Cochise County encompasses 6200 square miles of the southeastern corner of the State and has jurisdiction over tax assessments, health and social services, solid waste, elections and floodplain issues throughout the County. It also has responsibility for highway improvements, law enforcement, and planning and zoning in the unincorporated areas. The overall goal of the County in its Comprehensive Plan is to promote growth in an orderly, harmonious, environmentally and economically responsible manner. With this comes the responsibility of planning in the context of the resources and assets on which the County’s residents depend – water being, perhaps, the most important of these. The Board of Supervisors has adopted, as a goal, that the County will “sustain an adequate, safe water supply through water conservation measures; incentive programs; education; conservation and enhancement of natural recharge areas; and cooperative, multi-jurisdictional planning.” Its efforts in the Upper San Pedro basin to attain this goal have included funding the Water Wise program, developing water-conserving site development standards for new commercial development, inventorying water resources, funding groundwater studies, and initiating joint planning with cities in the sub-watershed.
Natural Resource Conservation Districts (NRCDs) are political sub-divisions of the Arizona State Land Department and work cooperatively with landowners and state and federal governments for conservation of land and water resources. Conservation Districts create unique partnerships between federal, state and local agencies to address natural resource concerns, including watershed management, enhancement and restoration of riparian areas and integrated land use planning to improve water and air quality. Many districts have established education centers to promote a balanced appreciation and awareness of Arizona’s environment, and to provide unbiased “hands-on” programs addressing local environmental issues that are practical and relevant.
Sierra Vista is the largest of the seven incorporated cities in Cochise County and is a thriving community of approximately 43,000 people. Located 70 miles southeast of Tucson, Sierra Vista serves as the regional center for southeastern Arizona, providing employment, retail, education, healthcare, and entertainment opportunities to the surrounding area. Sierra Vista came into existence as a small civilian community that grew up around the gates of Fort Huachuca in the late 1800s. The City was incorporated in 1956 and with the annexation of Fort Huachuca in 1971, grew to encompass over 130 square miles. Sierra Vista is surrounded by the unique beauty of the Huachuca, Dragoon, and Mule Mountains, and is bordered on the east by the San Pedro River. Both Fort Huachuca and the San Pedro River help define life in Sierra Vista and the City government recognizes its role to help support Fort Huachuca and protect the San Pedro River. The City’s environmental programs include everything from public education and award-winning recycling and compost programs, to the area’s largest water reclamation project at the City’s Environmental Operations Park where over 2,000 acre-feet of effluent is recharged each year. Sierra Vista residents are proud of their community, its military heritage, and its enviable natural environment and climate. As the community continues to grow, the City government will continue to find new and innovative ways to protect the natural beauty of the area.
Bisbee was an important copper mining center until the mid-1960s. Since 1975, when mining operations ceased, the town has found a new identity as an artist colony and ecological and historical tourist attraction. The closing of active mining operations left the City with a major infrastructure crisis, mainly an aging wastewater collection and treatment system. For the subsequent 25 years the politics of Bisbee has been dominated by the struggle to find sufficient financing and planning to overhaul the entire system. The 1998-2000 City Council began this process, and the current City Council moved the City to an historic vote approving the borrowing of up to $24 million for the project. Funds for the work have been promised from the North American Development Bank and the Rural Development Authority of the Department of Agriculture in the form of grants ($12 million) and the rest in the form of low interest mostly loans from the State of Arizona. The project is expected to win final approval in mid-2003 with work beginning later that year. The current planning which has not been finally approved is to take the treated water from the new and combined treatment facility, to be located not far from Naco, Arizona, and use it as a water source for the local, 18 hole golf course, thus ending that facility’s use of water from the aquifer underneath the San Pedro valley.
Town of Huachuca City
Huachuca City is located just north of Sierra Vista. It was incorporated in 1958 and its economy is closely tied to that of Fort Huachuca, for which it serves as a “bedroom community.” Economic activities in the city include retail trade, retirement accommodations, and product distribution. According to the Cochise County Water Resources Inventory prepared by Engineering and Environmental Consultants, Inc., the daily average effluent volume from Huachuca City is 100,000 gallons as compared to 1,000,000 from Fort Huachuca.
Tombstone has a population of about 1,600 permanent residents and tourism is the primary economic activity of the town, though some residents are employed in Sierra Vista and other neighboring cities. The city is served by a Public Works department that provides water, sewer, sanitation, and the maintenance of public facilities.
The mission of the Arizona Department of Land is to manage State Trust lands and resources to enhance value and optimize economic return for the Trust beneficiaries, consistent with sound stewardship, conservation, and business management principles and to manage and support resource conservation programs for the well being of the public and the State’s natural environment. State Trust Land is distinguished from the public land such as parks or national forests because all uses of the land must benefit the fourteen trust beneficiaries. Congress, in granting the State Trust Land, recognized the value of the land and the importance of providing support to the public schools and public institutions. The Common Schools (K-12) are the largest beneficiary, owning approximately 87% of the land and receiving close to 90% of the revenue. Other beneficiaries include the University of Arizona, military institutes, the School of Mines, and the School for the Deaf and Blind.
The agency’s Water Quality Division is responsible for the carrying out the mandates of the Arizona Environmental Quality Act (EQA) and the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). These regulations require the State to establish water quality standards for aquifers and surface waters, conduct water quality monitoring and assessments, develop total maximum daily load studies on impaired waterbodies and to develop watershed plans, with local stakeholders, aimed at improving water quality through both permitted and voluntary programs. The Division’s compliance section provides technical assistance, conduct inspections of both wastewater and drinking water facilities and permit compliance oversight to ensure proper discharge, disposal and/or reuse of wastewater and to ensure the safe provision of drinking water.
