Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Black Mountains COA

Located in northwestern Arizona, the Black Mountains encompass 840,000 acres of federal, state, and private land. Within this vast mountain range is the largest contiguous desert bighorn sheep population in Arizona. Consisting of mostly Mohave desertscrub habitat, this COA is composed of several plant species, such as Joshua trees, white brittlebush and yucca, and has unique landforms like large mesas, steep cliffs, and sandy washes. Portions of the Black Mountain Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) lie within this COA. Also, this COA is home to two of the three populations of relict leopard frogs in the state of Arizona. The Kingman Springsnail is extant at three known springs, two in the southern portion of its range — Cool Spring and Dripping Spring and one in the northern portion of its range — Union Pass Spring.

Conservation Goals

  • Implement conservation actions with the BLM and Relict Leopard Frog Team to conserve, manage, and expand populations of relict leopard frogs within a diversity of habitats and localities that reflect areas of the known historical range.
  • Implement the Mojave desert tortoise recovery plan, and reduce threats to their habitats, including stand-replacing wildfires.
  • Implement conservation actions in the BLM Statewide Springsnail Strategic Conservation Plan (a CCA) to maintain and improve the status and distribution of these snails and reduce threats to their populations and habitat.


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

6. Energy Production and Mining

6.2: Mining and quarrying
6.3: Renewable energy

7. Human Intrusions and Disturbance

7.1: Recreational activities
7.3: Work and other activities

Potential Conservation Actions

1. Land and Water Protection

1.1: Site/area protection
  • Identify wildlife corridors essential to the movement of species between high quality habitat blocks.
  • Improve fencing to exclude livestock and feral burros from riparian corridors to reduce potential adverse effects of livestock and feral burros.

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 to create 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
  • Control the spread of invasive and problematic species, such as feral burros and goats.
  • 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.
  • Pursue the adjustment of feral burro appropriate management level (AML) to align better with existing habitat conditions.
  • Continue implementing identified conservation actions from the Black Mountain Bighorn Sheep Management Plan.

4. Education and Awareness

4.3: Awareness and communication
  • Engage with wildlife enthusiasts through diverse outreach programs to cultivate an interest in and appreciation for wildlife and natural areas.
  • 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.

6. Livelihood, Economic and Other Incentives

6.4: Conservation payments and programs
  • Actively seek opportunities to partner 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.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Relict Leopard Frog


American Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, LeConte's Thrasher, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Western Burrowing Owl, Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Ridgway's Rail


Kingman Springsnail


Arizona Myotis, California Leaf-nosed Bat, Cave Myotis, Greater Western Mastiff Bat, Pale Townsend's Big-eared Bat, Spotted Bat, Western Red Bat, Western Yellow Bat, Yuma Myotis, Allen's Lappet-browed Bat


Freckled Milk-vetch


Gila Monster, Mojave Desert Tortoise, Sonoran Desert Tortoise, Common Chuckwalla


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Mount Nutt Wilderness
  • Warm Springs Wilderness
  • Mount Wilson Wilderness Area
  • Colorado River Nature Center (AZGFD)
  • Black Mountains ACEC

Potential Partners

  • Bureau of Land Management
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs