Activity continued in 2013 to try and get the closures lifted on Mt. Lemmon and in the Stronghold. Unfortunately, it did not happen. Discussions were held Robert Mesta of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Josh Taiz of the Coronado National Forest, and Tuk Jacobson of the Arizona Game and Fish. These discussions were held from December 2012 through March 2013. Scott McNamara and the Access Fund were continually updated on any activity regarding the Falcons.
The primary driving force to re-open discussions is that the US Fish and Wildlife service has been lax in doing the required monitoring. They are chartered to monitor the birds every three years and provide reports to the public. They have not released any results since 2003. Discussions were held with Robert Mesta, trying to get the reports, but he was unable to get any new information since the 2003 report.
The Arizona Game and Fish has not been lax however. They have monitoring reports available to the public from 2006, 2009, and 2012. The crux of the 2009 report can be summarized in this statement: "The 2009 PEFA nest site monitoring in Arizona resulted in occupancy, nest success and productivity levels that were lower than those in 2006, and well below target values for the Southwest Region." In a nutshell, based upon their sampling method (which they admit is debatable), they are concerned about the number of Peregrine Falcons and the fact that the population may be declining in Arizona.
An interesting thing to note is that the Arizona Game and Fish may have softened their position in 2012: "We recognize the current monitoring results are below target values for the Southwest Region and this remains a concern. However, the results of PEFA monitoring in Arizona have been below USFWS target values during all formal monitoring years. In the absence of baseline data for occupancy and nest success in Arizona prior to initiation (2006) of post-delisting formal monitoring surveys, we recommend the interpretation of this data be done with caution and suggest comparison to indices from other regions may be premature without further study." [Note: PEFA stands for Peregrine Falcon]
The Arizona Game and Fish reports can be seen here:Peregrine Falcon Nest Site Monitoring in Arizona - 2006, 2009, and 2012 Breeding Season Results
These are the Peregrine Falcon closures for 2013.
The penalty for climbing in any of these areas during the closures is at most $500 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.