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You are here: Home / Research / Projects / Fire-Community & Infrastructure / Catalina-Rincon Restoration and Fuels Mitigation

Catalina-Rincon Restoration and Fuels Mitigation

The Catalina-Rincon Restoration project area consists of 925,450 acres, encompassing the Santa Catalina Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest (CNF). The project area wraps around the northern and eastern sides of the Tucson basin with a population of nearly 1 million.

The Catalina-Rincon Restoration project area consists of 925,450 acres, encompassing the Santa Catalina Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest (CNF). The project area wraps around the northern and eastern sides of the Tucson basin with a population of nearly 1 million.

In 2020, the Bighorn Fire burned 119,592 acres within the project area, including 11,756 acres of private and state lands. About 35% of the fire burned at moderate to high severity leading to accelerated runoff, high potential for erosion and debris flow, and increased sedimentation in streams that are home to federally listed and other at-risk aquatic species.

This project will address the Canada Del Oro, Alder, Romero, Sabino, Edgar, and Buehman watersheds with erosion control measures. The communities of Summerhaven and Oracle were spared from fire damage, but considerable risk remains unless fuels mitigation treatments continue in the wildland urban interface (WUI).

WUI treatments in the Catalina Mountains are expensive and complex due to the need to balance the concentration of communication sites, homes, businesses, and observatories with the Mexican spotted owl (MSO) Protected Activity Centers (PACs), designated critical habitat (DCH), and recently delineated recovery habitat. Invasive plant species (buffelgrass, fountain grass, and nonnative annual grasses) in lower elevations are increasing fuel loading and fire frequency in desert communities that are not fire-adapted.

Given the aforementioned complexities and climate change, there is an expedited need to accelerate treatments of fuels in the WUI and non-native invasive plants to protect critical values at risk and sustain native plant communities in the Sonoran Desert and along riparian corridors.

Additionally, there is a need to replace infrastructure vital to the sustainability of ranching operations and restore reliable livestock and wildlife water sources.

Partners: National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), US Geological Survey (USGS), National Forest Foundation (NFF), AZ Department of Forestry and Fire Management, Bighorn Sheep Society, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Mt. Lemmon Fire District, Pima County Flood Control, Oracle Fire District, Pima County Office of Emergency Management, Willow Canyon Home Owners Association (HOA), AZ Sonoran Desert Museum, Greater Soldier Canyon HOA, Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists, Community of Summerhaven, Santa Catalina Volunteer Patrol, Community of Oracle, Friends of Sabino Canyon, University of Arizona, Redington Natural Resource Conservation District, Pima Natural Resource Conservation District, Winkelman Natural Resource Conservation District, AZ Association of Conservation Districts, Mescal Fire District

 

  • FY 2022
  • FY 2022 Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Project
  • Total FY22 Funding Request: $1,442,886
Arizona: Coronado National Forest; Pinal, Cochise, and Pima counties
Filed under: Wildland Fire, Research