Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Bill Williams Complex COA

The COA is comprised of upland Sonoran desertscrub habitat as well as perennial and ephemeral waterways. The terrain of this habitat has volcanic protrusions, steep cliffs, and sandy washes that lead to the Alamo Lake riparian area. Portions of this COA encompass the 6,100-acres of the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge, which is also identified as an Important Bird Area that is critical habitat for western yellow-billed cuckoo and southwestern willow flycatcher Some plant and wildlife species featured within this habitat include giant saguaro, Mohave thistle, desert bighorn sheep, and the regal horned lizard.

Conservation Goals

  • Maintain and enhance habitat integrity and diversity, that provides adequate forage or prey, cover, and water for healthy populations.
  • Improve habitat connectivity in corridors between mountain ranges and in riparian areas.
  • Conserve low-elevation desert riparian habitat for breeding and migratory birds.


Primary Threats

1. Agriculture

1.3: Livestock farming and ranching

3. Climate Change and Severe Weather

3.1: Habitat shifting and alteration
3.2: Droughts

5. Disease, Pathogens, and Parasites

5: Disease, Pathogens, and Parasites

7. Human Intrusions and Disturbance

7.1: Recreational activities

8. Invasive and Other Problematic Species

8.1: Invasive non-native species
8.2: Problematic native species

9. Natural System Modifications

9.1: Fire and fire suppression

Potential Conservation Actions

2. Land and Water Management

2.1: Site/area management
  • Restore and maintain diverse habitats to support broad species assemblages that account for range shifts.
  • Improve recreational management in riparian areas.
2.3: Habitat and natural process restoration
  • Implement projects focused on improving the quality of altered systems creating suitable habitat and/or habitat features for wildlife, especially aquatic systems for invertebrates and other aquatic species.

3. Species Management

3.1: Management of specific species of concern
  • Establish and augment populations of wildlife species in high quality habitats.
  • Conduct research that includes surveying and monitoring species and habitats to determine status and conditions so that resources can be appropriately allocated where they are most needed.
  • Conduct research to quantify burro habitat use and their competition with bighorn sheep and other native wildlife.

4. Education and Awareness

4.3: Awareness and communication
  • Increase awareness of effects of specific threats (ie. climate change, invasive and problematic species, illegal take of reptiles and amphibians) on wildlife species and habitats with an emphasis on how the threats can be reduced.
  • Increase awareness efforts to educate the public about irresponsible OHV use and other recreational activities.

5. Law and Policy

5.4: Compliance and enforcement
  • Increase patrols and improve enforcement of regulations to reduce the negative impacts of irresponsible OHV use and other recreational activities.

6. Livelihood, Economic and Other Incentives

6.4: Conservation payments and programs
  • Create partnerships with Arizona agricultural producers and private landowners on a variety of habitat enhancements that benefit both livestock and wildlife.

7. External Capacity Building

7.2: Alliance and partnership development
  • Continue fostering partnerships with agricultural producers, wildlife conservation organizations, and private landowners.
  • Collaborate with local OHV and other recreational groups to promote responsible use of public lands.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Arizona Toad, Lowland Leopard Frog, Sonoran Desert Toad


American Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, California Black Rail, Golden Eagle, Ridgway's Rail, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Western Burrowing Owl, Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Gilded Flicker, Common Black Hawk, Bendire's Thrasher, Loggerhead Shrike


Arizona Myotis, California Leaf-nosed Bat, Cave Myotis, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Greater Western Mastiff Bat, Pale Townsend's Big-eared Bat, Southwestern River Otter, Western Red Bat, Western Yellow Bat, Pocketed Free-tailed Bat, Spotted Bat, Colorado River Cotton Rat, American Beaver


Gila Monster, Mexican Gartersnake, Regal Horned Lizard, Rosy Boa, Sonora Mud Turtle, Sonoran Coralsnake, Sonoran Desert Tortoise, Black-necked Gartersnake


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Alamo Lake Wildlife Area (AZGFD)
  • Alamo Lake State Park
  • Burro Creek Wilderness (Upper)
  • Arrastra Mountain Wilderness
  • Gibraltar Special Recreation Management Area
  • Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge
  • Crossman Peak Scenic ACEC
  • Desert Tortoise Habitat ACEC
  • Planet Ranch Conservation and Wildlife Area
  • River Island State Park
  • Buckskin Mountain State Park
  • Cattail Cove State Park
  • Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness
  • Rawhide Mountain Wilderness
  • Aubrey Peak Wilderness

Potential Partners

  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Big Sandy National Resource Conservation District
  • Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Arizona State Land Department
  • Arizona State Parks
  • Arizona Peace Trail
  • Friends of Bill Williams River
  • Quail Forever/Pheasants Forever
  • Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge
  • Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
  • Freeport-McMoRan
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • US Bureau of Reclamation

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs