November 7, 2019 University of Arizona
Article by Glen Dickens
The first Southwestern Grassland Research and Management Workshop was held at an all-day session on Thursday November 7th, at the University of Arizona and included over 100 participants. The workshop was organized by the Arizona Cross-Watershed Network, with support from UA Cooperative Extension, US Fish and Wildlife Service, AZ Department of Forestry and Fire Management, AZ Game and Fish Department, and Pima County.
The workshop included expert presentations on the “state of the practice” of grassland restoration; Lightning talks by restoration practitioners including non-profit organizations, private landowners, and state and federal wildlife and land managers; Lightning talks by researchers on low cost emerging technologies in restoration; Break-out discussions to identify opportunities to address pressing grassland restoration challenges and large-group discussions on emerging opportunities for scaling up grassland restoration. These were all excellent and attendees participated vigorously in the breakout sessions.
Southeast Arizona AAF Field Manager John Millican, VP/Grants/Projects Manager Glen Dickens and Betty Dickens, AAF attended on behalf of the AAF. Glen presented the first lighting round expert presentation power point with a focus on the grassland restoration efforts on the Bonita pronghorn herd zone, where from 2010-2018 a total of $1.564M has been spent on mesquite removal at an average cost range of $220-$300 per acre. Cultural clearances averaged $233 per acre. He highlighted that our “Arizona Antelope Foundations Southeastern Arizona’s Grasslands Initiative” grants 8-year target was 5,000 acres of grassland restored and that at our grants end in 2019 we have restored some 6,750 acres. He also highlighted the value of our volunteer hours and mileage completing 16 fence projects in 8-years with a value of over $250K in grant match.
The audience applauded our efforts and as a wildlife conservation NGO the AAF has much to be proud of! We are now counted as valued contributing conservation partners in every circle in southeast Arizona where pronghorn occur.