Landscape Stewardship Awards - 2015

Steve Eady, Executive Director, Gila Watershed Partnership (center) receives PLF's 2015 Landscape Stewardship Award from Beau McClure (right), PLF Vice President for Operations, and President, Arizona Chapter. Scott Cooke (left), Safford BLM Field Office Manager made the nomination.

The Public Lands Foundation presents the Gila Watershed Partnership with its 2015 Landscape Stewardship Award and this Citation.  The Foundation grants this recognition to honor private citizens and organizations that work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on landscapes that include, in whole or in part, public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The Gila Watershed Partnership works to improve the health of the land in the 7,354 square-mile Gila watershed in southeastern Arizona on a mixture of land that is 47% federal, 28% tribal, 15% state, and 10% private.  The watershed includes the Gila River and its tributaries between the San Carlos Apache Reservation and the Arizona-New Mexico state line.

The Partnership is a goal-oriented, success-driven visionary organization.  It has set clear goals and a series of steps to accomplish them.  The Partnership has made a substantial commitment of time – likely thousands of hours – and talent to sustain this community-based stewardship effort.  Projects have been completed on BLM-managed public lands, but also on state and private lands.  This demonstrates to participants how the watershed ties the community together and how all benefit from its enhancement.

The individuals and organization partners saw a problem – watershed health – and took a leadership role to address it on a landscape scale through site-specific projects that resulted in overall watershed enhancement. The Partnership is comprised of local citizens that volunteer their time and expertise for the good of the community.  There are only two part-time paid staff members that coordinate the group’s efforts, track funding, and ensure that deadlines are met.

The Partnership has been a catalyst for demonstrating effective approaches that result in good stewardship of local lands and resources for the past 22 years.  They do this by bringing together more than 20 federal, state, and local agencies; local businesses and national corporations; non-profits; educational institutions and private citizens.

The Gila Watershed Partnership designs programs and projects to address watershed issues and seeks funding to implement them. Past projects have included the sealing of saline wells, large- and small-scale erosion-control projects, a fluvial geomorphology study, river cleanup projects, a vehicle recycling program, an E.coli reduction research project, livestock exclusion from sensitive riparian areas and construction of off-riparian well projects, the Upper Gila Watershed Master Watershed Steward Program, economic development projects, and many, many more.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present the Gila Watershed Partnership with its 2015 Landscape Stewardship Award and this Citation for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.