The Field Institute is working with the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA) to spearhead a Regional Open Space Conservation Strategy. Field Institute Director Helen Rowe and Master Steward Dan Gruber are both members of the CAZCA Steering Committee, whose main task is moving forward this strategy focused on implementation of pragmatic solutions to four specific problems outlined below.
The ultimate goal of the project is to align, elevate, and scale efforts to conserve, enhance, and restore highly-valued open spaces that contribute to our local and regional quality of life and economic vitality.
Problems We Are Addressing
- Population Growth and land use change have reduced open space for sustaining natural systems and recreation opportunities and have fragmented existing protected areas. Continuation of this trend will have negative economic and ecological impacts such as loss of tourism, reduced quality of life for residents, reduced attractiveness for investment, and loss of wildlife corridors.
- The quality of remaining open spaces is degraded by urban impacts such as unauthorized use, pollution, introductions of non-native species, and by insufficient resources for monitoring, stabilization and restoration.
- Our residents are increasingly disconnected from the natural environment. This affects public health and quality of life. Public unfamiliarity with our open spaces makes it harder to garner support to maintain or expand them.
- Given the reality of limited resources, competing priorities, and gaps in cross-jurisdictional open space planning, it is difficult to actually achieve truly regional conservation goals.