Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Black River COA

Located within the Petran montane conifer forest habitat type, this COA consists of approximately 74 miles of the Black River and its tributaries, which provide important habitat for aquatic- and riparian-dependent species. Elevations range from approximately 6,600 feet to approximately 8,600 feet. This COA also includes the Middle Mountain Wildlife Quiet Area (WQA), which provides refuge for northern goshawk, turkey, deer, elk, and Mexican spotted owl, amid extensive dispersed recreation on the Alpine Ranger District of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. The Black River COA is adjacent to the Fort Apache Indian Reservation to the west, the White Mountains COA to the north, and is within close proximity of the Bear Wallow Wilderness Area to the south and the Blue Range Primitive Area to the southeast. Tributaries to the Black River included within this COA are Snake Creek, Conklin Creek, Reservation Creek, Fish Creek, Double Cienega Creek, Corduroy Creek, Centerfire Creek, Wildcat Creek, Boggy Creek, and Beaver Creek.

Conservation Goals

  • Improve and where applicable, maintain forest and meadow vegetation communities within their range of natural variability to maintain and improve wildlife habitat, and to make these communities more resilient to the potential impacts of climate change.
  • Improve and where applicable, maintain the hydrologic and ecological function of the watershed conditions, streams, riparian and wetland areas and the habitats they support.
  • Maintain and enhance travel corridors, and travel, hiding, and thermal cover for a wide variety of wildlife species.


Primary Threats

1. Agriculture

1.2: Wood and pulp operations

2. Biological Resource Use

2.2: Unlawful take of terrestrial plants

3. Climate Change and Severe Weather

3.1: Habitat shifting and alteration
3.3: Temperature extremes
3.4: Storms and flooding

7. Human Intrusions and Disturbance

7.1: Recreational activities

8. Invasive and Other Problematic Species

8.1: Invasive non-native species

9. Natural System Modifications

9.1: Fire and fire suppression

11. Transportation and Service Corridors

11.1: Roads and railroads

Potential Conservation Actions

1. Land and Water Protection

1.1: Site/area protection
  • Conserve a variety of habitats that support healthy populations of fish and wildlife as climate changes.

2. Land and Water Management

2.3: Habitat and natural process restoration
  • Identify and protect key wildlife corridors for landscape connectivity.
  • Restore and maintain diverse habitats to support broad species assemblages that account for range shifts.
  • Implement projects focused on improving the quality of altered systems creating suitable habitat and/or habitat features for wildlife.
  • Maintain natural fire regimes on the landscape through prescribed burns and natural fire management.

3. Species Management

3.1: Management of specific species of concern
  • Conduct research targeting species and habitat types likely to be vulnerable to climate change impacts.
  • Implement long-term monitoring protocols for vulnerable species and habitats to inform adaptive management.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Arizona Toad, Chiricahua Leopard Frog, Northern Leopard Frog


American Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, Band-tailed Pigeon, Dusky Grouse, American Goshawk (Northern Goshawk), Mexican Spotted Owl


Allen's Lappet-browed Bat, American Pronghorn, Big Free-tailed Bat, Fringed Myotis, Hoary Bat, Mexican Gray Wolf, New Mexican Jumping Mouse, Pale Townsend's Big-eared Bat, Southwestern Myotis, Silver-haired Bat, Long-eared Myotis


Arizona Black Rattlesnake, Narrow-headed Gartersnake


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Black River
  • Snake Creek
  • Fish Creek
  • Corduroy Research Natural Area

Potential Partners

  • Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
  • White Mountain Apache Tribe
  • Arizona Department of Fire and Forestry Management
  • Arizona Elk Society
  • Arizona Antelope Foundation
  • Arizona Deer Association
  • Quail Forever/Pheasants Forever
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Audubon Southwest

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs