Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Silver Creek to Little Colorado River COA

The Silver Creek to Little Colorado River COA consists of approximately 44 miles of mostly perennial Silver Creek, as well as its associated riparian and adjacent upland habitat, from its spring source within the AZGFD-owned Silver Creek Hatchery, at an elevation of approximately 6,100 feet, downstream to its confluence with the Little Colorado River, at an elevation of approximately 5,200 feet. Two habitat types are included within this COA, beginning upstream within the Great Basin conifer woodland, then transitioning into the Plains and Great Basin grassland habitat type. This COA provides habitat for aquatic- and riparian-dependent species, as well as migratory birds, and provides connectivity areas with the Lower Little Colorado River COA.

Conservation Goals

  • Improve and maintain woodland and grassland 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.
  • Protect and enhance instream flows for the benefit of aquatic and riparian species.
  • 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

1.2: Wood and pulp operations

3. Climate Change and Severe Weather

3.1: Habitat shifting and alteration
3.3: Temperature extremes

4. Residential and Commercial Development

4.1: Housing and urban areas

7. Human Intrusions and Disturbance

7.1: Recreational activities
7.3: Work and other activities

8. Invasive and Other Problematic Species

8.1: Invasive non-native species
8.2: Problematic native species

9. Natural System Modifications

9.1: Fire and fire suppression
9.2: Dams and water management

Potential Conservation Actions

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.
  • Improve recreational management to better protect riparian areas.
  • Restore and maintain diverse habitats to support broad species assemblages that account for range shifts.
2.2: Invasive/problematic species control
  • Identify and protect key wildlife corridors for landscape connectivity.

3. Species Management

3.1: Management of specific species of concern
  • Establish new wild and/or captive populations of climate vulnerable SGCN, including Chiricahua leopard frog and narrow-headed gartersnake.
  • Collect specimens or samples for taxonomic analysis, genetics, research, and/or disease testing.
  • Implement long-term monitoring protocols for vulnerable species and habitats to inform adaptive management.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Northern Leopard Frog


Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Mountain Bluebird, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, Common Nighthawk


Monarch, Diablo Mountainsnail


Springerville Pocket Mouse, Hoary Bat, Silver-haired Bat


Plateau Fence Lizard


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Silver Creek Hatchery

Potential Partners

  • Pueblo of Zuni
  • Arizona State Land Department
  • Arizona Department of Fire and Forestry Management
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Navajo County
  • Arizona Antelope Foundation
  • Mule Deer Foundation
  • Arizona Deer Association
  • Quail Forever/Pheasants Forever
  • Audubon Southwest
  • Private Landowners

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs