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7:44 PM Tue, Dec. 11th

Moore: Help save critical riparian habitat to protect endangered bird species

A yellow-billed cuckoo, a threatened species, which breeds on the property of Coldwater Farm. (Courtesy)

A yellow-billed cuckoo, a threatened species, which breeds on the property of Coldwater Farm. (Courtesy)

There are three important local conservation efforts running concurrently—the Save the Dells campaign, the Ecosa Institute’s Forever Dells campaign, and the “It’s for the Birds!” campaign.

Not familiar with “It’s for the Birds!” conservation campaign? The Central Arizona Land Trust (CALT) has been working with the owners of Coldwater Farm in Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona to raise donations to create a conservation easement to preserve a unique area where the Agua Fria River flows freely year-round.

Coldwater Farm owners, Garry and Denise Rogers, have an abundance of bird species on their property—in fact Garry’s list is now up to 127 species. Some of the more critical bird species using their property are the southwestern willow flycatcher and the yellow-billed cuckoo. Both species breed on their property according to surveys by the Audubon Society, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These two species are federally listed as endangered and threatened, respectively.

The CALT has a goal of raising $65,000 to create a conservation easement to preserve and protect this critical riparian habitat. This conservation effort will ensure that nesting yellow-billed cuckoos and southwestern willow flycatchers and 125 other bird species can call Coldwater Farm and the Agua Fria River home forever.

The mission statement for CALT is “To preserve and protect open space, wildlife habitat, working agricultural lands and the scenic and cultural values of north-central Arizona for future generations.” Central Arizona Land Trust is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable landscapes that define central and northern Arizona.

CALT works primarily with private landowners to develop conservation easements to protect places for our enjoyment today and for future generations. A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between the landowner and the land trust and defines the limitations on development to accomplish the goals of protection for the property. A conservation easement guarantees the long-term protection of places worth protecting through generations of landowners.

Recently CALT received a generous matching donation for their “It’s for the Birds!” campaign to conserve Coldwater Farm. It is a dollar for dollar match, up to $20,000. Time is of the essence—the matching offer ends on Dec. 31. Recently, the Prescott Audubon Society board decided to donate $5,000 to the campaign. This is truly a worthy cause that we can all get behind.

This is an impressive collaborative effort. The Town of Dewey-Humboldt and local chapters of conservation groups have come together to save Coldwater Farm’s natural habitat in perpetuity. Groups include the Highlands Center for Natural History, the Prescott Audubon Society, the Citizens Water Advocacy Group, the Sierra Club-Yavapai Group, the Arizona Native Plant Society-Prescott Chapter, the Arizona Riparian Council, Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument, and the Upper Agua Fria Watershed Group.

For more information on CALT and on their “It’s for the Birds!” campaign I encourage you to visit their website at www.centralazlandtrust.org.

Make your donation today on the dedicated webpage for Coldwater Farm at www.centralazlandtrust.org or by check to CALT, PO Box 1050, Prescott, AZ 86302. Please earmark your donation to the “It’s for the Birds!” campaign. All donations will be used specifically for establishing a permanent conservation easement on the Coldwater Farm. Donations can also be dropped off directly at the Prescott Jay’s Bird Barn store location on Willow Creek Road.

Until next week, Happy Birding!

Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, with two locations in northern Arizona – Prescott and Flagstaff. Eric has been an avid birder for over 50 years. If you have questions about wild birds that you would like discussed in future articles, email him at eric@jaysbirdbarn.com.