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Fort Huachuca was established in 1877 as a cavalry post. A new era began for the fort in 1954, as control passed to the Army’s Chief Signal Officer, who found the area and climate ideal for testing electronic and communications equipment. The importance of the fort in the national defense has grown steadily from that time. Today, Fort Huachuca is a major military installation in Arizona, hosting large organizations, The US Army Intelligence Center and the Network Enterprise Technology Command, and several other significant electronics testing organizations. The fort has been a local leader in water initiatives, through a program of conservation and effluent re-use. Fort efforts have resulted in a 35 percent reduction in water consumption on post between 1990 and 2000, according to statistics reported in the Cochise County Water Resources Inventory prepared by Engineering and Environmental Consultants, Inc. Fort Huachuca was also commended for its water reduction efforts in a biological opinion prepared by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing 262 million acres of land–about one-eighth of the land in the United States–and about 300 million additional acres of subsurface mineral resources. The Bureau is also responsible for wildfire management and suppression on 388 million acres. Most of the lands the BLM manages are located in the western United States, including Alaska, and are dominated by extensive grasslands, forests, high mountains, arctic tundra, and deserts. The BLM manages a wide variety of resources and uses, including energy and minerals; timber; forage; wild horse and burro populations; fish and wildlife habitat; wilderness areas; archaeological, paleontological, and historical sites; and other natural heritage values.
Reclamation is best known for the dams, power plants, and canals it constructed in the 17 western states. Today, our mission is to assist in meeting increasing water demands while protecting the environment and the public’s investment. We place great emphasis on developing partnerships with our customers, states, and Indian Tribes in order to help accomplish our mission. Reclamation is a contemporary water management agency with extensive engineering experience and skills including hydrology, environmental analysis, water quality, water treatment, water conservation, water reuse, construction and water resource management.
Created by an act of Congress in 1879, the USGS stands as the sole science agency for the Department of the Interior. The USGS serves the Nation as an independent fact-finding agency that collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems. The diversity of scientific expertise enables the USGS to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations that build the base of knowledge about the Earth. The diversity of scientific issues that demand attention has prompted the USGS to focus its efforts into four major areas: natural hazards, resources, the environment, and information and data management. A team of USGS scientists is conducting hydrogeologic studies in the upper San Pedro basin to provide the scientific knowledge needed to ensure that water-resource plans are conducive to the sustainability of the resource.
USDA Agricultural Research Service
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the principal in-house research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). ARS is charged with extending the Nation’s scientific knowledge across a broad range of program areas that affect the American people on a daily basis. The Southwest Watershed Research Center’s mission is to understand and model the effects of changing climate, land use, and management practices on the hydrologic cycle, soil erosion processes, watershed resources; develop remote sensing and geospatial analysis tools; develop prototype decision support systems for natural resource management; and, develop new technology to assess and predict the condition and sustainability of rangeland watersheds. Research is conducted to extend scientific findings beyond gauged experimental watersheds and to facilitate technology transfer of research data, interpretations, natural resource models, and decision support systems.
The National Park Service was created in 1916 “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” The national park system comprises 384 sites as diverse and far-flung as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Statue of Liberty National Monument. The Park Service supports the preservation of natural and historic places and promotes outdoor recreation outside the system through a range of grant and technical assistance programs. Major emphasis is placed on cooperation and partnerships with other government bodies, foundations, corporations, and other private parties to protect the parks and other significant properties and advance Park Service programs.
The mission of Audubon Arizona is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. Within the Sierra Vista Subwatershed of the San Pedro River are the 8,000 acre Audubon Research Ranch, dedicated to land conservation, research, and environmental advocacy, and the Huachuca Audubon Society, dedicated to protecting ecosystems for birds and other wildlife and to protecting the future of the San Pedro River.
The Friends of the San Pedro River (FSPR), founded in 1987, is a volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the river through advocacy, education, and interpretation. FSPR coordinates its activities with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the land manager of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) and the National Conservation Lands. The FSPR operates two bookstores and hold annual festivals, while its docents lead guided interpretive walks and hikes along the river and present educational programs to school and community groups. FSPR also publishes a quarterly newsletter. For further information including upcoming events, see the FSPR website at www.sanpedroriver.org. To contact the Friends, call (520) 459-2555, or write to the Friends of the San Pedro River, 4070 E Avenida Saracino, Hereford, AZ 85615, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy is a private, nonprofit, conservation organization. Its mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. The Conservancy is science-based, and collaborative. Through private action, and in cooperation with communities, businesses, agencies, and other conservation partners it has protected more than 1 million acres of critical natural lands within Arizona, and 92 million acres around the world. To learn more about the Conservancy’s efforts within Arizona, and to tour their San Pedro River website visit: nature.org/arizona.
Southeast AZ Association of Realtors
Founded in 1971, the Southeast Arizona Association of REALTORS® Inc. represents approximately 220 REALTORS® in the Southeast Arizona area.The Mission of the Southeast Arizona Association of Realtors® is to work together to provide vision, guidance, education, services and products to our Realtor® members and Affiliates; to abide by the Realtor® Code of Ethics; to encourage members to actively serve their communities; and to protect and promote private property rights.