As I write this it is snowing outside. I’m visiting my parents at present in upstate New York and the snow is magic. Water liquid or frozen is a gift from heaven. Water in the southwest is precious. Not a commodity to treat lightly, whether its coming out of your tap or enjoying a meandering stream.
The San Pedro River needs our help. She is under assault from forces beyond her control, but not ours. If we share our stories, poems, songs of what she means to us with those charged with preserving, conserving and protecting her, we may prevail. I wrote a letter with my friend Nicole Gillett of the Tucson Audubon Society to ask for all who care about the San Pedro River to submit essays. We can not delay. Time is of the essence.
Dear Supporters of the San Pedro River,
We know you love the San Pedro River. We need your help. We need your voice. Because we know you care, we are asking you to contribute an engaging poem, or essay of your choosing for this mission-critical endeavor. We need your piece by Thanksgiving 2018, the thirtieth anniversary of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area-first conservation area of its kind in our country. We cannot afford to lose this precious national jewel. Eloquently sharing your memories and sentiments will contribute to the fight to save our last free flowing river.
The San Pedro River is under assault. Here is the political situation we are eup against. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued a new Draft Resource Management Plan for the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA). Their preferred alternative is opening up the area to cattle grazing. BLM is mandated by Public Law 100-696 to protect: “ The Secretary shall manage the conservation area in a manner that conserves, protects, and enhances…the secretary shall only allow such uses…as will further the primary purposes for which the conservation area is established.” (In other words, protection of the natural resources of this riparian area is mandated by established law.)
Public law is not being upheld and the public comment period has passed. The intention of this letter is to rally writers to action and underscore our commitment to protecting the San Pedro River. By creating a small book of your collective voices to share with state and federal policymakers we can be more effective in making our case. In 1995 the book, “Testimony:Writers of the West Speak on Behalf of Utah Wilderness”, made the difference in preserving Utah’s Red Rock Wilderness.
Remember good work is a stay on despair. As a globally important bird area, the San Pedro River belongs to the world, a ribbon of life in the heart of the Madrean Archipelago ecoregion. We would like this little book to make the difference.
May our collective voices be an exaltation of larks—a cast of hawks—a murmuration of starlings—a congress of ravens—a parliament of owls…
For the River. May we prevail.