Dead trees lie piled along the San Pedro River in Sierra Vista. Environmental activists and the federal Bureau of Land Management have filed suit in Superior Court to overturn the state's approval of water use for a proposed nearby 6,900-home and apartment development.
A sign warns hunters and trespassers to keep clear of land proposed for 6,900 homes and apartments, which would be developed north of Buffalo Soldier Trail and east of Arizona 92 in Sierra Vista. The nearby San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area was established in 1988.
On the surface, new litigation over the San Pedro is pitting the Southwest's last major free-flowing river against the future of Sierra Vista and its environs.
PHOENIX - The Arizona Supreme Court on Wednesday rebuffed efforts by the state to claim water rights tied to its 9.3 million acres of trust land.
State water officials ruled late Monday that they lack authority to stop a big Sierra Vista housing development in the name of protecting the neighboring San Pedro River from the project's groundwater pumping.
In the name of keeping the San Pedro River alive, the federal government is trying to stop Arizona from certifying that a planned Sierra Vista development has enough water for 100 years.