Arizona Land and Water Trust is raising $8 million to protect Sopori Creek and Farm, a unique 1,300-acre area with rare grandfathered-water rights, irrigated farmland, a rich biotic community and a storied history.

The land is currently owned by developers and subject to development. It lies amidst 25,000 acres of protected land—connecting a vital riparian corridor along the Sopori Creek with the Santa Cruz River.

Sopori Creek and Farm offers a rare opportunity to become the headquarters for planning the future of Southern Arizona’s farming and ranching.

Once protected, this location will provide farmers and ranchers a place where key issues, such as climate change, water shortages and land succession can be explored.  It will be a nationally recognized center of excellence in sustainable land use practices.


Campaign Advisory Committee

Bruce Babbitt, former Governor of Arizona and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior

Dan Bell, Third Generation Rancher – ZZ Cattle Corporation

John Bernal, former Deputy Pima County Administrator and former U.S. Commissioner – International Boundary and Water Commission

Bruce Bracker, Santa Cruz County Supervisor and Vice Chairman for District 3

Bill Brake, Arizona Game and Fish Commissioner, Rancher – Rose Tree Ranch, former CEO and President – HollyFrontier Corporation

Sarah Brown, Member – Southern Arizona Young Farmers and Ranchers Coalition

Dr. Carlos ‘Kent’ Campbell, MD, Public Health Physician, Global and Malaria Health Expert

Elizabeth K. Campbell, Medical-Scientific-Legal Librarian U.S. and abroad

Dean Fish, Rancher – Anchor F Cattle, Ranch Manager – Santa Fe Ranch

Maura Grogan, former Loan Fund Director at Growth Partners Arizona, 1976 Winter Olympic athlete, Independent Consultant

Cameron Jones, Farm Manager, Member – Southern Arizona Young Farmers and Ranchers Coalition

Mary Noon Kasulaitis, Author, Historian, Rancher

Carol Lambert, former Executive Director of Southeast Arizona Land Trust and advisor to ALWT

Kimber Lanning, Entrepreneur, Business Leader, Community Development Specialist, Founder – Local First Arizona


Amy McCoy, Water Policy Specialist, Ecologist, Founding Partner of Martin & McCoy

Andrew McGibbon, Rancher – Santa Rita Ranch

Gary Nabhan, Agricultural Ecologist, Ethnobotanist, Ecumenical Franciscan Brother, Author, MacArthur Fellow, John Burroughs Medal Award winner

Laurinda Oswald, Rancher and Farmer – Oswald Cattle Company

Hank Peck, Estate Planner, Advisor and Shareholder – TCI Wealth Advisors

Vanessa Prileson, Rangeland Program Manager – Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation

Richard Pritzlaff, President – Biophilia Foundation, Managing Partner – Borderlands Restoration L3c

Jason Rowley, President & CEO – Phoenix Suns, Rancher – Santa Lucia Ranch

Tom Sheridan, Historical and Environmental Anthropologist, Professor at The University of Arizona Southwest Center

Ian Tomlinson, Rancher – Vera Earl, Attorney

Scott Vandervoet, Vandervoet & Associates, Santa Cruz Cold Storage, Immediate Past Chair & Board Member – Fresh Produce Association of the Americas

David Yetman, Research Social Scientist and Distinguished Outreach Professor at The University of Arizona Southwest Center, Host – In the Americas with David Yetman

Ricardo Crisantes, Chief Commercial Officer
Wholesum Farms

Sopori Creek and Farm Capital Campaign Committee

Diana Freshwater
Ben Brophy
Charlotte Hanson
Laura Brown
Lynn Harris
Peggy Rowley
Nanette Pageau
Will Murray
George Ruyle

Video Testimonials

Arizona landowners and conservationists tell why they know that the Sopori Creek and Farm project is critical to the health of Southern Arizona’s western landscapes, wildlife habitat and the waters that sustain them.

Peggy Rowley

Peggy Rowley of the Santa Lucia ranch talks about her passion for The Sopori Creek and Farm. She discusses water, ranching succession and the romance of the landscape.

Gary Paul Nabhan

Gary Paul Nabhan is an internationally-celebrated nature writer, agrarian activist and ethnobiologist who tangibly works on conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity.

Laura Brown

Laura and her husband have been contributing to the Tucson community for more than 25 years. Laura has served on the Board of The Nature Conservancy of Arizona. Laura’s family has a farm in Vermont and she is passionate about land and water conservation in Arizona.

Charlotte Hanson

Charlotte is a conservationist who moved from New York to Tucson in 2006. In New York she served on boards of the Peconic Land Trust and Oysterponds Historical Society.

Britt Simmons

Britt is the retired Partner-in-Charge at Regier, Carr & Monroe, L.L.P. He specialized in complex estate and business tax planning and has over 35 years of certified public accounting experience.

Karen Riggs

Karen is a civil engineer and represents the third generation of her ranching family. She is raising a family of Future Farmers of America.

Fritz Jandrey

Fritz Jandrey is a political scientist who worked for over 20 years at the Arizona State Museum. He assisted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with big horn sheep waterhole surveys in the Cabeza Prieta preserve.

Ben Brophy

Ben comes from a third generation ranching family and is the Managing Partner of the Babacomari Ranch Company in southeast Arizona, the largest contiguous private land parcel in Arizona.

Les Corey

Most recently serving as Executive Director for the Arizona Wilderness Coalition and previously Chief Development Officer and Chief Field Operations Officer for National Audubon Society, Les has been a conservation leader for over 35 years.

Diana Freshwater

Diana is a conservationist and land planner. Diana was the Trust’s first full-time Executive Director, leading the organization to six full-time staff and establishing the Trust as Arizona’s first water trust.

George Ruyle

George is a noted conservation ranching expert, professor and extension specialist with the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment. 

Bill Shaw

Bill is Professor Emeritus of Wildlife and Fisheries Science at The University of Arizona School of Natural Resources and the Environment. He has worked on a host of conservation studies in Southern Arizona.

Liz Petterson

After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Liz worked for the Soil & Water Conservation Districts. Liz joined the Trust in 2007 as Land and Water Program Manager and became Executive Director in 2011.

Vanessa  Prileson

Vanessa Prileson is the Rangeland Program Manager with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation. Vanessa has worked on cattle ranches in the southwestern U.S. and for the U.S. Forest Service in Arizona. Vanessa has a background in animal and range sciences and is a member of the National Young Farmers and Ranchers Coalition.

Dean Fish

Dean grew up on the Santa Fe Ranch and attended local schools and attended Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, where he attained his B.S. (Animal Science), M.S. and PhD (Reproductive Physiology) degrees from the U of A.

Sopori Creek and Farm Project Map

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