After some 10 years we wrapped up our 8-year National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) funded Southeastern Arizona Grasslands Initiative on December 31st 2019. The final grant report and financial match audit were completed and submitted to the NFWF on May 29th, 2020 and accepted in full for final payment on June 24th. In the aggregate we spent a combined $1.741M of grant, habitat partnership, rancher, and volunteer match funds over the formal 8-year project life.
In brief AAF and partners accomplished the following between 2012 and 2019:
Pronghorn connectivity was improved on 191,800 acres in 6 herd zones through 27 fence projects, modifying 105 miles of fencing.
The majority of that work was accomplished by 769 volunteers who drove 185,517 miles and donated 13,270 hours of labor. University and high school students, as well as Boy Scouts participated in 14 of the fence modification projects.
Eleven grasslands projects completed in 4 herd zones restored 7,874 acres of grasslands through burning, mesquite grubbing, and herbicide spot treatments.
Thirteen water projects were completed to provide year-around water distribution and security in 4 herd zones.
Ninety-five (95) pronghorn were transplanted to supplement 6 subpopulations. The pronghorn population increased in those subpopulations by a minimum of 548 animals as of August 2019.
Met the minimum viable population objective of 125 animals in 3 of the 6 subpopulations.
A long-term GIS data base, including 658 total layers for each of the 6 herd zones, was established to monitor the pronghorn and habitat changes.
None of this would have been possible without the AAF Board, volunteers, ranchers, agencies, and dozens of cooperators.
We continue to carry this momentum forward with our project work and contributions to our partner organizations.