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Best Environmental News

The Sonoran Desert Protection Plan

READERS' PICK: Local legend has it that a saguaro once knocked off some guy who was using it for target practice by dropping a big spiny arm on his head. But the truth is, the desert can't defend itself against human destruction: It's disappearing at the rate of a quarter-acre an hour. So this year 32 neighborhood and environmental groups got together to draw up a plan for identifying Pima County's vital pieces of desert habitat, linking them with wildlife corridors and protecting them from the blade while encouraging growth and development where it's more appropriate. On May 19, 1998, the Board of Supervisors went for it. The Sonoran Desert Protection Plan calls for some pretty radical stuff--a whole new approach to zoning, for example, and imaginative funding sources. It will have to charm the conservative state Legislature, work within constitutional property rights, and figure out its relationship to existing endangered species laws. So, sure, its future is thick with hairy problems. But hairy can be good. Ask any javelina.

Case History

1997 Winner: No C.A.P. Crap!
1996 Winner: CAP Water In Washes
1995 Winner: CAP water turned off and recharge initiative turned on

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