Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Middle Little Colorado River COA

The Middle Little Colorado River COA consists of approximately 30 miles of the Little Colorado River and associated riparian and adjacent upland habitat, from Lyman Lake, at an elevation of approximately 6,000 feet, upstream to the confluence with the South Fork Little Colorado River, at an elevation of approximately 7,400 feet. This COA also includes Lyman Lake and two wildlife areas: Wenima Wildlife Area and the Becker Lake Wildlife Area. Three habitat types occur within this COA, beginning upstream within the Petran montane conifer forest habitat type, then transitioning into the Great Basin conifer woodland and Plains and Great Basin grassland vegetation types. This COA provides habitat for aquatic- and riparian-dependent species, as well as migratory birds, and provides connectivity between Lower Little Colorado River COA and the White Mountains COA.

Conservation Goals

  • Improve maintain forest, woodland, and grassland vegetation communities within their range of natural variability to maintain and improve wildlife habitat, and to make these communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
  • Improve and maintain the hydrologic and ecological function of the watershed conditions, streams, riparian, and wetland areas and the habitats they support.
  • Promote native riparian vegetation and native fish recovery.
  • Protect and enhance instream flows for the benefit of aquatic and riparian species.
  • Maintain and enhance travel corridors for a wide variety of wildlife species.


Primary Threats

1. Agriculture

1.2: Wood and pulp operations

3. Climate Change and Severe Weather

3.1: Habitat shifting and alteration
3.2: Droughts
3.4: Storms and flooding

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

Potential Conservation Actions

1. Land and Water Protection

1.2: Resource and habitat protection
  • Acquire land and water rights and pursue conservation agreements and easements in and around COAs and other priority areas to improve water quality and quantity.

2. Land and Water Management

2.1: Site/area management
  • Conserve a variety of habitats that support healthy populations of fish and wildlife as climate changes.
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.
  • Improve management of water quality and quantity to maintain and enhance water levels for wildlife habitats
  • Implement projects focused on improving the quality of altered systems creating suitable habitat and/or habitat features for wildlife.

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.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Chiricahua Leopard Frog, Northern Leopard Frog


American Dipper, American Peregrine Falcon, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Bald Eagle, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Clark's Nutcracker, Dusky Grouse, Flammulated Owl, Grace's Warbler, Horned Lark, Long-eared Owl, MacGillivray's Warbler, Mexican Spotted Owl, Mountain Bluebird, Mountain Chickadee, American Goshawk (Northern Goshawk), Olive-sided Flycatcher, Prairie Falcon, Red Crossbill, Red-faced Warbler, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Swainson's Thrush, Western Burrowing Owl, Western Wood-Pewee, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay


California Floater, Diablo Mountainsnail


Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, Gunnison's Prairie Dog, White-bellied Long-tailed Vole, Long-tailed Weasel, Mexican Vole, Mexican Gray Wolf, Arizona Montane Vole, New Mexican Jumping Mouse, Springerville Pocket Mouse, Stephen's Woodrat, Western Water Shrew, Hoary Bat, Mexican Free-tailed Bat, Silver-haired Bat, Big Free-tailed Bat, Arizona Myotis, Long-eared Myotis, Long-legged Myotis


Arizona Black Rattlesnake


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Becker Lake Wildlife Area
  • Wenima Wildlife Area
  • Lyman State Park

Potential Partners

  • Arizona State Parks
  • Arizona State Land Department
  • Arizona Department of Fire and Forestry Management
  • Mule Deer Foundation
  • Arizona Deer Association
  • Arizona Mule Deer Organization
  • Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society
  • Quail Forever/Pheasants Forever
  • Audubon Southwest
  • Private Landowners

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs