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San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

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The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area contains nearly 57000 acres (230.7 km²) of public land in Cochise County, Arizona
Cochise County, Arizona
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*78.5% White*4.2% Black*1.2% Native American*1.9% Asian*0.3% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*4.0% Two or more races*9.6% Other races*32.4% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

, between the international border and St. David, Arizona
St. David, Arizona
St. David is a census-designated place in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. The population was 1,744 at the 2000 census.-History:...

. The riparian area, where some 40 miles (64.4 km) of the upper San Pedro River
San Pedro River (Arizona)
San Pedro River is a northward-flowing stream originating about ten miles south of Sierra Vista, Arizona near Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. It is one of only two rivers which flow north from Mexico into the United States. The river flows north through Cochise County, Pima County, Graham County, and...

 meanders, was designated by Congress as a Riparian National Conservation Area on November 18, 1988. The primary purpose for the special designation is to protect and enhance the desert riparian ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

, a rare remnant of what was once an extensive network of similar riparian systems throughout the American Southwest. One of the most important riparian areas in the United States, the San Pedro River runs through the Chihuahuan Desert
Chihuahuan Desert
The Chihuahuan Desert is a desert, and an ecoregion designation, that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border in the central and northern portions of the Mexican Plateau, bordered on the west by the extensive Sierra Madre Occidental range, and overlaying northern portions of the east range, the Sierra...

 and the Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which straddles part of the United States-Mexico border and covers large parts of the U.S. states of Arizona and California and the northwest Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is one of the largest and hottest...

 in southeastern Arizona. The river’s stretch in the southern San Pedro Valley
San Pedro Valley (Arizona)
The San Pedro Valley of western Cochise County Arizona is a 50 mile long, mostly north-south valley, trending northwesterly. It drains from Sierra Vista Southeast north towards I-10, Benson, and the southeast of the Rincon Mountains....

 is home to 84 species of 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, 14 species of fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, 41 species of 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
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, and 100 species of breeding bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s. It also provides invaluable habitat for 250 species of migrant and wintering birds and contains archaeological sites representing the remains of human occupation from 13,000 years ago.

The area is administered by the Bureau of Land Management
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...