Land Exchange

Land Exchange & Conservation

How the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act protects important conservation priorities throughout Arizona. 

This law, signed by President Barack Obama on December 19, 2014, will exchange 2,400 acres of federally owned land for 5,300 acres owned by Resolution Copper composed of valuable and highly sought recreational, conservation and cultural land throughout Arizona.

The 5,300 acres of important Arizona lands were selected in consultation with leading national conservation groups, with additional input by local, state and federal officials. These lands will be placed under federal stewardship after a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is issued by the United States Forest Service (USFS).

The package of lands includes:

  • 7B Ranch – Pinal County, Arizona – 3,050 acres within the San Pedro ecosystem, encompassing 7 ½ miles along the Lower San Pedro River, with habitats that include Sonoran Desert uplands, intact mesquite bosque, and river bottom lands. A 1 ½ mile nature trail winds through the mesquite woodland.  It is home to a free-flowing artesian well which feeds a wetland populated by lowland leopard frogs, resident and migratory songbirds, Sonoran mud turtles, and Ornate box turtles. Audubon has designated the entire 7B Ranch as part of a Globally Important Bird Area.
  • Appleton Whittell – Santa Cruz County, Arizona – A 940-acre tract adjacent to a congressionally established conservation area that is home to 200 bird species and 60 species of mammals.
  • Cave Creek – Maricopa County, Arizona – A 149-acre property that houses numerous archaeological sites, including petroglyphs, structure ruins, and grinding sites.
  • East Clear Creek – Coconino County, Arizona – 640 acres encompassing a notable fishery with sustained populations of both rainbow and brown trout; also home to big game such as Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, turkey, and black bear.
  • Dripping Springs – Gila County, Arizona – 160 acres identified by national rock climbers as a significant rock climbing resource.

Improvements to the bill:

  • The USFS must complete a FEIS before exchange of the lands.
  • Resolution Copper will convey 110 acres of company owned land, which will be combined with 697 acres of federal land to create the Apache Leap Special Management Area (SMA). This SMA permanently protects Apache Leap and the legislation requires a management plan be developed with stakeholder input.
  • Resolution Copper must maintain public access to Oak Flat Campground (post FEIS) until it is no longer safe.
  • Increase consultation with affected Native American tribes to find mutually acceptable measures to address concerns.

Land Exchange Parcels

The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act will allow for the conveyance of several environmentally important and biologically diverse land parcels privately owned by Resolution Copper throughout Southeast Arizona. You can read more about each land parcel by clicking on the individual fact sheets below.  Alternatively, click here to read all of them.