Grassland Restoration Project

Partnerships for Conservation Districts

Getting conservation on the ground through productive partnerships
To have a more significant impact on the conservation of soil and water resources in the State of Arizona and the surrounding region, it is imperative to look at natural resource issues on a landscape scale.

Conservation partnerships
The Districts provide a valuable resource to other government agencies and private conservation groups through their established and proven record of credibility and trust with private landowners.

This relationship, along with their firsthand knowledge of the local lands and water, enables them to initiate and expand meaningful participation and successfully carry out voluntary programs with a diverse group of entities.

Partnership programs combine the efforts and funding of multiple participants to address resource concerns that go beyond fence lines and allow funding to go further and treat more acres.

Courtesy of Apache NRCD

Conservation Districts and Partnership Programs The Healthy Lands Initiative (HLI)

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) nationally launched the HLI program in 2007 to accelerate land restoration, increase productivity, and improve the health of public lands in the Western United States. Through this initiative, the AACD collaborated with the BLM through two different programs: the Healthy Lands Partnership and the Arizona Landscapes Enhancement Collaborative. 

Grassland restoration activities on CO Bar Ranch in the Coconino NRCD
Grassland restoration activities, PC: CO Bar Ranch & Coconino NRCD

The Healthy Landscapes Partnership (HLP) Program

HLP in Arizona is a dynamic, collaborative, long-term landscape-scale, and interdisciplinary effort designed to obtain specific objectives. The primary objectives include, but are not limited to, decreasing or eliminating invasive plant species, limiting shrub encroachment within native grasslands, decreasing habitat fragmentation, improving water quality and quantity, managing altered fire regimes and fuel loads.

Since 2010, the AACD has been engaged in a Cooperative Agreement with the BLM to administer the HLP in the state of Arizona. In 2010 to 2015, the AACD was awarded $2.5 million over a 5-year period and has incorporated various partnership funding and in-kind service opportunities.

Public land users, conservation and sportsman groups, state resource agencies, and agricultural interests have supported these collaborative conservation and restoration efforts.

By administering this program through the AACD and the local conservation and restoration efforts have been successfully applied at a landscape-level scale voluntarily for willing participants.

To learn more about the HLP, click here.

Arizona Landscapes Enhancement Collaborative (ALEC)

The AACD, in partnership with the BLM, has completed a five-year project (2015-2020) to decrease and/or eliminate invasive plant species, limit shrub encroachment within native grasslands, decrease habitat fragmentation, manage altered fire regimes and fuel loads, and improve water quality and quantity. These efforts were supported by public land users, conservation and sportsman groups, State resource agencies, and agricultural interests.

Through this collaborative agreement, the AACD and BLM, completed:

  • 21,527 acres of invasive brush removal and support practices (e.g. fencing, water improvements, grazing management) in order to support grassland restoration, fuels reduction, invasive species control, wildlife habitat improvement, and wildlife connectivity improvement
  • 22,505 acres of pre-treatment monitoring (provides a measure of objectives achievement)
  • 43,007 tons of biomass removal and used as renewable energy
  • 21 Conservation Plans completed for improved land management, watersheds, and wildlife habitat
  • 14 Cultural Surveys completed to meet federal and state requirements to implement conservation practices
  • Archeology Programmatic Agreement with the BLM & SHPO

To read more about ALEC, click here

Courtesy of Coconino NRCD
Courtesy of Coconino NRCD