Interagency Wilderness Restoration

Before and after comparison of restoration.



A multi-agency effort is under way to restore lands adversely affected by cross-border activities, both by border violators and law-enforcement interdiction efforts. The Department of Homeland Security funded the restoration efforts as a result of biological opinions from the construction of the SBInet system and border security fence. The project area includes all of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge to the Pima County line and the Bureau of Land Management's
Ajo Block. The purpose of the restoration is to improve important habitat used by the endangered Sonoran Pronghorn and lesser long-nosed bat. Restoration will reverse adverse effects to pronghorn caused by habitat fragmentation, remove miles of roads in wilderness, and allow natural vegetation to recolonize
impacted areas, thus making such areas useable by pronghorn. Lesser long-nosed bats are important pollinators to columnar cacti such as saguaro and the organ pipe; restoration efforts will replant cacti removed from construction activities and allow seedlings of these species new areas to grow.

Roads are restored using a variety of methods including a passive approach to using mechanized equipment. Passive restoration will be employed simply by placing a wattle and restoration sigh at the entrance of an undesignated vehicle route (UVR). More aggressive methods are employed as
dictated by the severity of damage. Some routes may only require the use of hand tools to erase the roads while others may require equipment to erase larger UVRs and may have captured water flow. In these cases, restoring the natural sheet flow of water across the landscape as well as channeling arroyos back
into their former stream patterns requires light equipment and using biodegradable matting and wattles (20' hay tube) to prevent water from continuing to use the roads instead of their natural flow patterns.

The end result will be the removal of miles of UVRs from the landscape, provide for a more pleasant wilderness experience to visitors, and restore acres of lands for use by the animals who depend on an intact habitat for survival in a most extreme desert ecosystem. This cooperative effort by the agencies makes this daunting task possible and will help re-establish the Sonoran pronghorn into areas the animals used in the historic past and provide places for columnar cacti to grow, meeting the nectar needs of the lesser long-nosed bat, a specialized pollinating species.

Please note: Restored areas labeled with the "Restoration Area, Please Help It Grow" sign and roads marked with the "Wilderness Area Closed" brown carsonite posts are for official Government use only.


To review restoration updates please click on the date to link to the report. Documents may take time to upload or open depending on your system.

Last updated: July 29, 2023

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Mailing Address:

10 Organ Pipe Drive
Ajo, AZ 85321



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