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Scottsdale inks terms with Game and Fish for wildlife study within McDowell Sonoran Preserve bounds

Photo of Conservation efforts in Scottsdale
Views of a black bear taking respite in early July at the Scottsdale Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. (Photo: Arianna Grainey/

Scottsdale seeks better understanding of diversity of local wildlife

By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

Scottsdale is moving forward in concert with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to conduct a year’s long wildlife study focused on understanding local wildlife populations and their habitat within the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Scottsdale City Council early last week approved unanimously on its consent agenda resolution No. 12680 translating to a wildlife study agreement allowing for four aerial surveys of the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

According to Kroy Ekblaw, Scottsdale preserve director, funding for this project will be provided at the current Game and Fish contracted price for the cost of helicopter survey, not to exceed $1,500 per hour.

“The parties agree that four hours of helicopter aerial survey time is adequate,” he said in his Dec. 7 report to City Council. “The dollars for the January 2023 aerial survey are available in the preserve operating budget within the community services department.”

Working toward understanding wildlife conservation within the preserve are key elements of why the municipal preserve exists, Mr. Ekblaw explains.

“One of the primary purposes of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, described in Chapter 21 of the Scottsdale Revised Code, is to establish in perpetuity a preserve of Sonoran Desert and mountains as habitat for wildlife and desert plants,” he pointed out.

“In addition, a significant goal of the preserve, as stated in the management objectives included in Chapter 21, is to preserve local plants, wildfire and natural resources to maintain the biological diversity and long-term sustainability of the area’s ecology. Both the city of Scottsdale and the Arizona Game and Fish Department recognize and encourage a continued commitment to study and monitor wildlife populations within and areas adjacent to the McDowell Mountains, and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve…”

Mr. Ekblaw explains the purpose of the study is to help learn what is needed to preserve the natural diversity of the local wildlife.

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve encompasses 30,500 acres and is a permanently protected, sustainable desert habitat that is the largest urban park in the United States.

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