Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Mogollon Rim Snow Melt Draws Important Bird Area COA

This COA sits at the southern edge of the Mogollon Rim, one of the southernmost reaches of the Colorado Plateau. More than 20 snowmelt drainages are found in this COA that comprise a unique network of habitats composed of Ponderosa pine, white fir, Douglas fir, southwestern white pine, quaking aspen, and Gambel’s oak. Young plants of these canopy trees, plus canyon maple and New Mexico locust, dominate the understory woody species. These snowmelt drainages is also an Important Bird Area (IBA), providing breeding habitat for olive-sided flycatcher, MacGillivray’s warbler, red-faced warbler, Virginia’s warbler, and Grace’s warbler. The site has been part of a long-term study (since 1986) of a high-elevation riparian ecosystem and bird community demonstrating complex effects of climate impacts on this system. Climate change and the extended drought may be having significant impacts to the high elevation habitats that include aspen, maple, locust, and other deciduous trees.

Conservation Goals

  • Improve management to exclude large herbivores where browse is having adverse effects on unique habitats, especially aspen stands.
  • Identify and conserve areas known as stopover and breeding habitats for migratory birds and support their full life-cycle conservation through international collaborations that address threats to their migration and wintering habitats in Mexico, Central America, and beyond.


Primary Threats

2. Biological Resource Use

2.3: Logging and wood harvesting

3. Climate Change and Severe Weather

3.1: Habitat shifting and alteration
3.2: Droughts

8. Invasive and Other Problematic Species

8.2: Problematic native species

Potential Conservation Actions

2. Land and Water Management

2.1: Site/area management
  • Conserve or improve areas for migratory birds identified as important habitats during any part of their annual life cycle (breeding, stopover, or wintering).
2.2: Invasive/problematic species control
  • Improve exclosures and other habitat management methods to reduce impacts of elk and other large herbivores on the sensitive habitats.
2.3: Habitat and natural process restoration
  • Restore stands of native tree species where possible, including maple, locust, and aspen.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Arizona Treefrog, Chiricahua Leopard Frog, Northern Leopard Frog


Flammulated Owl, Grace's Warbler, Hermit Thrush, MacGillivray's Warbler, Mexican Spotted Owl, Mountain Chickadee, American Goshawk (Northern Goshawk), Olive-sided Flycatcher, Pine Siskin, Red Crossbill, Red-faced Warbler, Steller's Jay, Townsend's Solitaire, Virginia's Warbler, Western Wood-Pewee


Ethologist Fairy Shrimp


Merriam's Shrew, Mexican Gray Wolf, Mexican Vole, Stephen's Woodrat


Narrow-headed Gartersnake, Arizona Black Rattlesnake


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • No associated Protected Areas

Potential Partners

  • Northern Arizona University
  • Coconino National Forest
  • Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
  • Intermountain West Joint Venture
  • Audubon Southwest

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs