Arizona gets $10.3M in federal funding to restore ecosystem

Feb 24, 2024, 12:00 PM


Saguaro cacti stand in the Sonoran Desert as monsoon season clouds pass near Apache Junction. The cacti are threatened by a number of issues linked to climate change including an increased risk of wildfires kindled by invasive grasses. Scientists monitoring Arizona’s Saguaro National Park have observed a heightened mortality rate in young saguaros amid increased temperatures, inconsistent monsoon rains and long-term drought. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is investing $10.3 million to restore Arizona’s lands and waters via funding from the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda.

Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz made the announcement while visiting Saguaro National Park in Pima County on Wednesday.

“Investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda are having incredible impacts all across Arizona,” Estenoz said in a press release. “These investments are making communities more resilient to the increasing impacts of the climate crisis and restoring ecosystems for the benefit of both people and wildlife for generations to come.”

Earlier this month, the DOI announced an investment of $157 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to support 206 nationwide ecosystem restoration projects. The DOI has already distributed more than $15.6 million from the BIL to Arizona.

The park will provide jobs via a partnership with underserved and Tribal youth to work to remove buffelgrass, an invasive and highly flammable grass plant that is native to most of Africa, southern Asia and Iran, to reduce the threat of wildfires and to safeguard native vegetation.

The funding will also be used to fight climate change by investing in infrastructure, tools, research and labor to help the native seed supply chain. The Seeds of Success program promises to grow regional seed production capacity by expanding Tribal greenhouse facilities and by helping local farmers transition from using high-water crops to using low-water native plant crops.

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Arizona gets $10.3M in federal funding to restore ecosystem