Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

San Francisco Blue COA

This COA incorporates portions of the Blue Range Primitive Area along its northern boundary. Located near the New Mexico state line to the east, and the Eagle Creek COA to the west, the San Francisco Blue COA is characterized by its remote, rugged terrain and sparse road network. Elevations range from approximately 3,600 feet to approximately 8,200 feet, allowing the San Francisco-Blue COA to span four habitat types, from the Petran montane conifer forest within the higher elevations, down to the Great Basin conifer woodland, the Madrean woodland, and the semidesert grassland. This diversity in elevation, combined with diverse topography, geology, and vegetation types, provides habitat for numerous native wildlife and plant species. Named for the two rivers that flow through it, the San Francisco River and the Blue River, along with their key tributaries provide perennial water sources that support diverse assemblages of native aquatic and riparian dependent plant and wildlife species within this otherwise dry and rugged landscape.

Conservation Goals

  • Improve and 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.
  • Maintain and enhance travel corridors, and travel, hiding, and thermal cover for a wide variety of wildlife 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
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 maintain water quality and quantity.

2. Land and Water Management

2.3: Habitat and natural process restoration
  • Maintain natural fire regimes on the landscape through prescribed burns and natural fire management.

3. Species Management

3.2: Species recovery
  • Establish and augment populations of wildlife species in high quality habitats.
  • Conduct research that includes surveying and monitoring species and habitats to determine status and conditions so that resources can be appropriately allocated where they are most needed.
3.3: Species reintroduction
  • Reintroduce populations of leopard frogs where appropriate.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Arizona Toad, Chiricahua Leopard Frog, Lowland Leopard Frog


American Peregrine Falcon, Mexican Spotted Owl, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher


Blue Talussnail, Subalpine Mountainsnail


White-bellied Long-tailed Vole, Mexican Gray Wolf, New Mexican Jumping Mouse, Allen's Lappet-browed Bat, Hoary Bat, Silver-haired Bat, Mexican Free-tailed Bat, Southwestern Myotis, Arizona Myotis, Long-legged Myotis, Long-eared Myotis


Narrow-headed Gartersnake, Madrean Alligator Lizard, Sonoran Whipsnake, Black-necked Gartersnake


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Sandrock Research Natural Area
  • San Francisco River
  • Pigeon Creek
  • Sardine Creek
  • Coal Creek
  • Dix Creek

Potential Partners

  • Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
  • Arizona Elk Society
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • Quail Forever/Pheasants Forever
  • Mule Deer Foundation
  • Arizona Antelope Foundation
  • Arizona Deer Association
  • Audubon Southwest
  • Private Landowners

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs