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Conservation Issues

Climate Change and the Grand Canyon Ecoregion

Resilient Habitats Campaign Launched for the Grand Canyon Ecoregion

According to the U.S. National Climatic Data Center, global surface temperatures from January through April 2010 were the warmest on record, and it appears this trend will continue for the remainder of the year. Although we had a significant amount of snow this winter, spring rain has been entirely absent and Lake Powell is at a record low due to poor snowfall in the upper Colorado River Basin. Climate change is happening here, now.

The Grand Canyon Chapter has been working on habitat resiliency in the Greater Grand Canyon area for many years. Now, we are joining with the Utah Chapter on a larger Resilient Habitats campaign which endeavors to minimize the loss of wild places and biodiversity due to climate change by reforming critical policies and protecting habitat resilience based on the best science. Protecting migration corridors, developing climate-smart land management, and reducing non-climate stressors such as pollution, habitat fragmentation, uranium mining, and over-grazing are key aspects of this effort.

The Sierra Club is working with Grand Canyon National Park to reduce the park's carbon footprint, helping different agencies in the region coordinate their efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and working hard to protect old-growth forests that offer critical wildlife habitat. The North Kaibab National Forest, part of the Greater Grand Canyon Ecosystem, contains the most extensive old-growth forest in the Southwest, and represents a prime opportunity to restore the ponderosa pine ecosystem and protect old-growth-dependent species like the Kaibab squirrel, found nowhere else on earth.

Among the Sierra Club's objectives for the Greater Grand Canyon ecosystem: 

  • Obtain an administrative mining withdrawal for one million acres of public lands near Grand Canyon National Park
  • Pass the Grand Canyon Watersheds Protection Act in Congress 
  • Stop the Warm Fire salvage sale on the North Kaibab National Forest, near Grand Canyon National Park 
  • Limit off-road vehicle activity on Bureau of Land Management lands on the Arizona Strip, between the Grand Canyon and the Utah border, protecting the monuments' resources including the California condor and the desert tortoise 
  • Improve or defeat the San Juan County, Utah, Wilderness Bill 
  • Improve the Dixie National Forest plans on oil and gas leasing, off-road vehicles, and grazing to promote resilient habitats 
  • Working with Native American tribes to stop the Arizona 1 uranium mine from moving forward 

Your help is crucial to the success of this campaign in Arizona. Please watch for ways to get involved or contact Sandy Bahr at (602) 253-8633 or to learn how you can help.


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