Hiking Club program to feature the Coalition of the Sonoran Desert Protection Agency

Jan Springer

Do we really need a wildlife crossing bridge and tunnel on Oracle Road? How many times have you heard that question since the road construction began many months ago? Come learn why we do need these crossings and much more when featured speaker Hannah Stitzer, Program and Outreach Associate for the Coalition of the Sonoran Desert Protection, discusses conservation topics at the Hiking Club meeting on Wednesday, October 21.

The program will begin at 3:00 p.m. in the HOA One Activity Center. Members and guests will have the opportunity to learn about the Coalition, which has been involved for over 16 years in the implementation of Pima County’s Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. This includes protecting hundreds of thousands of acres of open space with much of it connected to federally-protected lands. In partnering with other local, state and federal agencies, the Coalition has helped develop science based Habitat Conservation Plans to protect wildlife species and their habitat. They have coordinated and advocated for the construction of wildlife crossings across roadways. This program is particularly timely because of the implementation of the wildlife underpass and vegetated wildlife bridge being built on SR 77. These crossings are crucial to connect habitat from the Catalina to Tortolita Mountains, provide safe passages for native wildlife and increase highway safety for motorists.

To gather more information about this wildlife linkage, a wildlife camera project was started in 2012 with four cameras and has expanded to 17 in the Oro Valley area. The goal is to document wildlife activity and gather data about the current state of the wildlife linkage. Since its implementation the project has been successful in documenting thousands of pictures of local Sonoran Desert wildlife. Many of the pictures will be shared during the presentation, highlighting the variety of animals in this area. The project is largely driven by volunteers and has been a great way for nearby residents to get involved in wildlife documentation.

This program is open to all SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch residents whether they are members of the Hiking Club or not. Afterwards attendees are encouraged to attend a social hour in the Agave Lounge.

For more information about programs, contact Mary Croft at 825-3804.