AZTU-PPC, as well as TU National are actively engaged in developing a collaborative plan for how we should manage Apache Trout if the US Fish and Wildlife Service decides to delist the Apache Trout because the recovery objectives have been met. Stay tuned for more as this evolves!
Priority Waters of AZ
Priority Waters is one of the key initiatives in the new 5-year Strategic Plan that TU National is rolling-out. Julie Carter, Aquatics Branch Chief for AZGFD, and her staff have identified 20 projects that they would like to work on to improve habitat for native & wild fish in AZ. We are working with them now on the funding requirements, prioritizations, and a timeline. This positions AZTU to be in a leadership role in the advancement of the Priority Waters initiative in TU.
Gila Trout Recovery Plan
Gila Trout Recovery Plan (GTRP) was first published in 1979 with numerous updates/meetings since then. The updated Plan was released with comments requested by September 10, 2021. Dr. Helen Neville and Dan Dauwalter of TU’s Science Staff worked very collaboratively with us and TU New Mexico leadership. All parties agree that the document could be improved in the areas of detailed planning, action plans, genetics, science, budget, and measures of success. AZTU-PPC, the AZTU Conservation Committee and the TU Gila Trout Chapter all submitted comments, along with the TU National Science Team. We expect that the review of these comments will take at least 6 months to a year to complete, although no commitment has been made by US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to change the document. Because AZTU participated in the comment window along with TU National, our comments will be noted, and we have standing to continue to inform the process as it moves forward.
Apache Trout Management Plan
This very important plan to manage and protect Apache Trout, in the event that the USFWS decides to delist them from the Endangered Species List, is moving through the review and final signature process. Both the TU Science Staff and AZTU will be parties to this agreement.
Black River Forest Restoration Environmental Assessment (EA)
The USFS reports that they are working through robust comments received relative to the EA.. The associated Biological Opinion is under peer review. The latest projection is that the EA will be released in the Spring of 2022.
Upcoming 2022 Legislative Priorities
Nate Reese, the TU Staff person focused on legislative issues in AZ, has identified the following priorities for the upcoming legislative session: 1) 30X30 Resolution, 2) Ground Water Monitoring Bill, and 3) Outdoor Recreation Economy Resolution. More to come after the 2022 legislative session begins on January 10th, 2022.
Future Guest Speakers
James Goughnour, one of the AZGFD Commissioners, will speak on the Commission’s priorities at the October 12, 2021 PPC meeting. Steve Kandell, TU Staff, will speak on the 30X30+20 Initiative at the November 9, 2021 meeting. If you would like to participate, please contact Tom Osterday at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AZTU Public Policy Committee (PPC) hosts a virtual meeting on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 until 8:00 PM. If you are interested, please contact Tom Osterday at email@example.com.
The 2021 Arizona legislature has concluded. Here is a summary of the bills we influenced, led by Nate Rees:
This bill allows in-stream water right holders to not pump their allocated amount and still retain their water rights permit. Good for riparian area, wildlife and downstream users.
This bill dedicates 5 million to the Arizona Heritage Fund, these funds are spent on improving parks, trails and preserving historical sites.
This bill would take away the Arizona Corporation Commissions authority to regulate utility companies on how electricity is produced, e.g. Solar, hydro, wind etc.
If a private land owner wanted to sell their land to a branch of the federal government (Forest Service, BLM, Fish and Wildlife) it would first have to be approved by a Arizona state legislative committee.
This bill gives logging companies a tax credit based on the amount of slash/ biomass that is removed from the forest.
This bill funds the forest thinning on state lands and addresses invasive plant removal like Tamarisk.
This bill puts a state water quality protection on perennial streams. This is a second layer of protection from the federal Clean Water Act.
Would give counties and cities outside of a AMA the ability to monitoring ground water pumping.
A resolution that would outline the states support for proper forest management. And how important forest restoration is to the watersheds that supply the Phoenix valley.
A resolution that outlines the importance of public lands and outdoor recreation to the states economy.
In the NPS’s efforts to protect the native humpbacked chub, they are offering a $25 bounty on each brown trout over 6 inches caught in the Lee’s Ferry section of the Colorado River. While AZ Trout Unlimited is committed to catch and release, we view this as a less threatening option to repeated electro-shocking to remove the brown trout. Click HERE for additional information.
We encourage our members to participate in this program.
The Public Policy Committee conducted our second annual Strategy Summit and focused our attention on collaboratively developing our Action Plans around three major themes: clean water, catchable native and wild trout in Arizona, and organizational enablement.
Every second Tuesday of the month
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Contact Tom Osterday at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to attend