Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Joshua Tree COA

This COA is an Important Bird Area (IBA) where Sonoran and Mohave deserts overlap to create a rich diversity of habitats. The dominant plant species in this unique ecotone are Joshua tree, saguaro, California juniper, creosote, and many wildflowers and small cacti. The Joshua tree and juniper landscape provide significant habitat for Bendire’s thrasher, and the IBA has global recognition for this species. Also breeding there are cactus wren, ladder-backed woodpecker, ash-throated flycatcher, black-throated sparrow, Scott’s oriole (associated with yucca) and phainopepla (associated with mistletoe). The IBA is primarily Bureau of Land Management-owned and is the grazing allotment designated “Chicken Springs.” There is a small amount of state trust land and private land included in the IBA.

Conservation Goals

  • Increase/improve management of OHV and other recreational activities that may have adverse effects to this unique habitat.
  • Maintain and improve habitat connectivity as roads and other development encroach on the area.
  • Conserve and protect an unique ecosystem and the populations of special status avian species.


Primary Threats

1. Agriculture

1.3: Livestock farming and ranching

3. Climate Change and Severe Weather

3.2: Droughts

7. Human Intrusions and Disturbance

7.1: Recreational activities

9. Natural System Modifications

9.1: Fire and fire suppression

Potential Conservation Actions

2. Land and Water Management

2.3: Habitat and natural process restoration
  • Restore sensitive habitats that have been degraded by OHV use and other human disturbance.
  • 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
  • Managing specific plant and animal populations of concern.
3.2: Species recovery
  • Manipulating, enhancing or restoring specific plant and animal populations, vaccination programs.

4. Education and Awareness

4.3: Awareness and communication
  • 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 negative impacts of irresponsible OHV use and other recreational activities.

7. External Capacity Building

7.2: Alliance and partnership development
  • Collaborate with local OHV and other recreational groups to promote responsible use of public lands.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Lowland Leopard Frog


American Kestrel, Bendire's Thrasher, Black-throated Sparrow, Bullock's Oriole, Cactus Wren, Canyon Towhee, Costa's Hummingbird, Elf Owl, Golden Eagle, Gray Flycatcher, Gray Vireo, Harris's Hawk, Hooded Oriole, Juniper Titmouse, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, Lucy's Warbler, Rock Wren, Scott's Oriole, Verdin, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Phainopepla


Cave Myotis, Pocketed Free-tailed Bat, Arizona Myotis, California Leaf-nosed Bat, Spotted Bat


Joshua Tree, Saguaro, Mojave Yucca


Sonoran Desert Tortoise, Gila Monster, Regal Horned Lizard, Sonoran Spotted Whiptail, Desert Night Lizard, Rosy Boa, Sonoran Whipsnake


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Aubrey Peak Wilderness
  • Aubrey Peak Bighorn Sheep Habitat ACEC

Potential Partners

  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Arizona State Land Department
  • Quail Forever/Pheasants Forever
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Private Landowners
  • Big Sandy National Resource Conservation District
  • Arizona Antelope Foundation
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs

  • No associated Aquatic COAs