The Marana Town Council will vote tonight on whether to terminate the Tortolita Preserve Habitat Preservation Agreement. The area was once a preserve for the pygmy owl, which is no longer considered endangered.
The 2,400-acre preserve was set up to protect habitat of the pygmy owl in response to development at Dove Mountain in the Tortolita Mountains. It included a 9.2-mile hiking path.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the pygmy owl as endangered from 1997 to 2006, causing development restrictions and delays on Tucson’s northwest side, where as many as 12 pygmy owls lived.
The Town Council will meet at 7 p.m. at the Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Center Drive.
Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said that if passed, the vote, which would authorize the mayor to terminate an agreement with the federal government, won’t save the town money, but it will move it a step closer toward getting out of a lease with the Arizona State Land Department.
“It enables us to now just focus on the state land and lease related to this preservation agreement,” Davidson said, adding that the agreeement that has a cost to the town has to do with state land.