The city of Phoenix has added another 1,546 acres to its desert preserve system.
The city added the land to the Sonoran Preserve in northern Phoenix at a State Trust Land auction on Wednesday.
With this latest purchase, the city's Sonoran Preserve has grown to more than 9,164 total acres, and the city's desert preserve system citywide now encompasses more than 32,500 acres.
The $24.1 million purchase price was covered by a $4.4 million state Growing Smarter State Trust Land Acquisition Program grant, with the remaining $19.7 million from the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative.
The land in the new preserve is unique to the city's preserve system. Much of it is located in the transition zone to the Arizona Upland subdivision of the Sonoran Desert. The area is characterized by higher amounts of rainfall, up to 12.5 inches a year, which increases in both the lushness and diversity of plant life.
South Mountain, Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak are located in the Lower Colorado River Valley - the largest and most arid subdivision of the Sonoran Desert. With only 7.5 inches of rainfall a year, vegetation in these areas is sparser and less varied.
The PPPI was re-authorized by 83 percent of Phoenix voters in May 2008. It authorized the continuation of a modest sales tax for a 30-year period to purchase thousands of acres of state trust land and to fund construction of and improvements to regional, neighborhood and community parks.
The public lands purchased were reclassified for conservation through the Arizona Preserve Initiative, established by the governor and Legislature in 1996. Voters passed Growing Smarter in 1998 to fund the matching grant provision of the API through 2012.
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