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The Aravaipa Watershed Conservation Alliance is a 501c3, recently created by a group of conservation minded ranchers to restore watershed and rangeland above the Aravaipa BLM wilderness area and the Aravaipa Preserve of The Nature Conservancy. The watershed is part of the US Fish & Wildlife Services Mogollon Emphasis Area for the protection of native fishes.   All work to restore and enhance this watershed will be an important collaboration with ranchers and scientists to find solutions to sediments and protect and enhance water levels in the Aravaipa. The group’s location is in Southeast Arizona, in Graham County, and although there is no longer an established town within the group’s operating area, the historic mining towns of Aravaipa and Klondyke were located in the watershed. The history of this landscape is an important part of the puzzle for it’s restoration. Using local knowledge and hands on tours will be as important as modern technology in finding solutions in this one of a kind watershed.

The boundary of the working area of the watershed is 320,684 acres, but the ranch boundaries associated with the group’s goals extend that acreage to 381,272 acres. The land ownership is a combination of private lands, BLM, Arizona State Trust Lands and US Forest Service lands which include both the Galiuro and Santa Teresa Wilderness areas. The AWCA believes the best method for public conservation lies within the private sector since only the working ranches can coordinate plans that unite the entire landscape.

Open space ranching is a critical component of the AWCA’s work. We believe in the importance of sustainable agriculture as the only method to enhance wildlife and restore native plants while still assuring a valuable product for generations to come. The AWCA’s goal is not only to prevent further fragmentation of the open spaces, but to find partners to create a method to regain lands in danger of fragmentation and not only protect them, but regenerate and stabilize those lands for the sediment and stabilization of the entire watershed.