I've taken some time to browse through the just-released Final Draft Economic Analysis of the Critical Habitat Designation for theouthwestern Willow Flycatcher (SWFC).
In Gila County, thennual impacts areind-boggling. Fire management, water management, administration, recreation and grazingegatively impact Roosevelt Lake to the tune of $5.2 million; Coolidge (San Carlos) lake suffers a3.1 million hit; an $8.3 million annual impact on the Gila County economy. Under a generous alternative Salt River Project will take a hit of some $12 millionn unrealized annual revenues while its downstream customers will pay up to $24 million annually in added water costs.
SRP's losses could be some $40 million if the lake level is held to 2,095 feet as proposed in the prime scenario. The alternative holds the lake elevation level at 2,125 feet.
It appears, however, thathereas covered by the Lake Roosevelt Habitat Conservation Plan willrobably will be excluded from SWFC Critical Habitat Designation becauseRP haslready managed to protect the little bird's habitat.
To understand the absurdity of the SWFCroposal, all you need to know is that the lake was at 2,147 feet April 28, 22 feet over the proposed maximum lake level.. and a whopping 52 feet above the preferred maximum.
In other words, whatever SWFC remain at Roosevelt need no protection because theyither drowned oriscovered the newabitat provided by SRP.
For more information, go to http://arizonaes.fws.gov/.
Ted Thayer, Globe