Wildlife protection programs

SRP's wildlife protection programs work to conserve the environment, protect Arizona's native wildlife and meet regulatory requirements.

These proactive efforts are a demonstration of SRP's dedication to being conscientious stewards of the environment and fulfilling our obligation to comply with wildlife protection laws.

Habitat conservation programs

Currently, SRP maintains three special-purpose permits related to the preservation and rescue of birds, nests and eggs. In addition, SRP manages nine conservation properties covering nearly 3,000 acres in order to preserve and protect habitat for species protected by the Endangered Species Act.

The management of the conservation properties is guided by two habitat conservation plans (HCP) that were created in 2003. The plans minimize the impact to native species and their breeding habitats due to the variable water levels in Roosevelt Lake and Horseshoe and Bartlett Reservoir.

Roosevelt Habitat Conservation Plan

The Roosevelt HCP covers four federally protected avian species: the southwestern willow flycatcher, western yellow-billed cuckoo, bald eagle and Yuma Ridgeway's rail. Habitat for these species that is flooded by Roosevelt Lake is offset by SRP's protection and management of nearly 3,000 acres of riparian habitat on the Verde, San Pedro and Gila rivers. These properties provide breeding habitat for threatened and endangered species and opportunities for scientists to conduct research on Arizona's rivers and riparian ecosystems.

In addition, SRP:

  • Planted 20 acres of cottonwood and willow trees near Roosevelt Lake to create new breeding habitat
  • Provides funds to the Tonto National Forest for a forest protection officer and to the Arizona Game & Fish Department for bald eagle nest watchers and nest surveys
  • Maintains 5 acres of marsh bird habitat on the lower Gila River

Horseshoe-Bartlett Habitat Conservation Plan

The Horseshoe-Bartlett HCP includes conservation actions for 16 species: the southwestern willow flycatcher, western yellow-billed cuckoo, bald eagle, 10 native fish, two garter snakes and the lowland leopard frog. SRP has modified its operation of Horseshoe Dam to help protect native species in the Verde River and enhance native fish populations within the Verde Watershed.

Through a partnership with Arizona Game and Fish, these efforts are further supported by:

  • Funding operations and upgrades at Bubbling Ponds Fish Hatchery
  • Stocking native fish
  • Conducting species surveys
  • Constructing a fish barrier on Lime Creek, a tributary to Horseshoe Reservoir

Avian protection programs

While SRP strives to protect all birds that may come into contact with our equipment and lines, an emphasis is placed on protecting birds of prey. With a wingspan of three to four feet, there is a greater danger that they can come into contact with two energized lines at once resulting in electrocution.

A variety of protective devices such as insulations, protective coatings and other practices are utilized throughout our facilities and electrical systems to protect birds.

Part of the Avian Protection Program is building and maintaining partnerships with various organizations that are working to protect the native wildlife. SRP works closely with the Arizona Game & Fish Department , U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation to develop and research new avian protection methods.

In addition, SRP is a member of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee , which works with utilities, agencies and the public to protect birds without adversely impacting the delivery of electricity.

Nestwatch program

One aspect of SRP's commitment to preserving wildlife is the our involvement in the Arizona Bald Eagle Nestwatch Program . Since the southwestern bald eagle nests in and around the state's rivers and reservoirs, SRP is involved in ensuring these majestic raptors are protected and left undisturbed in their habitat.

The Nestwatch Program is led by the Arizona Game & Fish Department and includes participants from 14 different state, federal, tribal and private organizations that form the Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee , which SRP is a member of.

California condor population

SRP also provides assistance to the Arizona Game & Fish Department and the Peregrine Fund in their efforts to establish a population of California condors on the Vermillion Cliffs in northern Arizona. These huge feathered gliders, with their nine-foot wingspan, once roamed wild in the Arizona skies until about 70 years ago. There are now more California condors in the wild in Arizona than there were in the world in 1982.

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How you can help

If you find a sick, injured or orphaned animal in or around an SRP power facility, call (602) 236-BIRD (236-2473) or (602) 236-8888.

Elsewhere, Arizona Game and Fish advises alerting a wildlife rehabiltator . Never attempt to handle or move the animal; this is dangerous for both the human and the animal.