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.

Please Join Us!

The Altar Valley Conservation Alliance invites you to attend a field evaluation workshop for the Elkhorn/Las Delicias Demonstration Project.  Click here for the attached invitation.  The workshop will be held on January 31, 2014 from 9:30 am t0 3 pm, at the project site. The project was installed in January 2012.  It showcased the planning, installation and monitoring of watershed restoration practices in arroyos and associated uplands over an approximately 1,500 acre project site.  A generous grant of $50,000 from Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Mines Foundation provided the base for funding the project.  Match contributions and the donation of time and energy from partners brought the total invested in the project to over $200,000.

Happy New Year 2014!

Wishing all of you a wonderful start to 2014!

Click here for a recap of Alliance activities in 2014.

Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan

Click here to view a video put together by Doug Canfield with the US Fish and Wildlife Service about the creation of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan in Pima County.

PR 262 Altar Valley Watershed Restoration

Pima County’s Bond Advisory Committee is working to narrow down a field of proposals for a future bond election, including one to heal the Altar Wash, also known as the Brawley Wash. The severe encroachment of the Altar Wash begin in the early 20th century. The floodplain area was a travel and trade route. A major flood occurred when the Aguirre Lake breached.

The Altar Wash is now 20 miles long, 20 feet deep and 1500 feet wide in places. During rain events, high velocity water and heavy sediment loads surge out of the valley instead of recharging aquifers and supporting the microhabitats on which the region’s native species depend. Head-cutting in uplands and the erosion of banks along the main wash work destructively in tandem to vacate hundreds of acres of viable habitat. For more about the wash and its impacts in the Altar Valley, click here.

The Alliance recently wrote a letter encouraging support for the bond project, which you can read here.

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