Monday, June 20, 2005

County may cut open space conservation

Pima County Administrator Huckelberry wants to reduce conservation set-asides when desert lands are developed. The Regional Plan Policies, or RPPs, are essential to protect open space and habitat.

Currently, the County follows a 75% set-aside on 'multiple use' lands, a compromise between science and economics, but developers and Huckelberry want to cut it to allow more land to be developed.

Some conservationists agreed to the cut, but only if conservation areas were whole, not chopped up as back yards on each lot, fragmenting habitat beyond usefulness. They also wanted open space areas to be dedicated to the county, or a non-profit conservation organization for management.

Huckelberry came back to greens on Friday saying 'no can do', and has recommended that Supervisors OK the cut without mitigations.

Pima Supervisors should say 'no', and keep current provisions in place until when and if ecologists and Huckelberry can work out a better agreement for open space and wildlife.

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