: Comments needed for Villages at Vigneto’s Clean Water Permit by Dec. 4
- Read and use our sample letter
- Download the Army Corp of Engineers Public Notice (October 6, 2017)
- Read Tucson Audubon’s Past Action Alert
- Tucson Audubon’s Position Statement
- Talking Points
- Executive Summary
- Tucson Audubon comments on Master Plan (Jan. 29, 2016)
- Letter to the Amry Corps of Engineers from US Fish & Wildlife Service (July 14, 2015)
- Letter to City of Benson from AZ Game & Fish (October 30, 2015)
- Tucson Audubon letter to the Army Corps of Engineers (May 19, 2015); Response from Army Corps (July 14, 2015)
- Tucson Audubon press release (June 8, 2015)
- Media coverage
The SunZia Southwest Transmission project proposes two new parallel 500 kV transmission lines across 515 miles from Lincoln County, New Mexico, to Pinal County, Arizona. In Arizona, SunZia would cross the San Pedro River near Benson and then head north, opening up an entirely new 30-mile-long infrastructure corridor on the west side of the river valley. This would adversely impact mitigation lands protected by Pima County as part of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. Tucson Audubon is opposed to SunZia because our research indicates there is not a demonstrated need for it, and the negative impacts to important conservation lands and bird life far outweigh the project’s purported benefits.
Image by Armin van Buuren
Tell the City of Tucson to Ban the Use of Neonicotinoids – Insecticides that Threaten Bees, Birds and Biodiversity
Neonicotinoids (“neonics”) are nicotine-like insecticides that are contributing to the very alarming global decline of bees and other wildlife. Bees are a key pollinator for flowering plants and are essential for the propagation of many agricultural crops. These harmful chemicals persist in the environment for months to years, and pose a serious threat to birds, butterflies, aquatic species and other non-target species.
Image by Anne reeves.
- See Tucson Audubon’s letter to the Tucson City Council regarding Neonics (Aug 18, 2014)
- Read the full Alert and TAKE ACTION
Tell Southline to Steer Clear of Sensitive Wildlife Habitats Like the Willcox Playa/Cochise Lakes Globally Important Bird Area
Southline Transmission, LLC, proposes to construct, operate, and maintain a high-voltage power line in two segments totaling approximately 360 miles – spanning federal, state and private lands. Southline would provide capacity for an additional 1,000 megawatts of electricity. Unfortunately, the route the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has chosen as the “preferred alternative” in the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement would negatively impact numerous sensitive wildlife habitats, including the Willcox Playa Globally Important Bird Area. Tucson Audubon is encouraging the BLM and the project proponents to consider alternatives that would avoid and minimize negative impacts to sensitive wildlife habitats. Image by Lois Manowitz.
Prevent Potentially Disastrous Mining Proposals in the Patagonia Mountains Important Bird Area by Supporting Legislation to Modernize Mining Laws
The Patagonia Mountains are a beautiful “sky island” mountain range located just north of the U.S.-Mexico border in southeast Arizona, just outside of the small town of Patagonia. The majority of this mountain range is publicly owned land, managed in trust by the Coronado National Forest. The Patagonia Mountains harbor impressive endemic biological diversity – and are a birding hotspot that is a major economic draw to the area. Both the ecology and economy of the area are threatened by a number of large-scale mineral mining proposals from foreign-owned companies. Efforts to stop these disastrous proposals from becoming a reality are hampered by the antiquated Mining Act of 1872. Legislative attempts to reform and modernize this law have been obstructed by powerful pro-mining lobbies. New legislation has been introduced that would better address the environmental and societal impacts caused by modern mining operations. Image by G.E. Goodwin.