Resource ChallengeThe Upper San Pedro Partnership was established in 1998 to address regional water use conflicts under a voluntary MOU that states their purpose is "To coordinate and cooperate in the identification, prioritization and implementation of comprehensive policies and projects to assist in meeting water needs in the Sierra Vista Subwatershed of the Upper San Pedro River Basin". The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is located within this area, and is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. It supports a number of federally listed threatened and endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This Partnership was initially founded as part of the Arizona Department of Water Resources "Rural Watershed Initiative". Their organizational structure includes an Advisory Commission with ultimate decision making authority, in addition to Technical, Administrative, Government Relations, Outreach Committees, a planning branch, and the Staff Working Group. In 2004, the National Defense Authorization Act, Public Law 108-136, Section 321, directed the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of Defense, and in cooperation with the Upper San Pedro Partnership, to prepare annual reports to Congress regarding steps to be taken to reduce overdraft and restore sustainable yield of groundwater in the Sierra Vista Subwatershed by 2011.
Examples of Key Partners
Fort Huachuca, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Arizona Department of Water Resources, Cochise County, City of Sierra Vista, and 12 others.
Results and AccomplishmentsDuring its first five years the Partnership focused on assembling the building blocks of a science-based adaptive management program - establishing a regional hydrologic monitoring network, conducting background research to prioritize various water conservation, reuse, augmentation and recharge strategies. In addition, they worked with The U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Arizona to develop decision support tools including a regional groundwater model and DSS (Decision Support System) interface. Now, in the Partnership's seventh year, the group's emphasis has evolved toward actual implementation of conservation projects and policies, and in using monitoring data to assess project effectiveness in an adaptive management context. To date, Partnership member agencies have collectively initiated over 100 conservation projects and/or policies that contribute toward their common goals.
The Partnership's adaptive management approach utilizes the best science available to make complex water management decisions in the face of considerable uncertainty. The member agencies of the Partnership collaboratively manage their finite water resources within the context of a highly variable climate, a wide array of political and socioeconomic considerations, and a complex hydrogeologic setting .