Last article discussed threats to the biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert, but truth be told, biodiversity is threatened in every biome across the world. Insect populations are crashing, desertification is on the increase, and water is becoming polluted or unavailable. The reason the Sonoran Desert stands out in all of this ecological madness is that it is the canary in the coal mine. It has taken nature thousands of years to build the relationships between species that has created a stable ecology in our desert. Yet the sheer number of humans and their activities is changing the rules faster than evolution can respond. When there were just a few automobiles spitting out poisonous gasses, nature could absorb the abuse but now we are learning the terrible price of the rule of unintended consequences.
Some pro biodiversity projects and groups you may want to consider supporting:
- Ground water depletion
- Tucson citizens realized several decades ago that over pumping their groundwater had caused once flowing streams to dry up. New rules were put into place to conserve water and take advantage of rainwater and grey water harvesting. Grassroot organizations were formed, such as Watershed Management Group https://watershedmg.org/ [WMG], a non-profit dedicated to wise use of water and watershed sustainability. Through WMG’s riparian restoration and erosion control efforts, they have installed over 9 acres (400,000 square feet) of water harvesting basins, over 200 erosion control and flow spreading rock structures, and planted over 750 plants. Their projects have engaged over 400 community members in workshops and educational offerings. In addition, WMG has been awarded two grants totaling almost $300,000 for erosion control work along Cienega Creek that will start in 2020. All of this work supports restoring the natural ecological systems and Sonoran desert wildlife habitat.
- Development / Agriculture & fragmentation of biomes
- Arizona leads the nation in Energy Star-certified “green” homes. These homes use less energy, less water, typically have native plant landscapes and can save 3,700 lbs. of greenhouse gas per year.
- Arizona farmers and ranchers, in response to global warming, have started to explore alternative crops and watering techniques to save water. In some cases, they have even added islands of native plants alongside fields.
- The Nature Conservancy protects 1.5 million acres in Arizona by partnering with Ranchers, State / Federal entities and non-profits. Google The Nature Conservancy Arizona to find out more.
- Invasive species
- The Arizona Invasive Species Advisory Council is a 21-member council led by Arizona Game and Fish and Arizona Department of Agriculture to address the challenges to our natural areas.
A few more organizations supporting Biodiversity are:
- Center for Biodiversity https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/
- Society for Ecological Restoration https://www.ser.org/
- Any group or individual that supports the Endangered Species Act of 1973.