Thank you and Happy Holidays!

We hope your holiday season is filled with joy and celebration. From all of us at the Altar Valley Conservation Alliance, thanks for your love of this valley, and all you do to help our vision of “conserving the Altar Valley for future generations.” We hope you’ll take a moment to read our 2017 Annual Report, and catch up on anything you might have missed throughout the year. If you’re on our mailing list, a hard copy will be coming to your mailbox. If you’re not, or if your address has recently changed, please e-mail sarah (at) so that we can update our list! Happy holidays!

Upcoming 2018 Workshops and Events

BRUSH MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP #1: Please join us for the first workshop in a series of three on brush management. This workshop is titled: Historical Perspectives and Current Trends: Brush and Woody Species Management and Environmental Conditions on Southwestern Grasslands.” It will be held on January 22, 2018 from 8am – 3pm at the Santa Rita Experimental Range. This series is funded by Western SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program). To learn more or to register, click here. 

NOON RANCH ARROYO RESTORATION WORKSHOP: We’ll be hosting an Arroyo Workshop at the Noon Ranch outside of Arivaca on February 16th and 17thRangelands Hands’ Steve Carson will be leading two days in the field teaching arroyo restoration techniques and providing participants with a hands-on opportunity to install conservation structures in the Altar Valley. To learn more or to register, click here.

ELK/LD WORKSHOP SURVEY: Since 2012, AVCA has been working on the Elkhorn/Las Watershed Restoration Demonstration Project. The site serves as an outdoor classroom and workshop site. Thanks to generous ongoing funding from Freeport-McMoRan, AVCA has support to hold an educational workshop at the site in 2018. We are reaching out to request thoughts from interested parties to help us plan this next Elk/LD workshop event. The survey can be found here:

A few other upcoming events to take note of:
January 27th: Highway 286 Clean-up. Save the date to join us for this clean-uporganized by Rancho Sierra Vista de Sasabe and the Alliance. For more information or to sign up, contact
February 28th, 2018: Spring Altar Valley Fire Meeting. Coffee will be on at 8:30.
May 30th, 2018: Annual Altar Valley Community Meeting. Save the date! We hope you can join us to hear about all of our partners’ activities!

P.S. You can stay current with all of our upcoming events by checking out the calendar on our website.

You can sign up for our e-news here.

2017 Community Meeting

Mark your calendar for the Altar Valley Community Meeting which will be held on May 31, 2017 at the King’s Anvil Ranch. Coffee will be on at 8:30 a.m. We’ll start the meeting at 9 a.m. and wrap up at 3 p.m. The morning will open with Alliance updates about the new happenings within the Alliance and the status of on the ground work in the Altar Valley.

The afternoon will focus on partner news. An important part of the day is learning more about what you’re up to in the valley! Please let us know if you have anything you wish to present to the group. Each presenter will have about five to ten minutes. If you’d like a few minutes to speak, please indicate that in your RSVP.

Lunch will be hosted by the Alliance, but potluck contributions are most welcome! Salads, desserts, and sides would all be greatly appreciated. Please RSVP by clicking here.

P.S. You can stay current with all of our upcoming events by checking out the calendar on our website. Upcoming events include An Evening with Courtney White at the M.O. Club on June 24, 2017.

Directions to the King’s Anvil Ranch:

From I-10, get onto I-19 South, toward Nogales.

Take Exit 99 for Ajo Way/AZ-86. (0.3 mi)

There will be a traffic light as you come off of the exit ramp. Turn right onto Ajo Way/AZ-86. You will take this road out of town. (20.6mi)

Turn left onto South Sasabe Road/Route 286 at Three Points Junction, following signs for 286 and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Just before the turn, there will be a gas station and convenience store on your left. If you reach the Altar Valley Middle School, you’ve gone too far.

Follow South Sasabe Road until you pass mile marker 38. Very shortly after the mile marker (you can begin to slow at the mile marker), you will turn right into the King’s Anvil Ranch. Keep your eye out for the ranch sign (but if you wait until you see it to begin to slow down, you’ll miss the turn).

Don’t miss the upcoming Altar Valley events!

Our Watershed Restoration Training Workshop at the end of October is full. E-mail to be placed on the waiting list.

Upcoming events in the Altar Valley (more details below on each):
Integrated Local Harvests (Free Public Talk, Dinner $10): October 25, 2016
Highway 286 Clean-up: November 5, 2016

The Integrated Local Harvests Talk will be on October 25, 2016 from 5:30pm – 8pm. Dinner is available, but must be pre-paid, which can be done by RSVPing here. The talk will feature Brad Lancaster and Craig Sponholtz. This dynamic presentation shares patterns and strategies to harvest, integrate, and enliven free local resources – such as rain-, grey-, and stormwaters; along with soil fertility, in a way that reduces erosion and maintenance, while freely growing more vegetation, fodder for livestock, and food for us. You’ll see many examples of transformation. This talk is both an invitation for you to engage and partner with your natural surroundings and community, and a map showing you the way – by planting the rain, growing fertility and more – to live as one of your community’s inspirational sparks!

The Highway 286 Clean-up will be November 5, 2016 from 9am – noon. Rancho Sierra Vista de Sasabe is organizing this event, with support from the Alliance. With your help walking just 1 mile, we could complete the goal of cleaning the entire length of road from Three Points to Sasabe! Meet at 9amat the Robles Junction Community Center (16150 W Ajo Hwy, Tucson, AZ 85735). Find more information here and RSVP here.



