Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Cottonwood Seep COA

The Cottonwood Seep COA is a small 2,900-acre area of Petran montane conifer forest within the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, situated atop the Mogollon Rim at an elevation of approximately 7,000 feet. Bordering the Fort Apache Indian Reservation to the south, this COA consists of the Cottonwood Seep Wildlife Quiet Area (WQA), which provides quality travel, hiding, and thermal cover for a wide variety of species, many of which are SGCN. It also provides an abundance of browse species important for deer and elk, as well as relatively undisturbed habitat for both game and nongame species alike. Unauthorized livestock use and trespass by illegal OHV traffic are probably the biggest threats in this area. Wildlife Quiet Areas are managed with an emphasis on improving wildlife habitat and maintaining existing wildlife developments.

Conservation Goals

  • Maintain travel, hiding, and thermal cover for a wide variety of wildlife species.
  • Maintain forest and meadow vegetation communities within their range of natural variability to improve wildlife habitat and to make these communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change.


Primary Threats

1. Agriculture

1.2: Wood and pulp operations

2. Biological Resource Use

2.3: Logging and wood harvesting

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

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

2.1: Site/area management
  • Restore and maintain diverse habitats to support broad species assemblages that account for range shifts.
2.3: Habitat and natural process restoration
  • Identify and protect key wildlife corridors for landscape connectivity.
  • Implement projects focused on improving the quality of altered systems and 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
  • 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


Band-tailed Pigeon, American Goshawk (Northern Goshawk), Red Crossbill, Grace's Warbler, Olive Warbler


Arizona Myotis, Big Brown Bat, Fringed Myotis, Hoary Bat, Long-eared Myotis, Long-legged Myotis, Mexican Gray Wolf, Silver-haired Bat


Villous Ground-cover Milkvetch


Madrean Alligator Lizard, Arizona Black Rattlesnake


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Cottonwood Seep Wildlife Quiet Area

Potential Partners

  • Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
  • White Mountain Apache Tribe
  • Arizona Department of Fire and Forestry Management
  • Arizona Mule Deer Organization
  • Arizona Deer Association
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Audubon Southwest
  • Mule Deer Foundation

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs

  • No associated Aquatic COAs