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Agua Fria National Monument

Agua Fria National Monument

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Encyclopedia
Agua Fria National Monument is located in the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, approximately 40 miles (64 km) north of downtown Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

. Created by Presidential proclamation on January 11, 2000, the 71,100 acre (288 km²) monument is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management already managed the lands; however, under monument status the level of protection and preservation of resources within the new monument have been enhanced.

The monument is a unit of the BLM's National Landscape Conservation System
National Landscape Conservation System
The National Landscape Conservation System is a collection of the lands considered to be the crown jewels of the American west. NLCS is also known as National Conservation Lands. These lands represent 10% of the managed by the Bureau of Land Management...

. Over 450 distinct Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 structures have been recorded in the monument, some of large pueblo
Pueblo
Pueblo is a term used to describe modern communities of Native Americans in the Southwestern United States of America. The first Spanish explorers of the Southwest used this term to describe the communities housed in apartment-like structures built of stone, adobe mud, and other local material...

s containing more than 100 rooms each. The enhanced protection status also provides greater habitat protection for the numerous plant and animal communities.

Antiquities


Petroglyph
Petroglyph
Petroglyphs are pictogram and logogram images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images...

s are scattered across the numerous puebloan ruins, which were built between 1250 and 1450 A.D. when several thousand Native Americans, known as the Perry Mesa Tradition, inhabited the region. The petroglyphs depict animals, geometic figures and abstract symbols and are found by the thousands. Numerous ruins of agricultural terraces and irrigation devices indicate that farming was widespread during this period. Other historical entities that are found include 19th century mining features and Basque
Basque diaspora
The Basque diaspora is the name given to describe people of Basque origin living outside their traditional homeland on the borders between Spain and France...

 sheep camps.


Environment


Situated between 2150 feet (655.3 m) and 4600 feet (1,402.1 m) in elevation, the monument is a blend of desert and semi-desert ecosystems. Reptile
Reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

s and amphibian
Amphibian
Amphibians , are a class of vertebrate animals including animals such as toads, frogs, caecilians, and salamanders. They are characterized as non-amniote ectothermic tetrapods...

s including the Leopard frog
Leopard frog
Leopard frogs, also called meadow frogs, are the archetypal "grass frogs" of North America, a collection of about 14 species within the true frog genus Rana. They are generally very similar, green with prominent black spotting...

, the Garter snake
Garter snake
The Garter snake is a Colubrid snake genus common across North America, ranging from Alaska and Canada to Central America. It is the single most widely distributed genus of reptile in North America. The garter snake is also the Massachusettsstate reptile.There is no real consensus on the...

, the Desert tortoise
Desert Tortoise
The desert tortoise is a species of tortoise native to the Mojave desert and Sonoran desert of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. They can be located in western Arizona, southeastern California, southern Nevada, and southwestern Utah. The species name agassizii is in honor of...

, can be seen in the monument. Mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s such as the Pronghorn
Pronghorn
The pronghorn is a species of artiodactyl mammal endemic to interior western and central North America. Though not an antelope, it is often known colloquially in North America as the prong buck, pronghorn antelope, or simply antelope, as it closely resembles the true antelopes of the Old World and...

, Mule deer
Mule Deer
The mule deer is a deer indigenous to western North America. The Mule Deer gets its name from its large mule-like ears. There are believed to be several subspecies, including the black-tailed deer...

, White-tail deer and Javelina are relatively common. The elk
Elk
The Elk is the large deer, also called Cervus canadensis or wapiti, of North America and eastern Asia.Elk may also refer to:Other antlered mammals:...

 (wapiti), black bear
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most common bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in...

s and Mountain lions are also found in the monument, but are much less common. Native fish including the Longfin dace, the Gila mountain sucker, Speckled dace, and three endangered native fish including the Gila chub, Gila Topminnow, and desert pupfish exist in the 129 miles (207.6 km)-long Agua Fria River and its tributaries.

In late 2004, the BLM
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior which administers America's public lands, totaling approximately , or one-eighth of the landmass of the country. The BLM also manages of subsurface mineral estate underlying federal, state and private...

 and the Sierra Club
Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892, in San Francisco, California, by the conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president...

 helped spark the formation of the Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument, a non-profit organization
Non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

 created to assist the federal agency
Federal agency
Federal agency may refer to:*United States federal agencies—see List of United States federal agencies*Federal agency -See also:*Government agency*Statutory corporation*Statutory Agency*Crown corporation*Government-owned corporation...

in monument protection, management, and outreach.

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