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The Sierra la Mariquita was decreed a Voluntary Protected Natural Area on May 12, 2015. This Sky Island is owned by the Instituto Nacional de Astrofiscica (the Mexican national astronomy organization).

Gallery

The Sierra San Francisco is a low-desert mountain range at the edge of the Gran Desierto of northwest Sonora. This range is owned by an ejido and protected as desert bighorn sheep habitat.

Early 2015 was quite lush due to good winter rains and previous-year hurricane remnant moisture.

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By Huck

Recently I had the opportunity to see, by raft, the country I've been tramping overland for the last couple of decades. Just getting to the put-in of our trip was a logistical conundrum and an exercise in patience. We needed a shuttle driver who was comfortable in the fringe area of Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, and the driver might have to spend two, maybe three nights on the road before getting home. Then he would have to pick us up in 10 or 11 or 12…

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Peter Warshall was able to excel in many divergent endeavors. He chose to put his multi-faceted talent into bettering the world. I knew him through struggles to protect Mt Graham, interests in biogeography, and work to protect jaguars and other species in eastern Sonora. Any time I read or hear stories about Peter, I learn of another aspect of his work that is surprising and admirable. Conservation Biology recently published an obituary for him by Joel Helfrich that is worth reading.…

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On August 7, 2014 ten million gallons of a mining wastewater solution broke through containment at the Buenavista copper mine just outside of Cananea, Sonora. The sulfuric acid solution was released into the Rio Bacanuchi, a tributary of Rio Sonora, one of the largest watersheds in Sonora.

Rio Sonora is a key water source for many communities including Arizpe, Sinoquipe, Banámichi, Aconchi, Baviácora, Mazocahui, and Ures, along with substantial agriculture along its lower reaches. Rio…

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By Garry Rogers

(First in series on Sonoran Desert invasive plants.)

Introduction to Invasive Plants in Deserts

Invasive species, like storm troopers leading the surging ruin of global warming, are demolishing Earth's ecosystems.

Photograph: Once diverse landscape of small trees and tall Saguaro cactus was converted to impoverished shrubland after invasion by fire-prone plants.

Once they began crossing the oceans, Humans introduced thousands of…

Article

Is there a new highway planned to bisect the pristine El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve? It appears that it is at least an idea from photos acquired by Wild Sonora. These maps seem to show a 4-lane separated highway cut-off from Route 2 through the sand dunes just west of Pinacate down to the Route 3 coastal highway. The length from maps appears to be about 50 km and cuts right down the east/west center of the reserve.

This is certainly not in the interest of…

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(Update: this race has been put on hold, likely due to permit issues with the Mexican government.)

Southern California based off-roaders are organizing a "TRUE off-road" rally race across some of the most intact and undamaged land in North America. The exact route has not been released to the public or participants to prevent scouting. Most likely it will occur to the west or southwest of the El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve and potentially…

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This species is possibly the least know of all the box turtles. It is endemic to northwest Mexico. Read more about it in this 2011 paper Terrapene nelsoni Stejneger 1925 – Spotted Box Turtle, Tortuga de Chispitas, Tortuga de Monte.

Terrapene nelsoni seems to only be active in Sonora during the wetest part of the monsoon season, primarily the later part of July through early Sept. See more photo of these species in this Terrapene nelsoni gallery.