The Sonoita Valley Planning Partnership (SVPP) is a forum for stakeholder reporting and working together to perpetuate naturally functioning ecosystems while preserving the rural, grassland character of the Sonoita Valley for future generations.
The origins of SVPP can be traced back to 1995 when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hosted an open house and subsequent workshop, in partnership with other federal, state, and local government officials, to begin dialogue on developing a collaborative plan for the upper Cienega Creek watershed including the BLM lands within the former Empire and Cienega Ranches. A professional facilitator was hired to guide the voluntary ad hoc group, which called itself the Sonoita Valley Planning Partnership (SVPP). SVPP actively supported the National Conservation Area (NCA) designation and worked for eight years with BLM on the development of the Las Cienegas Resource Management Plan (RMP). Since then the SVPP has continued its commitment to community-wide participation in public land management.Read more about the significant role of the Sonoita Valley Planning Partnership in History.
The Sonoita Valley (outlined in red), located just 50 miles southeast of Tucson, is the name used by local residents for the rolling grasslands around the communities of Sonoita and Elgin including the upper watersheds of Cienega Creek, Sonoita Creek, and the Babocomari River. A significant portion of this area is designated as Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. As a whole, the Sonoita Valley is a mosaic of Federal, State, and private land ownership and has traditionally supported ranching and mining. More recently, the area has seen a surge in growth by people who desire a rural lifestyle. New economic pursuits focused on tourism and wineries have also contributed to local growth.The SVPP concentrates on issues affecting the southern region of the Cienega Watershed in the upper or upstream part of the watershed.
Some of the currently active partners in SVPP include:
- Bureau of Land Management
- Empire Ranch Foundation
- U.S. Forest Service
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Arizona Game and Fish
- Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch
- The Nature Conservancy
- Sky Island Alliance
- University of Arizona
- Vera Earl Ranch
- a number of individuals with varied interests
Workgroups & Projects
Currently the SVPP addresses Watershed Issues through these active work groups and/or projects: