The Future for Coconino’s Wildlife
Arizona’s population is currently 6.5 million people and is expected to more than double by the year 2050. While much of that growth will likely be concentrated throughout the “Sun Corridor” connecting Tucson, Phoenix, and areas of central Yavapai County, communities in other areas of the state are also expected to grow. The population of Coconino County may increase by more than 50% in this period, especially along State Route 64, Interstate 40 west of Flagstaff, and around Fredonia near the Utah border. Given the largely rural nature of Coconino County, much of this growth will involve expansion of cities and towns into relatively undeveloped areas, and expand the footprint of roadways such as I-40 and other infrastructure. Future development of wind and solar energy facilities, utility corridors, and other energy-related infrastructure may also be considerable. Growth outside of Coconino County will also influence the County’s regional landscape, as reflected in the projected increase in rail traffic through northern Arizona in coming decades which may include the creation of additional tracks of the BNSF Railroad and significant expansion of the Camp Navajo rail depot.
The effects of habitat loss and fragmentation are explained here. In order to address those concerns, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (Department), the Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup, and Coconino County partnered to identify areas of concern for wildlife movement around the county. Two stakeholder workshops were held in 2009 and 2010, and the results are available below. Future project activities will include using the information in these reports to support the development of finer-scale, GIS-based wildlife corridor models using similar to the Arizona Missing Linkages. We anticipate that our selection of sites for fine-scale GIS corridor modeling and collaborative conservation efforts will evolve over time as Arizona’s developed landscape changes and our knowledge of wildlife habitat use and movement patterns grows.
Additional information on connectivity in Coconino County can be obtained by contacting the Department’s Region 2 Habitat Program at 928-214-1252.
Results from the Coconino County Wildlife Connectivity Assessment
- Coconino County Wildlife Connectivity Assessment: Detailed Linkages (San Francisco Peaks to Mogollon Rim) [pdf]
- Coconino County Wildlife Connectivity Assessment: Report on Stakeholder Input (pdf file, 3MB)
- Coconino County Wildlife Connectivity Assessment: Stakeholder Input GIS Datasets (available by contacting Region 2 at the information provided above)