Greenprint Projects

Central Arizona Greenprint


Hiker in a rugged desert landscape.
Maricopa County View of Phoenix from local mountains. © TNC

Maricopa County is situated at the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, a singular place on the planet, rich in diversity of people, cultures, landscapes, flora, and fauna. Although it is sometimes perceived as desolate, the Sonoran Desert is the most biodiverse desert in North America.

The Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA) created this Greenprint of Central Arizona in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land. (

The Greenprint actually covers not only Maricopa County, but large portions of the surrounding watersheds, the area of operation for CAZCA. CAZCA is working to conserve, restore, and raise awareness for open space in Central Arizona. CAZCA is guided by the Regional Open Space Strategy, which outlines four goals for conservation activity. The goals of the CAZCA strategy are:

  • GOAL 1: Protect & Connect Ensure a robust network of natural areas to sustain habitat, provide opportunity for recreation, support clean air and water resources, and improve resilience to drought, extreme heat, and flooding.
  • GOAL 2: Sustain & Restore Identify and engage best practices in land management and restoration to sustain and enhance native biodiversity, positive recreational experiences, and socio-economic benefits connected with the Sonoran Desert.
  • GOAL 3: Love & Support Build champions and the constituency of support and action for Sonoran Desert conservation by raising awareness and connecting people with nature.
  • GOAL 4: Coordinate & Elevate Build upon the CAZCA foundation to ensure and amplify regional open space planning, management, and conservation successes.

The Greenprint aims to help the public, land managers, non-profits, municipalities, developers, and anyone with an interest in conservation of natural resources make decisions and understand how natural resources interact with urban areas in Central Arizona.