Items by Tony Davis

The right-wing heiress who changed course in the desert
The right-wing heiress who changed course in the desert
Looking back on Bazy Tankersley: publisher, rancher and conservationist
The BLM fights for the Southwest’s last free-flowing river
The BLM fights for the Southwest’s last free-flowing river
A federal agency asserts its water rights to the San Pedro river in a case that might eventually lead to limits on growth in Arizona.
A Mexican rancher struggles to shift from cattle to conservation
A Mexican rancher struggles to shift from cattle to conservation
In Northwest Mexico, rancher Carlos Robles Elías works hard to make his Rancho El Aribabi into an oasis of biodiversity, despite the challenges of a sagging economy and rampant drug cartel violence.
How conservation works south of the border
How conservation works south of the border
Maps, photos and text describe some of the federal and private, nonprofit work in Northwest Mexico to preserve imperiled landscapes and a rich diversity of plants and animals.
Hardrock Mining Showdown
Hardrock Mining Showdown
In southern Arizona, the Forest Service is debating whether to defy the 1872 Mining Law and stop a controversial copper mine.
"Curious about the human condition"
"Curious about the human condition"
A conversation with Western writer Philip Fradkin.
'Firebrand ways'
'Firebrand ways'
Longtime activist Kieran Suckling talks about the Center for Biological Diversity.
Non-navigable River Blues
Non-navigable River Blues
An obscure legal ruling muddied U.S. water-protection standards, leaving Western intermittent streams and rivers unprotected.
Ultimate solution?
Southern California wants to use desalination to increase its water supply, but critics think the idea needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
The Battle for the Verde
The Verde River is one of Arizona’s last free-flowing stream, but environmental and local activists fear an ambitious planned pipeline, designed to bring groundwater to the growing Prescott area, will end up sucking the river dry
Fed up with paying to play
Chris Wallace’s refusal to pay daily user fees on Arizona’s Mount Lemmon led to a courtroom decision that has thrown the entire future of the federal recreational fee program into doubt
Have golf's glory days gone by?
Golf – the game that brought grass to the desert – appears to have hit a rough patch in the West
How a tiny owl changed Tucson
The cactus ferruginous pygmy owl has been removed from the endangered species list, but Tucson area leaders say they plan to continue the desert conservation efforts put in place to help the very rare bird
Reality Check
Misinformation and exaggeration abound in the debate over the Endangered Species Act’s critical habitat provisions
ESA talks end in stalemate
A working group of 23 experts convened by the nonprofit Keystone Center could not reach consensus over how to reform the Endangered Species Act’s critical habitat provisions
Critical Habitat: The Inside Story
A behind-the-scenes look at the struggle over critical habitat reveals the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be an agency at war with itself
High Noon for Habitat
In Riverside County, Calif., the conflict between the Endangered Species Act’s critical habitat rule and the West’s booming, sprawling, growth-driven economy comes to a head
Science: The chink in Quivira's armor
The Quivira Coalition has a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting its claim that its grazing methods work, but hard, independent science on the topic is much harder to find
The 'New Ranch' poster child hangs on by a thread
Rancher Jim Williams believes the Quivira Coalition helped change his life, but restoring his arid rangeland has proved difficult, and between drought and an uncertain economy, the future of his ranch still hangs in the balance
Rangeland Revival
The Quivira Coalition wants to bring peace and prosperity to the West’s public grazing lands, but some critics question whether the collaboration-based group can accomplish its goals
New grazing rules ride on doctored science
The Bureau of Land Management rewrote a scientific report critical of its new grazing rules, and two veteran scientists have quit the agency in protest
Developer under fire for destroying desert
Developer George Johnson is being sued by the state of Arizona for major violations of environmental laws, committed in the early stages of his planned La Osa Ranch development
Death of the San Pedro: Not if, but when
Groundwater pumping in the Sierra Vista area may be already reducing water flow to the San Pedro River
A Thirst for Growth
In Sierra Vista, Ariz., a partnership of developers, environmentalists and government agencies is trying to keep the San Pedro River alive, while at the same time allowing for continued growth in this burgeoning Sunbelt city
Arizona voters say 'yes' to open space
Even the National Rifle Association came out in support of a Tucson, Ariz., open-space saving bond, which passed in a landslide despite complaints from critics that it was just pork
Cougar hunt creates uproar
Following a flurry of sightings and a much-publicized, ill-starred hunt for mountain lions in Sabino Canyon near Tucson, Arizonans push for changes in how the state manages its big cats
Biologist busted for moving endangered cacti
Tucson environmental consultant Mary Darling pleads guilty to illegally moving endangered Pima pineapple cacti, in a complicated plan to raise the value of local real estate
Fires take toll on San Diego’s wildlife
The October wildfires in Southern California burned rare trees and may have caused the extinction of a butterfly -- proving, some say, that San Diego’s Multiple Species Conservation Program did not protect enough habitat to save imperiled species
Behind the scenes, pressure and doubt
Two former Fish and Wildlife Service biologists had early doubts about San Diego’s Multiple Species Conservation Program, criticizing the limits of the program’s science and its inability to protect a population of endangered willowy monardella
Amid smoke and sprawl, some success
It’s too early to know the impact wildfires have had on the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge and the Crestridge wildlife preserve, two of the successes of the Multiple Species Conservation Program