Conservation Science

Conservation Science


To provide leadership, guidance, and innovative science products to achieve consistent implementation of the County’s policies for the natural environment and to help ensure that the biological goal of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan is met.

Landscape Conservation

Landscape conservation is about taking the larger view of things. That is, stepping back and looking at directing conservation efforts on whole valleys instead of parcels, entire mountain ranges instead of individual hill tops.  The Conservation Science Division brings a variety of landscape conservation tools into use, from focusing conservation actions on protecting large, sprawling ranches to focusing on creating greater permeability among housing developments in which wildlife can move.  A key outcome of this approach is the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP), which has taken this big-picture view by implementing landscape-level conservation tools such as incorporating key biological information into the County's Comprehensive Land Use Plan in 2001, purchase and lease of over 150,000 acres of land that was approved by voters in 2004, and many other other accomplishments.  The Conservation Science Division is proud to contribute to the ongoing development of novel tools that advance the SDCP, such as the Conservation Effluent Pool.

Endangered and Threatened Species Protection

Pima County has some of the highest diversity of species anywhere in the United States and many of these species have been negatively impacted by human activities such as development, mining, and road building.  A number of species are listed as Threatened and Endangered and protecting habitat of these species in an increasingly urbanized and fragmented landscape is a key focus of the SDCP.  Also key to conservation of these species, while also enabling the growth of the human population, is the County's Multi-species Conservation Plan (MSCP).  The MSCP provides the County with a pathway for complying with the Endangered Species Act by allowing development activities to move forward, while also providing avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures that will contribute to species conservation.  The Conservation Science Division is the lead County entity overseeing the implementation of key aspects of the MSCP, including an interface with the development community to gain permit coverage, and implementation of the Pima County Ecological Monitoring Program, which monitors key resources, especially species and their habitats, on County mitigation lands.

We are dedicated to:

  • Refining departmental procedures, programs, and requirements to accomplish SDCP goals and maintain compliance with the Section 10 permit.
  • Monitoring and evaluating data about condition of ecosystems in Pima County, with particular emphasis on County-owned and managed lands. 
  • Overseeing implementation of the County’s Multi-Species Conservation Plan.
  • Reviewing state, federal, and large-scale private proposals that may potentially impact the natural and biological resources.
  • Integrating Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan goals and objectives with County planning efforts and procedural requirements.
  • Establishing parity between natural resource and biological conservation requirements applied to County operations and regulation of private entities. 
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Conservation Science

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

(520) 724-6940

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