From Grassroots to Grass Tops

AZ WRAN News – February 2017

Arizona’s WRAN membership knows that when you play politics with our rivers, you are playing politics with our birds, other wildlife, habitats, communities, and economies.  That’s why when HB2112 threatened to require candidates for the Central Arizona Project (CAP) Board of Directors to have their party designation on the election ballot, nearly 500 of you took action by speaking out against the legislation.

Your voice was heard and the House of Representatives rejected the bill on a bipartisan 27-32 vote.  However, we can’t claim victory just yet - Representative Mark Finchem of Oro Valley is working to revive the measure.  WRAN will always value our rivers, birds, and other wildlife over any political agenda. Stand with us by taking action today!

When submitting your letters to your Representatives, rest assured that we work hard to make sure that when your letters land on your legislators’ desks, the WRAN brand is viewed as credible, science-based, and bipartisan.  One way we do this is by making face-to-face connections with our leaders during our annual leadership day at the Legislature – the day when AZ WRAN leaders from across the state gather at the state capitol to speak up on behalf of Arizona’s rivers.

This year, the event was held on February 1st.  Throughout the day, our team of Audubon Chapters, policy and resource experts, and leaders in the hunting and angling community met with House and Senate leadership and members of key natural resource committees.  They educated these policy makers about issues important to the Network and reminded them that WRAN is their go-to resource for issues relating to rivers, birds, and wildlife.

A conversation about upcoming water-related legislative priorities with House Speaker JD Mesnard and Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs kicked off the day. From there, our group split into teams, each meeting with key legislators to discuss critical issues like groundwater management, funding the Arizona Department of Water Resources, the Lake Mead structural deficit, the Drought Contingency Plan, and others.  Over lunch, WRAN leaders met with Ed Sanchez, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Legislative Liaison, Sarah Porter, Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy, and Clint Chandler, the Arizona Department of Water Resources’ Colorado River Program Director.  Meetings continued through the afternoon and we closed out the day by having our team introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives by Representative Kristen Engel.

The doors we opened during this year’s Western Rivers Day at the Legislature will be incredibly valuable throughout the legislative season. Thanks to Tucson, Desert Rivers, Yuma, and Maricopa Audubon, Trout Unlimited, the Arizona Elk Society, the Arizona Antelope Foundation, Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation, the Arizona Wildlife Federation, and the Arizona League of Cities and Towns for helping us make these leadership meetings so successful.

The continuing willingness of legislators from both sides of the political aisle to meet and exchange information with WRAN leaders is evidence that the Network is a respected and powerful advocate for Arizona’s rivers.  With your help, we will continue to speak up on behalf of rivers, birds, habitat, and other wildlife – take action today and stay tuned for more opportunities to take a stand for western rivers!

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