Cooperative Actions

Cooperative Actions

FROG Conservation Project

The FROG Conservation Project is a partnership dedicated to saving the wildlife and habitat of Ciénega Creek. Species dependent on wetland habitat are being threatened by non-native invaders like bullfrogs, mosquito fish and crayfish. By ridding the valley of these threats and enhancing existing habitat, we hope to recover populations of threatened native fish and leopard frogs. By increasing the numbers of these animals, we believe many other plants and animals will benefit, contributing to the health of the entire Ciénega Creek ecosystem. But we can’t do it without your help.

–>>Find out more at the FROG Conservation Project website.

Read the project’s final report  FROG Project (Arizona) Final Report – (NFWF Grant 18411)

Project partners may access this restricted site – FROG Conservation Partnership

Oral History Project

In 2010, the Cienega Watershed Partnership and its partners founded the CWP Oral History Workgroup to focus on the collection, preservation, and dissemination (use) of oral history stories from Southeast Arizona.  Founding members include CWP, the Amerind Foundation, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Empire Ranch Foundation, Vail Preservation Society, Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Coronado National Forest (CNF).   The Oral History Work Group is focused on collecting oral history interviews and on the inventory, digital migration, and transcription of this information.  Over 240 audio tapes have been inventoried and most have been converted to digital formats.  The goal is to disseminate these stories in multiple forms in museums, for school children, researchers, historians and other users, and as part of Arizona’s Memory Project.  A current grant from the BLM is underwriting the technical work and a series of oral history training workshops.  Information about these workshops is sent out using the CWP e-mail system.

–>> Find out more at the Oral History Project website

Partners involved in this project may access this restricted site – Oral History Workgroup

Back Then Project

As the Oral History Workgroup proceeded to inventory, digitize, and transcribe existing oral history tapes, increasingly questions arose about whether such oral histories can be tapped to understand past environmental conditions, decisions and policies, and land use.  As a result,  the “Back Then” Workgroup commenced with members who are oral historians, ecologists, biologists, historians, managers and others interested in applying oral history to past environments and current issues in the Cienega Watershed. The “Back Then” Workgroup is currently concentrating on developing databases which reflect the People, the Questions, and the Resources which must be considered to address both broad and specific watershed questions.  That is, the work group is identifying—-through working with various user segments—who has information and should be interviewed; what are the questions that scientists, managers, historians, oral historians, and others want addressed; and, where are collections of documents, maps, photographs, specimen samples, etc. that are useful.  Over 100 individuals have been identified for potential interviews in the future.

Partners involved in this project may access this restricted site – “Back Then” Workgroup

Cienega Watershed Timeline Project

The Cienega Timeline began in 2012 when 30 individuals shared their histories to produce a timeline, now the Cienega Timeline Project with over 400 events entered.  Eventually the timeline will be enhanced with images and links to improve the user’s experience and to ensure  their understanding of the watershed history.  The format is a web-based timeline using a TimeGLIDER Javacript Library application, researchable on titles, categories and key words by varying time scales.  Go to You Tube for Cienega Watershed Partnership videos and look for Shared History for 9 chapters of this story.  Access the timeline at: The Cienega Timeline

Lehmann’s Lovegrass Project

In 2010, the Cienega Watershed Partnership received a grant from the Bureau of Land Management to compile the current state of knowledge regarding an invasive, non-native plant species, Lehmann’s lovegrass.  By June 2010, a team of experts assembled by the Audubon Research Ranch compiled a 55-page annotated bibliography.  The compilation and review of literature required over 300 hours and included sources in the natural history of the species, range, grazing issues, impacts on native flora and fauna, and gaps in the knowledge base.  The resulting compilation is posted on the Audubon Research Ranch website: Lehmann’s Lovegrass Annotated Bibliography

Science on the Sonoita Plain Annual Symposium

The Science on the Sonoita Plain symposium was established to bring together and share the results of scientific investigations that are occurring within and informing us about the unique and diverse resources of the Sonoita Plain in the upper watersheds of Cienega Creek, Sonoita Creek, and the Babocomari River.  In 2010 and 2011, representatives from the BLM, Audubon, CWP, and TNC planned and completed the symposia.  The 2011 event included a special acknowledgement of the 25th anniversary between the BLM and the Audubon Research Ranch for a cooperative agreement to manage those BLM public lands within the Research Ranch.  Speakers for the symposia range from archaeologists and oral historians to fisheries and avian biologists.  Attendance ranges from 50 to 85 individuals interested in or living in the area.

