SDCP Accomplishments

The Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP) is Pima County's plan for balancing the conservation and protection of our cultural and natural resource heritage with our efforts to maintain an economically vigorous and fiscally responsible community.  The SDCP began in 1998 and was approved by the Pima County Board of Supervisors in 1999.  The timeline highlights some of the major accomplishments of the SDCP in past 14 years.
Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan TimelineClick on image to view full timeline


The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the concept plan for the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP).  Later in the year, the Board signed a resolution with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to uphold the Endangered Species Act through a Multi-Species Conservation Plan. 


In March of 1999, the Board directed that the planning process be accelerated to develop a regional conservation plan


The SDCP generated key information that contributed to the creation of two new Bureau of Land Management areas:  Ironwood National Monument and Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.  

In September, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.

The City/Council intergovernmental Agreement stipulated that up to 10,000 acre-feet of effluent known as the Conservation Effluent Pool shall be made available for riparian projects that are part of a habitat conservation plan or that are mutally greeed upon by the City and County. 

The Pima Invasive Species Council was formed in 2000 in response to growing concerns with invasive species issues.  


The environmentally sensitive roadway design provisions were developed in 2001 due to growing concerns from the community about potential conflict between preserving environmentally sensitive areas, transportation design and construction practices, and the ongoing need for infrastructure improvement. 

In September, the Board of Supervisors accepted a recommendation to develop a Sonoran Desert plant nursery

The Board adopted the Pima County Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update--integrated into the plan was the Conservation Lands System (CLS), which represents the biological reserve developed with more that 150 members of the science community after 3 years of study.


The Steering Committee was appointed by the Board in 1999, representing diverse viewpoints to advise the Board about reserve design and to continue to formulate alternatives for the Section 10 permet.  Their recommendations came out in 2003. 


Pima County acquired the 41,000-acre A-7 Ranch from the City of Tucson.  Since then, the County has purchased more than 50,000 acres associated with working ranches.  In 2004, votes approved the $164.3 million bond program for acquisition of open space in support of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.  Pima County has built a reserve system totaling over 230,000 acres, of which approximately 50,000 acres have been acquired with the 2004 Bond monies. 


The Conservation Lands System was updated June 21, 2005.  The update included the CLS conservation land categories, an associated conservation guideline policy, and map.  The CLS has since been renamed the Maeveen Marie Behan Conservation Lands System,in honor of Ms. Behan's contributions to the SDCP.

The Floodplain Management Ordinance was adopted with updated riparian classification maps. 


In May, voters approved a $2.1 billion transportation plan,which included $45 million for transportation related Critical Landscape Linkages


Pima County was awarded a $274,505 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the development of an ecological monitoring plan. 

The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan Water Resources Policy.  The amendment strengthened the water resource element regional plan policies, requiring staff to conduct water supply impact review of Comprehensive Plan amendments larger than 4-acres. 


Pima County acquired the parcels encompassing the western slope of Tumamoc Hill. 


After over a decade of planning and development, Pima County submitted a Section 10 Multi-Species Conservation Plan application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Pima County's MSCP is the part of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan the deals with endangered species compliance. 


The Pima County MSCP and its associated Draft Environmental Impact Statement were posted to the Federal Register by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


The 2004 Open Space Bond acquisitions are substantially complete. 


The County purchased Painted Hills and properties adjacent to Tortolita Mountain Park


U. S. Fish and Wildlife issues Section 10 permit to Pima County

Wildlife crossings completed over Oracle Road, linking to protected lands in Tortolita and Catalina foothillls. 

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Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan

201 N. Stone Ave., 6th FL
Tucson, AZ 85701

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