Happy New Year & a Workshop

We hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season! The Alliance wrapped up a busy 2015, which you can recap in our end-of-the-year letter, found here and here.

We’re kicking off 2016 with planning for the Hands On Arroyo Restoration Training Workshop. We hope you’ll join us to learn about low-tech watershed restoration techniques and gain hands-on training and work experience on a project on the Noon Ranch located in Arivaca, Arizona. We’ll work on the installation of rock erosion control structures in an arroyo that is a tributary to Arivaca Creek.  Workshop leader Steve Carson will use watershed treatments described by Bill Zeedyk, co-author of Let the Water Do the Work (The Quivira Coalition 2009). Space is limited, so register soon! You can find the registration form here. If you wish to pay by credit card, please do so via the Alliance’s Support/Donate page and make a note of it on your registration form. For more information, contact Mary Miller at





We’re hiring!

Join the AVCA team!

We’re now accepting applications for the
Conservation and Science Coordinator position.

AVCA needs your help in recruiting for a new position that we seek to fill early in 2016: a Conservation and Science Coordinator. See the position description by clicking here. Please pass this announcement on to others that might have interest in the position or know of possible candidates.
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and professional references to AVCA Executive Director Mary Miller ( via email. Please attach all documents to one email. Applications are due November 30, 2015.

Altar Valley Road & Arroyo Workshops: January 2015

Please join us for:

WORKSHOP: January 26-28, 2015

Sponsored by Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and Sierrita Gas Pipeline LLC
With support from Altar Valley Conservation Alliance


WORKSHOP: January 29-30, 2015

Sponsored by Pima County Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation
With support from Altar Valley Conservation Alliance

Learn from the experience of Steve Carson watershed restoration specialist and protégé of Bill Zeedyk.  Steve has personally designed and installed over 6,000 road drainage structures that encompass over 600 miles of dirt and gravel roads in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas that have all been properly drained and water harvested for productive benefit. He has worked as a surface hydrologist practitioner over the last twelve years restoring rivers, arroyos, wetlands, roads and farmland. Steve also has a worked on a number of road systems in the Altar Valley over the last seven years. See for more background.

The Road Drainage and Water Harvesting class on January 26-28th will cover these aspects of road drainage and water harvesting and more: Why proper road drainage is important to the overall health of the watershed; why properly drained roads significantly reduce the need for and cost of maintenance, and in the cases of county and state road systems how these organizations can SAVE MILLIONS of dollars a year by implementing these techniques; why crowned and ditched roads really are not effective at draining road efficiently; how to maintain drainage structures once they have been installed; how to select the right equipment and why this is important; and how to use a clinometer to shoot grade in the field.

The Arroyo Restoration and Stabilization class on January 29-30th will be conducted at the Elkhorn/Las Delicias Demonstration Project site in the Altar Valley, which was installed in January 2012.  This site covers over 400 acres of eroded arroyos and road that Steve and Bill Zeedyk designed and restored with the help of many others.  You will get to review the hundreds of rock structures that have been installed at this site and learn why and how they work. You will also get hands on experience building and maintaining structures such as One Rock Dams, Zuni Bowls, Media Lunas, Baffles, Brush Structures and more. You will learn:  How to assess a site for restoration; planning logistics for your project; dry stack rock masonry techniques; how to use a Clinometer or a hand level to shoot elevations in the field; why getting a vegetation component started is so important; and the basic principles of Induced Meandering developed by Bill Zeedyk to restore incised arroyos.

For more information and registration forms, please click here.



Altar Valley Events: December 2, 2014

Please join us for the Winter Fire Coordination Meeting and Altar Valley Framework (formerly known as “charter project”) Brownbag Discussion!

For more information: click here.
Coffee on at 9am

Interagency Fire Coordination Center, 2800 E Commerce Center Place, Tucson, AZ

  • Winter Fire Coordination Meeting December 2, 2014, 9:30am – 11am
  • Altar Valley Framework (aka as “charter project”) Brownbag Lunch, 11:15am – 1pm

RSVP to Sarah King:

Please share this notice with colleagues as you wish, and contact Sarah King with additional agenda items.  AVCA will collect $5 at the door to cover sandwich purchases, morning treats & lunch cookies and beverages to be provided by AVCA.



AVCA Negotiates Agreement to Add Local Conservation Benefits to Sierrita Pipeline Project


On June 2, 2014, the Alliance signed an agreement with Sierrita regarding the Sierrita Lateral Pipeline Project in the Altar Valley. The Alliance has agreed to withdraw opposition to the Project, and Sierrita has agreed to provide the Alliance with significant financial resources to aid in valley-wide projects, including direct support of watershed-wide restoration of the Altar Wash floodplain and its tributary systems. The Alliance feels that its resources are better spent pursuing positive conservation projects for the good of the Altar Valley watershed rather than protracted legal battles. This settlement agreement does not waive any of the Alliance’s rights to subsequently publicly challenge Sierrita with respect to any failure by Sierrita to abide by any of the applicable conditions and requirements set forth in permits and approvals for the Project; and the Alliance has executed the settlement agreement with the express understanding that its continued participation in discussions with permitting entities and other interested persons regarding measures to mitigate the impact of the Project will not be deemed to be a violation of the settlement agreement.To read the Alliance’s full press release, click here.

Altar Valley Community Meeting

We hope you’ll join us for the Altar Valley Community Meeting on May 28th.  For more info, click here.

Sign up for our e-news letter here.