White Tank Mountain Preservation

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We’ll show you how the White Tank Mountain Conservancy group is taking to the skies to help preserve the White Tank Mountains, located northwest of the Phoenix Area. Ian Dowdy, Program Director at the Sonoran Institute and Les Meyers of the White Tank Mountains Conservancy, talk about the values of the mountain range and why conservation is so critical for this urban wilderness.

Ted Simons: The white tank mountains in the west valley are home to a variety of wildlife and natural resources. But ongoing development is threatening the mountains and one group is working to ensure the conservation of the natural and cultural resources for wildlife and the general public. Producer Elenee Dao, and photographer, Kyle Mounce, take us to the white tank mountains.

Ian Dowdy: White Tank Mountains have been a special place for me and my family, a place where we can come, park our vehicles, go for a hike. Amazing waterfall which flows when it rains. Always water there. White Tank Mountains incredible natural resource -- it is a tremendously long, incredibly diverse landscape with incredible natural resources.

Les Meyers: Conservancy established main function to preserve the habitat and environment in the white tanks. It is important to preserve a mountain because it is a habitat of a lot of the animals and flora and fauna that you don't want to see become extinct. As development encroaches, and expands, it can limit the access for the people who live here.

Ian Dowdy: The biggest threat to the white tank mountains is the urban development around it. Growth patterns for the city of surprise and buckeye, luckily that the White Tank Mountains will be surrounded by development 30, 40 years from now. You could have the degradation of the landscape and increased habitat fragmentation which could cause more challenges for these wildlife.

Les Meyers: What we want to do is coordinate all of the organizations that are supporting this mountain in different ways and coordinate all of the efforts through the conservancy.

Ian Dowdy: We're reaching out to cities and towns throughout the region and other organizations for them to partner and to work with us. All of the west valley communities have come forward and said we want to help with this.

Les Meyers: Conservancy will be funded by patrons, various corporations, foundations, surrounding cities, and the biggest contribution, I think, will be the volunteers. There will be touring guides here for the people who come to visit and enrich their visit to this mountain by having people here who know the plants, know the animals and can speak to it and especially when you get to Petroglyphs in here, key thing here.

Ian Dowdy: There has been tremendous excitement and enthusiasm from all of the communities around the white tanks because they recognize it is an amenity, resource, and something that needs to be preserved. The White Tank Mountains serves the public by providing them a way to access solutions.

Les Meyers: It gives them confidence that there is an organization here to help protect what they have enjoyed and be confident that it will continue to be here.

Ian Dowdy: End goal for the conservancy to have a long-term presence in the west valley. I think it is important to protect the white tank mountains and I think the conservancy is the solution to help solve these problems and to move us forward to having a sustainable and enduring west valley.

Les Meyers: One factor that we want to do with this is make this white tank mountain an icon for the west valley, because it would be great to have an identity and I can't think of anything better than having the white tanks as that icon.

Ted Simons: Aerial footage was made possible by lighthawk, a nonprofit group that promotes conservation through the perspective of flight. For more information about the white tank mountains conservancy, visit WTMconservancy.org.

Video: We want to hear from you. Submit your questions, comments, and concerns via email at "Arizona Horizon" at ASU.EDU.

Ted Simons: Wednesday on "Arizona Horizon", we'll look at why Arizona's water supplies are in better shape than California's. And we'll hear about a new initiative to help local That's on the next "Arizona Horizon." That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Video: "Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you. Captioning Performed by LNS Captioning www.lnscaptioning.com

Ian Dowdy:Program Director, Sonoran Institute; Les Meyers:White Tank Mountain Conservancy;

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