BLM to invest over $15M in Arizona for landscape restoration project

May 31, 2023, 4:20 PM | Updated: Jun 1, 2023, 12:08 pm

FILE - Cracked dry mud is seen in a community reservoir that ran nearly empty after its retaining w...

FILE - Cracked dry mud is seen in a community reservoir that ran nearly empty after its retaining wall started to leak and hot weather and drought conditions accelerated the loss of water Longquan village in southwestern China's Chongqing Municipality, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022. The very landscape of Chongqing, a megacity that also takes in surrounding farmland and steep and picturesque mountains, has been transformed by an unusually long and intense heat wave and an accompanying drought. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

PHOENIX – The Bureau of Land Management has selected Arizona for its “Restoration Landscapes” project. 

BLM chose 21 landscapes in the western portion of the U.S. and the project will focus on ecosystem restoration and economic resilience of the communities that depend on the lands, according to the bureau. 

The project is a part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda. The plan is to invest in rebuilding America’s “crumbling infrastructure,” according to the White House. 

BLM will infuse $161 million into improving the landscapes to provide clean water, habitat for fish and wildlife, opportunities for recreation and more resilience to wildfire and drought. Arizona will receive over $15 million from BLM. 

Two landscapes in the state were selected – Yanawant and Sky Islands.

The Yanawant landscape mass is over 3,000,000 acres, 1.5 million being BLM acres with restoration funding $5.59 million.

The land includes land directly north of the Grand Canyon, with diverse habitats, from desert scrub to ponderosa forests, according to BLM. 

Investments will build a more resilient landscape by restoring habitat for threatened and endangered species, improving drought resilience and ecosystem health and reducing fuel loads and wildfire risk. 

The Sky Islands landscape mass is over 3.9 million acres, with over 650,000 being BLM acres with restoration funding of $9.59 million.

The landscape support levels of biodiversity rarely seen elsewhere in the West, according to BLM. The pocket of isolated mountains is home to a unique assemblage of over 30 federally listed species living in both desert and alpine ecosystems. 

Restoration investments will reduce fuel loads, improve groundwater management in the San Pedro River drainage, protect critical wildlife migration corridors and support the recovery of threatened and endangered wildlife. 

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BLM to invest over $15M in Arizona for landscape restoration project