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Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Horseshoe Ranch

 

Background

The Arizona Game and Fish Department acquired the Horseshoe Ranch, located south of Cordes Junction and east of I-17 in the Bloody Basin area, in 2011. The approximately 200-acre ranch is located adjacent to the Agua Fria River and is surrounded by expansive desert grassland mesas transected by streams and riparian habitats. There are grazing allotments on about 70,000 acres of federal lands that would be managed through a coordinated resource management planning process authorized by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Game and Fish, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Tonto National Forest.

Vision

Preserve the historic ranch for future generations while conserving, managing and utilizing its natural resources. This includes protection of wildlife, historic ranching culture, access and cultural resources, while also enhancing the values of the Agua Fria National Monument through research, education and outdoor recreational opportunities.

YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6u1_AVM_So

Community-based Process and Property Operational Plan

The management purpose of the 200-acre deeded property has been subject to an evaluative process that involved local community and stakeholder input as a result of Commission direction.  This community-based approach is to be used as a potential template identifying opportunities for expansion, leveraging or enhancing available Department dollars for acquiring, developing, operating and/or managing properties while also maintaining the purposes and values by which the property was acquired. Identification and evaluation of enterprise-oriented activities that would be consistent with the property’s purpose that would generate revenue to aid in the operation and maintenance would also be considered in this process.  The results of this process are detailed in the report:

Management Planning Process Results

The Property Operational Plan has been drafted (living document to be updated and reflect the changes in operational management over time), incorporating the results of the community-based approach and water rights assessment with a property portfolio also submitted to the Commission.

Commission Property Portfolio

Property Purpose/Management Focus

A draft Property Operational Plan was developed in April 2012 with key management goals/objectives:

  1. To preserve the historic ranch while conserving, managing and utilizing its natural resources.  This includes protection of cultural resources and for the ranch to continue to serve as base property for the Copper Creek and Horseshoe grazing allotments.

  2. To have species and habitat management on Horseshoe Ranch meet the requirements and objectives of the Heritage Fund and Section 6 funding sources; and to appropriately manage Heritage sensitive species, such as antelope and grassland habitat, other game species and wildlife populations, and native fish and their habitats.

  3. To develop and provide wildlife and outdoor recreational instruction and outreach activities, and to develop Horseshoe Ranch as a “destination outreach facility” for agency and non-governmental organizations to use for meetings, events, banquets, retreats etc.

Projects

Pond Renovation, Maintenance, and Native Aquatic Species Stocking and Management.

This ½ acre pond has recently been renovated with removal of bullfrogs to mitigate a threat from the Agua Fria to the sensitive species associated (Gila chub, Gila topminnow, desert pupfish, longfin dace and desert sucker). The implementation of this action also contributes to the mandated mitigation associated with the Department’s sport fish stocking consultation. The pond excavation and shaping has been completed along with the lining and bullfrog exclosure fencing. Currently, planning is underway for the native plant revegetation. Stocking of leopard frogs and Mexican gartersnakes will be forthcoming.

For comments, sharing of photos and/or questions about Horseshoe Ranch, please send us an email: Horseshoe_Ranch@azgfd.gov

The Coordinated Resource Management Planning Process
Horseshoe-Copper Creek Allotments


The Horseshoe Ranch is the base property for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Agua Fria National Monument Horseshoe grazing allotment and the US Forest Service Tonto National Forest (TNF) Copper Creek grazing allotment, which are managed jointly. 

The three agencies are developing a tri-agency Coordinated Resource Management Plan (CRMP) for the two allotments. The CRMP planning process is a public collaborative process designed to engage all interested publics/stakeholders in the identification of local resource needs/opportunities, assist agencies in the collection of resource data, assist in the development of alternatives that address these needs/opportunities, and to encourage participation on long-term resource working groups.

The Horseshoe-Copper Creek CRMP Website.

Livestock Operations

The Commission approved JH Grass Fed as the livestock operator and JH Grass Fed has gone through the application process with BLM and TNF for grazing permissions. The Department acquired and registered the Horseshoe Brand (below) for use by the livestock operation. The Department, JH Grass Fed, TNF and BLM continue to move forward with projects and planning for benefit by the operation and to wildlife.

Visit JH Grass Fed: http://www.jhgrassfed.com/

 
 
 
 
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