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"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
- Proverbs 3:5-6
April 2024
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White Tank Mountains Conservancy Launches Wildlife Linkage Plan in Buckeye
By Brian O'Malley - Tuesday Apr 02, 2024
For nearly a decade, White Tank Mountains Conservancy (WTMC) has been bringing together conservationists, developers and municipalities to maintain the mountain range of its namesake for future generations. With monumental growth in the region, the WTMC is proud to announce its active role on conceptualizing a new wildlife linkage between the White Tank and Belmont Mountain ranges to sustain connectivity for the wildlife in the region.

To protect the mutually beneficial co-existence of humans and wildlife, WTMC is in active conversations with multiple stakeholders in the valley that will soon be home to housing and commercial developments, most notably Teravalis, to create a wildlife corridor which will help maintain both ranges as ‘living mountains’. The White Tank Mountains are home to a thriving population of mule deer, mountain lion, javelina, owls, tortoises and for the first time in decades, big horned sheep. This conceptual linkage will provide these species the room to migrate, seek refuge, maintain necessary plant life and avoid creating land islands much like Phoenix Mountain Preserves.

“As a Conservancy, we are passionate about working together with private sector and government partners to conceptualize what this beautiful area will look like in 10, 20 and 50 years,” says Sharma Torrens, Executive Director of White Tank Mountains Conservancy. “With collaboration, coordination and innovation, we know we can develop a linkage that will allow for co-habitation for generations to come.”

In introducing this project for future-state planning, WTMC was proud to receive the immediate backing of Howard Hughes Holdings, the developer of Teravalis, a 37,000-acre master planned community already under development off of Sun Valley Parkway.

“In the past, we have hit roadblocks in bringing the right people to the table to tackle wildlife and ecosystem issues in the face of development and urbanization,” says Torrens. “With their track record of responsible development of open spaces over the last six decades across the country, we are thankful for Howard Hughes leadership in this conversation and to bring others into the fold.”

The process for conceptualizing this corridor and working with developers to identify this wildlife linkage has never been done in Arizona. As development continues in the area, considerations are already being made to incorporate and collocate the linkage areas with future infrastructure.

To date, WTMC is working with Howard Hughes and Teravalis, LKY Development, BA Pacific, Pulte Homes, City of Buckeye, City of Surprise, Arizona State Land Department, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Maricopa County Flood Control District, Tartesso, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department and the Bureau of Land Management on the linkage. For more information and updates on the wildlife linkage project, please visit wtmconservancy.org/connectivity-initiative.