Trust Receives LTA Award

Arizona Land and Water Trust Receives National Land Trust Excellence Award

Rain Valley Ranch

Since 1978, the Tucson-based Arizona Land and Water Trust has been working to preserve Southern Arizona’s vanishing western landscapes, wildlife habitat, working farms and ranches, and the waters that sustain them. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Trust has worked closely with local, state and federal agencies, as well as private landowners and land trusts to protect more than 47,000 acres, including the popular Buckelew Farm, through conservation easements, donations and fee acquisition.

The Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization founded in 1982 that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents more than 1,100 member land trusts supported by more than 5 million members nationwide.

Of those 1,100 trusts, the Arizona Land and Water Trust is one of only 359 accredited by the Alliance nationwide.

The Alliance recognized several highlights of the Trust’s conservation work when selecting it for the award:

The Trust’s Desert Rivers Program has secured more than 1,200 acre-feet of water for the environment while also sustaining local agriculture. With grant funds and support from its donors, the Trust compensates farmers and ranchers for temporarily reducing their water use. The Trust has executed multiple water lease agreements with willing landowners on the Upper Gila River and recently its first agreement with a rancher on the Lower San Pedro River, north of Tucson.

The Trust, in partnership with Fort Huachuca, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal and state agencies and organizations, and willing landowners, is protecting historic ranches to both create a buffer around the Fort, protecting its mission as the leading unmanned aircraft system training center in the western U.S. and sustaining working landscapes. The Trust has been awarded more than $14 million in federal and state grants in the last two years for its work.

The Trust, in partnership with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, offers free Ranching/Farming into the Future workshops covering a variety of topics such as estate planning for working landscapes, product marketing and increasing visibility in local food markets, collaborative ranching efforts and planning and zoning alternatives.

“Arizona Land and Water Trust epitomizes all we recognize in Excellence Award recipients,” says Land Trust Alliance President Andrew Bowman. “Through the highest caliber work, Arizona Land and Water Trust has broadened support for land conservation, built understanding and grown the conservation community.”

The Trust will receive the National Land Trust Excellence Award for a staffed land trust during the Alliance’s Wecloming Dinner at its annual Rally 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 28-30, 2016. An award will also be given to an all-volunteer trust.

“We are thrilled to be receiving the Land Trust Excellence Award and remain proud to be part of a national community dedicated to protecting the landscapes and unique places we call home,” said Trust Executive Director Liz Petterson.

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