This week we talk with Julia Fonseca who has worked on land and water issues in southern Arizona since 1986. Currently Julia is the Environmental Planning Manager for the Office of Sustainability and Conservation at Pima County where she works with other individuals, agencies and groups toward protecting natural resources. She co-authored a widely cited report for EPA regarding the ecological and hydrological significance of ephemeral and intermittent streams in the Southwestern US. She was also instrumental in the creation of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan which we discuss in this episode, and currently is working on the Living River program that is restoring wetlands in the Santa Cruz River using reclaimed water. Pima County in partnership with the Sonoran Institute has excellent information on this exceptional program if you want to learn more.
Early on in her career she was tasked with protecting some of the rarest and most ecologically important surface water in Pima County, and she identifies that the bifurcation of surface water and groundwater policy undermines any agencies’ ability to fully fulfill that task. She has to think about processes across the system that involve ecology, planning, law, and community needs. What I am discovering in these Fathoming Water interviews are that the best resource planners are able to see the big picture and break it down into all of its interrelated parts.