Scottsdale enhances McDowell Sonoran Preserve Master Resource Management Plan

A scenic view of of the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve. (file photo)

A scenic view of of the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve. (file photo)

Three new documents will now be part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Resource Management Plan after Scottsdale City Council unanimously approved the inclusion of the documents at its Friday, Dec. 2 council meeting.

This item was originally on the consent agenda but councilwoman Virginia Korte requested it become part of the regular agenda and have its own vote.

“I requested this to be pulled off because I think it’s important to share this good work with the public and I want to express appreciation to our Preserve staff, our McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission and our McDowell Sonoran Conservancy,” Ms. Korte said during the Dec. 2 meeting.

The three documents are the Cultural Resource Master Plan, Ecological Resource Plan and the Conceptual Rock Climbing Planning.

The Ecological Resource Plan’s goal is to “ensure a science-based understanding of the plants, animals and biodiversity of the preserve in a manner that promotes the long-term sustainability of those resources and the restoration of degraded lands.”

(map provided by city of Scottsdale)

(map provided by city of Scottsdale)

Additionally, this plan monitors key resources and ecological indicators to detect changes that may cause concern. The plan will also help the resource management plan by providing scientific references for elements such as trails, trailhead, rock climbing and cultural plans.

Mark Nolan, executive director of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, spoke during the Dec. 2 meeting and said it took the conservancy two years to work on the ecological plan.

Mr. Nolan also said this plan was a combined effort of Preserve staff, commission, the conservancy staff and board as well as scientists from Arizona State University and Scottsdale Community College.

“We believe that implementing the ecological resource plan can insure the native plants, animals and communities we most want to protect will remain healthy and thrive in the Preserve,” Mr. Nolan said.

However, Mr. Nolan also said the Preserve has plenty of qualified staff to execute the ecological plan and would like the conservancy to be the group to spearhead the plan, citing the conservancy’s work over the past seven years as a reason to help with the plan.

The Cultural Resource Master Plan “promotes the protection and interpretation of cultural resources in the Preserve for present and future generations and encourages a sense of resource stewardship among the general public,” the proposal states.

This plan would provide the city, other preserve stakeholders and the general public information to understand how historic preservation planning helps the city and management reach its goals for the Preserve.

Additionally, the plan features results of public polling about the prioritization of preservation issues and had recommendations for Preserve management’s cultural resources. The plan also has suggestions for implementing interpretive and educational programming in the Preserve.

The final plan is the Conceptual Rock Climbing Plan, which is an expansion of the 2011 rock climbing plan.

The updated plan features work between members of the rock climbing community and city staff to develop a draft plan that broadens the scope of the 2011 plan to include Granite Mountain.

Right before the vote, both Ms. Korte and Councilman David Smith voiced their appreciation for the work the Preserve staff put into compiling the reports, the ecological report in particular, at no cost to the city and for the citizens to see what the city does with Preserve land it acquires.

“I think it’s important that we have this discussion because I think it’s important that the citizens understand that there is an affirmative effort on behalf of your group to indeed protect and preserve this valuable asset,” Mr. Smith said. “We don’t just buy it and lock it up but it requires an affirmative effort and an enormous commitment of time and energy on the part of many people.”

Mr. Smith also said he looks forward to working with Preserve staff in implementing these plans in the future.

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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