President’s Investing in America agenda to invest $15.2 million in restoration work in Arizona

Published by The Bee News

June 1, 2023

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Phoenix, Arizona – As part of the President’s Investing in America agenda, the Bureau of Land Management will invest $15.2 million from the Inflation Reduction Act for the protection and conservation of wildlife habitats and recreation opportunities on public lands in Arizona. This funding will be focused in two landscape areas called Sky Islands and Yanawant Restoration Landscapes.

This funding is part of the BLM’s announcement to invest $161 million in ecosystem restoration and resilience on the nation’s public lands. The work will focus on 21 “Restoration Landscapes” across 11 western states, restoring wildlife habitat and clean water on public lands and strengthening communities and local economies.

These investments follow the release of the Department’s restoration and resilience framework to leverage historic investments in climate and conservation to achieve landscape-level outcomes across the nation. The Department is implementing more than $2 billion in investments to restore our nation’s lands and waters, which in turn is helping to meet the conservation goals set through the America the Beautiful initiative.

“This funding in Arizona will be integrated with ongoing efforts, and those of neighboring landowners and partners, to multiply BLM’s habitat restoration investments and to conduct cross-boundary landscape restoration work in these unique and important landscapes,” said BLM Arizona State Director Raymond Suazo. “These partnerships include work with the Fort Huachuca Sentential Landscape Partnership, Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Forest Service, and others.”

Often rising more than 6,000 feet above the desert floor, the mountainous Sky Islands Restoration Landscape supports levels of biodiversity rarely seen elsewhere in the West. This pocket of isolated mountains is home to a unique assemblage of over 30 federally listed species living in both desert and alpine ecosystems and contains critical wildlife migration corridors for species such as jaguar and ocelot. The landscape, also known for its vast heritage and recreational opportunities, is under threat from unprecedented drought and catastrophic wildfire. Restoration investments will reduce fuel loads, improve groundwater management in the San Pedro River drainage, protect critical wildlife migration corridors, and support recovery of threatened and endangered wildlife. Investments in fencing will also address the long-standing issue of cattle trespass into the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, helping to protect its critical desert riparian ecosystem.

The Yanawant landscape includes lands directly north of the Grand Canyon, rich with diverse habitat, from desert scrub to ponderosa forests. Restoration investments will build a more resilient landscape by restoring habitat for threatened and endangered species, improving drought resilience and ecosystem health, and reducing fuel loads and wildfire risk by removing noxious and invasive species and eliminating encroaching conifers. Restoring native grasses will create cover and connectivity for wildlife and stabilize soils, helping to improve and sustain the watershed’s overall function.

Efforts in these restoration landscapes will improve the health of public lands that are being significantly degraded by invasive species, unprecedented wildfire events, unregulated use, and climate change. With these investments, landscapes will be better able to provide clean water, habitat for fish and wildlife, opportunities for recreation, and will be more resilient to wildfire and drought.

  Resilient public lands are critical to the BLM’s ability to manage for multiple use and sustained yield. Once-in-a-generation funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will be directed to landscapes where concentrated, strategic investment through partnership can make the most difference for communities and public resources under the BLM’s management.

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, investing in nature-based solutions, and driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good paying jobs and building a clean energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient. The funding announced today complements the $7.7 million of funding these areas have received from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Learn more about the BLM’s restoration landscapes at BLM’s StoryMap.

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