–>>View the photos, abstracts and videos of past symposia:

Partners involved in this project may access this restricted site – Science on the Sonoita Plain planning website.

State of the Watershed Workshops

Beginning in 2010, the Cienega Watershed Partnership, working with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and individuals from a dozen organizations, held workshops focused on the Cienega Watershed.  In 2010 the focus of the 54 participants in four separate sessions was to address questions on the knowledge gaps, existing information, key stressors challenging sustainability, and plans for moving forward with strategies and priorities to ensure sustainable management.   The 2011 workshop initiated a process for looking at the watershed in terms of scenario planning, that is looking at the risks and challenges from the standpoint of uncertainty. This effort will continue into 2012 as the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area becomes the focus in addressing questions related to climate change, resource availability, rapid change in landscapes, and other areas of uncertainty.

Reports resulting from the workshops are posted here:

2012 State of the Cienega Watershed (11.29.12) – Notes

2011 State of the Cienega Watershed (12.1.11) – Notes

2010 State of the Watershed Report – Las Cienegas and Sonoita Plains

Watershed Restoration Workshops

A series of workshops have been implemented on the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area in 2010 and 2011.  Project partners include the Cienega Watershed Partnership, the Bureau of Land Management (who also provided funding), and Sky Island Alliance. The works focus on developing skills for volunteer stewards who can continue this work on Las Cienegas NCA during the next 3-5 years and beyond.  As part of the workshops, priority sub-watersheds are evaluated; the highest priority areas will be treated first with an emphasis on sacaton areas which are targeted for efforts to increase resiliency.  The workshops offer hands on opportunity to install erosion control structures such as rock dams, dirt berms and swales. These types of water harvesting structures allow water to slow and infiltrate the soil, encouraging vegetation growth.  Successful workshops were held and structures are not in place in several locations.  These are being monitored for how well they perform.

–>> View photos of the workshops and work weekends

Partners involved in this project may access this restricted site – Watershed Restoration Workshops

YES!  –  Youth Engaged Stewardship

Youth Engaged Stewardship (YES!) is a project that contributes to Youth Outdoor Pathways – a network of organizations concerned with the meaningful engagement of youth in the outdoors including the Cienega Watershed.  Formed in 2011, CWP and many educational, environmental, governmental, and youth organizations are mapping out what pathways lead to significant involvement, advocacy, skills enhancement, and leaders among youth in the outdoors.

In partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, the Cienega Watershed Partnership received a grant from the Arizona Game and Fish Department to pilot test a group of teen leaders in assessing and managing an area on the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.  The YES! pilot project occurred in May 2012. The program received additional funding for two more successful years in 2013 and ’14.

–>> Find out more about YES! – Youth Engaged Stewardship



 Climate Scenario Planning

Scenario planning is a process to better prepare managers to sustain land health in the face of an uncertain future in which climate and other drivers such as agency budgets and regional economies may be different than they are today. Las Cienegas Scenario Planning is designed to build on long-standing adaptive management and collaboration in and around the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, to involve additional partners from adjacent lands, and to boost our ability to anticipate and prepare for changes that we cannot control.

In 2013, scientists and managers from 19 organizations participated on four teams to address climate change and other uncontrollable high-risks impacts that could happen in the next 100 years.  The teams were led by CLIMAS at the University of Arizona and plan to develop more specific actions and recommendations in the next phase of planning.