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  • Supervisors approve resolutions supporting Endangered Species, Historic Preservation

    Aug 01, 2017 | Read More News
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    File: Tucson Mountain ParkThe Pima County Board of Supervisors at its Aug. 1 meeting voted to support the landmark federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 and equally significant National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The resolutions, passed by identical three to two margins, direct County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry to ensure County policies and procedures align with and support the both acts’ purpose, application and enforcement.

    The resolutions also urge Arizona’s Congressional delegation and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke to retain intact the Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act as currently amended.

    The ESA, of course, benefits wildlife and endangered species, and the County’s conserved natural habitat also provides numerous direct and indirect benefits to Pima County’s economy and overall quality-of-life. A majority of visitors come to Pima County to enjoy outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism, which contributed $81.9 million in local tax receipts in 2015, resulting in a nearly $500 reduction in the tax burden on each Pima County household according to a Visit Tucson report.

    The ESA also provides regulatory support for Pima County’s award-winning Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP), which seeks to balance conservation of cultural and natural resources while maintaining a vigorous economy along with fiscal responsibility.
     
    “The Endangered Species Act is the keystone of U.S. environmental policy,” Chuck Huckelberry said. “It provides the context for or great influence over nearly all other environmental regulations, but it also offers a great deal of flexibility for landowners and non-federal jurisdictions like Pima County to comply with its provisions and find common-sense solutions that benefit everyone.”

    The Multi-Species Conservation Plan (MSCP), a component of the SDCP, streamlines endangered species compliance in Pima County. In July 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued the County a Section 10 permit under the ESA following years of study and effort by Pima County, participating partners, and a diverse set of stakeholders. The permit allows landowners who seek a certificate of coverage to develop their properties without worrying about harming endangered species. To achieve the benefits of a Section 10 Permit, Pima County used voter-approved open space bonds in recent years to purchase or otherwise secure some 230,000 acres of land to mitigate the effects of development and provide habitat for the native species, endangered or otherwise covered by the Plan.

    File: Historic Agua Caliente RanchThe Board also reaffirmed support for the National Historic Preservation Act, which states, “the historical and cultural foundations of the Nation should be preserved as a living part of our community life….” In doing so, the Act recognizes historic preservation as an important policy of the United States. Section 106 of the Act seeks to protect historic properties through a review process, procedural protections, and tax incentives to help agencies and communities to preserve historic buildings, landscapes, and archaeological sites nationwide. 

    “We cannot and will not go back to the days when we ran headlong into projects with no consideration for the consequences of development,” Huckelberry said. “’Progress for progress’s sake’ is not viable policy. That is why we have the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan – to balance development and preservation of finite cultural and environmental resources.”

    Pima County has benefitted greatly under the auspices of the National Historic Preservation Act with some 183 archaeological and historic sites and districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including more than 6,500 contributing historic properties.

    For more information, contact Sherry Ruther, Environmental Planning Manager by phone, 520.724.6762, or email.


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