Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Hassayampa COA

This COA comprises lands within the Hassayampa River floodplain from its confluence with the Gila River upstream to the Town of Wickenburg. The river flows from its source outside Prescott, to the south where it meets the Gila River near Arlington. This COA provides a crucial travel corridor for wildlife, habitat for upland and riparian species, and migration stopover sites and breeding habitat for migratory birds, including SGCN such as the southwestern willow flycatcher and western yellow-billed cuckoo. Illegal dumping and unmanaged recreational activities continue to degrade quality and connectivity of these wildlife habitats.

Conservation Goals

  • Remove invasive salt cedar and replace with native vegetation to improve habitat quality and reduce fuel loads.
  • Maintain the river corridor’s natural state and connection to the Gila River.
  • Improve permeability across barriers, such as existing and planned transportation routes, along its length to allow wildlife to safely move between upland and riparian habitat.


Primary Threats

1. Agriculture

1.3: Livestock farming and ranching

3. Climate Change and Severe Weather

3.2: Droughts

4. Residential and Commercial Development

4.1: Housing and urban areas

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
9.2: Dams and water management

10. Pollution

10.4: Garbage and solid waste

Potential Conservation Actions

1. Land and Water Protection

1.2: Resource and habitat protection
  • Develop conservation easements on public or private lands in order to maintain and protect wildlife corridors and buffer quality wildlife habitat.

2. Land and Water Management

2.2: Invasive/problematic species control
  • Remove salt cedar from the stream channels and replace with native broadleaf riparian trees such as cottonwood and willows where applicable.
  • Remove trespass cattle and improve exclusion fencing to prevent livestock from damaging sensitive riparian habitats.
2.3: Habitat and natural process restoration
  • Increase connectivity by removing barriers and impediments to species movement. Modify pasture and boundary fences to meet wildlife-friendly criteria to allow safe wildlife movement or provide wildlife crossing structures to minimize wildlife/vehicle collisions.

3. Species Management

3.1: Management of specific species of concern
  • Restore and improve riparian habitats to support populations of southwestern willow flycatchers, western yellow-billed cuckoos, lowland leopard frogs, and other SGCN.

5. Law and Policy

5.4: Compliance and enforcement
  • Increase law enforcement presence within protected areas to reduce illegal recreation, poaching, and illegal OHV use.

7. External Capacity Building

7.2: Alliance and partnership development
  • Identify partners to implement conservation projects and improve connectivity between upland and riparian areas.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Arizona Toad, Lowland Leopard Frog


Gila Woodpecker, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Western Burrowing Owl, Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo


California Leaf-nosed Bat, Mexican Free-tailed Bat, Yuma Myotis


Gila Monster, Sonoran Desert Tortoise, Sonora Mud Turtle


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Hassayampa River Preserve

Potential Partners

  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Arizona State Land Department
  • Private Landowners
  • AZ Department of Transportation
  • Maricopa County Parks and Recreation
  • Wickenburg Conservation Foundation

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs

  • No associated Aquatic COAs