“At 10 a.m. Luke Cole, the Sonoran Institute’s director for resilient communities and watersheds, stands atop the ramp that leads down to the Santa Cruz River. Cole looks like the intrepid wildlife explorers you would imagine as a child…”
In a different time, with a different cast of characters, the fairgrounds could easily have turned into a battleground. Instead, this 1995 meeting proved to be the beginning of one of the most successful and enduring collaborative conservation efforts in the nation.
“For me, one of the coolest parts about the project is that we’re creating something beautiful.” —Allie Silber, teacher at Tucson’s Sky Islands High School Water is the Southwest’s most precious resource, but… MORE ›
“Our beloved colleague,” is what her Sonoran Institute Colorado River Delta Program co-workers call her, and after getting to know Celedonia (Celia) Alvarado Camacho and her story, it’s easy to see why. Orphaned… MORE ›
“We will be able to take what we have learned in Laguna Grande and apply it on a larger scale, throughout the entire river corridor and beyond.” —Karen Schlatter, associate director of the… MORE ›
It was the environmental community’s dream—and its nightmare. Large-scale clean energy production in the West was finally feasible, but the sudden interest in developing it threatened millions of acres of unspoiled vistas, wildlife corridors, and habitat on public lands across the region.
The federally endangered Gila topminnow had not been seen in its native habitat, the Santa Cruz River, for more than a decade. Then, in December 2015 they came back.
The sun is just rising through their school bus windows, but these fourth graders aren’t going to school. Instead, they are doing something some of them have never done before; they’re taking a… MORE ›
The idea of a transcontinental highway in the West, spanning from Mexico to Canada, has been kicking around for decades. The possibility of this “CANAMEX” route, bookended by two international trade ports, has… MORE ›
There was no way to avoid it. A mountain of old tires, plastic containers, household garbage, and other assorted junk piled up to four times their height loomed just steps away from the… MORE ›
As the West changes, we encounter challenges. Our Western Lands and Communities program is developing the tools communities desperately need to address those challenges collaboratively.
Innovative. Collaborative. Turning the impossible to possible. That is what we are doing in the Colorado River Delta and our newest effort in the estuary—one of the most productive and endangered ecosystems on earth—combines these themes.
Green infrastructure—using nature’s ability to provide the same services associated with more conventional “grey” infrastructure—offers tremendous ecological and economic benefits. Nowhere is this more evident than on a 250-acre wetland we created to treat wastewater and serve as a refuge for birds and other wildlife in the Colorado River Delta.
We develop tools & information for communities to better understand what’s driving their local economies and for public land managers to assess the relative benefits of protecting or developing these lands. Our work underscores that protecting public lands is important economic development strategy. The California Desert is our most recent success.
Helping establish the White Tank Mountains Conservancy builds on our long tradition of incubating new community conservation organizations – now more than 2 dozen that have conserved more than 145K acres of public & private lands, and raised more than $206 million – dedicated to protecting local natural and cultural resources.