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  • Writer's pictureMark L. Johnson

TA Annual Report-2020

2020 was the inaugural year for the Tortolita Alliance (TA). Much was accomplished despite the pandemic.

In January, TA members met and developed a multi-year strategic plan. The TA Strategic Plan has been updated and presents a one-page summary of accomplishments. The following presents a more comprehensive review of TA activities in 2020.


The Tortolita Alliance (TA) is local non-profit organization that advocates for the continued conservancy of the Tortolita Preserve (TP) and associated lands, ensuring protection of open space, wildlife habitat, watershed, and compatible recreational use.


TA was formed in the fall of 2019 in response to the Town of Marana (Marana) and Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) attempt to reconfigure and re-zone TP. TA members showed up in force and convinced Marana to leave TP as is and eliminate the proposed Special Planning Area (SPA) designation for TP and surrounding lands.


TA became an Arizona Non-Profit Corporation on 1/9/20. TA Bylaws were approved on 2/28/20. The Board Members/Officers consists of the following seven volunteers:

Mark Johnson-President

Jim Tripp-Vice President

Dave Barker-Secretary

Alyssa Page-Treasurer

Thom Rossa-Director

Tom Hannagan-Director

David Howe-Director

TA membership is free and is obtained by filling out the Membership Form on the TA Website. Currently, TA has 520 members.

TA maintains Directors & Officers Liability Insurance and General Liability Insurance.

All financial transactions and reporting are in accordance with accepted accounting principles and practices and performed by volunteer financial expert volunteers.

TA maintains a mailbox at 12090 N Thornydale Road, Suite 100-#328, Marana, AZ 85658.


TA prepared a multi-year Budget (2019-2024) which includes expenditures of approximately $3,000/year. The TA Income Statement & Balance Sheet (12/31/20) shows total income of $4,840 and total expenses of $2,803 for a net profit of $2,037 which will go toward 2021 expenditures.

Strategic Plan

The first TA General Meeting for all members was held on 1/31/20. Participants helped develop a multi-year TA Strategic Plan. The following sections describe in more detail the accomplishments within the major objectives of the Strategic Plan.

Environment & Education

  • Tucson Audubon Collaboration-established TP as eBird HotSpot.

  • Invasive Species Removal-worked with Stan Ross (Dove Mountain resident) and sponsored bufflegrass pull on 2/28/20.

  • Wildlife Corridor Protection/Enhancement-collaborated with Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection (CSDP), requested Marana to complete Open Space and Wildlife Conservation Master Plan on several occasions, monitored Coyote Pass wildlife corridor developer requirement.

  • US Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS) Collaboration-met with Scott Richardson (Tucson office) on 3/20/20 and received pygmy owl and Sonoran desert turtle endangered species listing update.


  • Water Education-completed an 11-Part Know Your H2O Series on water in Arizona. Guest opinion editorial Re-Water Arizona published in the Arizona Daily Star on 9/15/20.

  • Drought-attended the Local Drought Impact Group meetings coordinated by Pima County and published four Drought Reports.

  • Marana Water/Tuscon Water Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA)-provided IGA Comment Letter on the proposed IGA between Marana Water and Tucson Water regarding wheeling Marana’s Colorado River allotment through Tucson Water’s system to serve remote Marana customers.

  • Stormwater-Attended the Pima County Flood Control District Community meeting on 2/19/20 and obtained Marana stormwater studies/reports which are currently under review.


  • TP Lease Rent Analysis-completed three-part series entitled Lease-onomics which described the history of the TP lease, how it is funded by Hotel Sales Tax Revenues via the Bed Tax Fund and put the lease in perspective by comparing the lease payment to Dove Mountain developer concessions and other economic comparisons.

  • Development Watchdog-monitored all Marana Town Council Meetings and Study Sessions and Planning Commission Meetings.

  • Public Comment-submitted 15 written and verbal comments on several development projects and proposed policy/regulatory changes.

  • Dove Mountain Development Status-quarterly Status Report & Map.

  • Natural Undisturbed Open Space (NUOS)-submitted Comment Letter regarding Subdivision Onsite Recreational Area Requirement and NUOS. TA supports a minimum of 30% NUOS with no credit for on-site recreational areas and stormwater areas.

Government Watchdog/Political

  • Political Policy-established policy to support (with no financial contributions) candidates who endorse TA Mission in non-partisan elections. Will attempt to get partisan politicians to support TA.

  • Town Council Election-endorsed Jackie Craig and she was elected by an overwhelming margin.

  • Make Marana 2040 General Plan-endorsed the General Plan, which was ultimately approved by 78% of Marana voters in August.

  • Master Planning-endorsed the Park & Recreation Master Plan-2020-2030. Requested Marana on several occasions to complete the other 11 master plans identified in the General Plan.

Agency/Group Collaboration

  • Marana Parks & Recreation-established TP Partners Group to tackle the issue of Off Highway Vehicles (OHVs) and cattle in TP. Endorsed Parks & Recreation Master Plan. Collaborated on TP fencing, signage, events and more.

  • Pima County Parks & Recreation and Natural Resources-met with NRPR on 5/6/20 and provided CAP/I-10 Trail Bridge Support Letter.

  • Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection-collaborated on Marana development and wildlife/open space issues.

  • Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists-member of TP Partners.


  • Website Enhancements-website was revamped in May for better organization. Social media interactions were put on hold.

  • Logo-TA Logo was developed with assistance from Eva Orduno and is now used for all official TA communication.

  • TA Tidbits & Alerts-issued 15 TA Tidbit newsletters and multiple alerts of issues/activities. Published several wildlife and wildflower photos taken by TA members on hikes in the TP and Tortolita Mountains.

  • Wildfires-issued multiple alerts for the Tortolita, Westridge, Dove and Edwin Fires. TA members hiked to burned areas and documented vegetation fire damage and provided to Pima County Natural Resources.

  • Tee Shirts-tee shirts with new logo were offered with portion of purchase cost supporting TA efforts.

  • General Meeting-first meeting held on 1/31/21 prior to pandemic. Utilized website/email for TA communication to avoid COVID-19 issues.

  • RTAnext-sponsored Zoom Presentation on 9/16/20 with Mindy Blake regarding Regional Transit Authority transportation projects.

2021 Activities

TA will continue to implement the multi-year Strategic Plan in 2021. All Board Members/Officers will remain in their current positions. Key activities will include:

  • Resolve Inappropriate TP Access Issues-e.g. OHVs, cattle, poachers, etc.

  • TP Fencing-work with Marana P&R to get western portion of TP fenced as soon as possible.

  • 2022 Town Council Election-continue identifying strong candidates that support TA's Mission.

  • Meet With Marana Interim Town Manager-explore ways that TA can effectively work with Marana.

  • Fund Raiser-develop and implement TA fund raiser in early Spring to ensure funding for 2021 and beyond.

  • Tucson Clean & Beautiful (TC&B) Collaboration-conduct Santa Cruz River trash clean-up within the Tortolita Fan watershed.

  • Watchdog-continue to monitor Marana Town Council Meetings & Study Sessions and Planning Commission Meetings.

  • Communication-continue timely communication of issues, information, events, etc. via the TA website.


A very special thanks to the TA Board/Officers, TA members and volunteers for your loyal support!


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