San Pedro Riparian
National Conservation Area
Planning Effort

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation AreaThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tucson Field Office is developing a new Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) in southeastern Arizona.  

The planning area includes the entire conservation area, an expanse covering nearly 57,000 acres (approximately 90 square miles). The area was given formal protection in 1988 when it was designated by the United States Congress as the nation’s first Riparian National Conservation Area. It is now a key component of BLM’s National Conservation Lands, a system of conserved public lands spanning 30 million acres nationwide.

San Pedro RNCA Planning

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The RMP will guide management of the SPRNCA for the next 15 to 20 years. As the comprehensive guiding document for all management activities within the conservation area, the RMP is a crucial component of BLM’s land stewardship program.

The BLM recognizes the value of this irreplaceable resource and invites the public to participate in the planning process.  Opportunities for involvement such as public information meetings formal scoping meeting are posted under How To Get Involved (hyperlink).

Detailed information about the planning effort – including maps, results of previous public outreach, supporting documentation and more - can be found on BLM’s ePlanning site.

Planning Area

(see Map)

The SPRNCA was established to “conserve, protect and enhance the riparian area and the aquatic, wildlife, archaeological, paleontological, scientific, cultural, educational, and recreational resources of the conservation area.”(Public Law 100 – 969) 

The entirety of the SPRNCA is located within Cochise County, Arizona. It contains 44 miles of the Upper San Pedro River as it flows north from the United States/Mexico border to the St David Cienega near Benson.

A nationally significant riparian area, the San Pedro River flows through the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts.  This ribbon of green, composed of riparian habitat and surrounding grasslands, provides an important migratory bird corridor and high quality habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species. More than 400 species of breeding birds and 240 species of Neotropical migrant and wintering birds depend on this invaluable habitat, leading to the river’s recognition as the nation’s first Globally Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society in 1995.

Historically, the river’s stretch is also home to more than species of mammals 14 species of fish and 50 species of reptiles and amphibians. This diversity of wildlife presents an incredible watchable wildlife viewing area.

The San Pedro River also contains a rich legacy of human occupation reaching back 13,000 years. Two cultural sites, the Murray Springs Clovis Site and Lehner Mammoth-Kill Site, have been designated as National Historic Landmarks. . The Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate is the ruins of a Spanish fortress that was occupied between 1776 and 1780 before it was abandoned.  Numerous mining towns and mills along the San Pedro River represent the heyday of silver mining in the Southwest.

The Planning Process

The BLM Tucson Field Office’s planning effort is guided by the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) of 1969 and BLM policy.  Decisions contained in the RMP establish goals and objectives for resource management, the measures needed to achieve these goals and objectives, and parameters for using BLM-managed lands. They identify lands that are open or available for certain uses, including any applicable restrictions, and lands that are closed to certain uses. RMP decisions are made on a broad scale and guide subsequent site-specific day-to-day decisions.

Due to this comprehensive scope, an RMP effort typically takes several years and incorporates the following phases:

  • Formal scoping (completed 2014)
  • Draft RMP/Environmental Impact Statement (in progress)
  • Proposed RMP/Final EIS (scheduled 2015)
  •  Record of Decision for the Final RMP/EIS.

BLM Planning Team Leader: David McIntyre   520 258 7259

  Tucson Field Office
3201 E. Universal Way
Tucson, AZ 85756
Phone: (520) 258-7200
Fax: (520) 258-7238
Field Manager:   Melissa Warren
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., M-F