2020 Accomplishments and the Year Ahead


FRIENDS OF THE SONORAN DESERT thanks you for your support and would like to share with you our goals for 2021 and our accomplishments in 2020. With your help, 2021 will be a very productive year.

In 2020, FSD argued for greater protection of critical water resources for Sonoran Desert wildlife in meetings with Arizona State government officials. In 2021, we will continue to pursue state protections for Arizona’s waters, most of which have lost their federal protections as a result of the new "Waters of the United States Rule" enacted by the Trump Administration. FSD also will make the case to the Biden Administration that portions of the border wall that imperil Sonoran Desert wildlife and waters should be removed.


To these ends, we proudly announce the Sonoran Desert Conservation References recently posted on our website As a science-based organization, we know that our advocacy efforts must be supported by credible, peer-reviewed, published scientific references. We are providing this resource to the general public and conservation community to enhance the effectiveness of our work to protect the Sonoran Desert.


We created our Student Grant Program, to support young scientists doing conservation research in the Sonoran Desert.   Our 2020 grantees did a spectacular job. Miguel Grageda continues to collect important data that enhances our ability to protect the endangered Sonoran pronghorn, and Julie Rakes’ research on delicate desert soils will help us to understand how we can best protect this critical resource.

We also created a Student Internship Program to mentor the young professionals we need to meet the conservation challenges we face. This year our interns learned to compile IUCN Red List of Threatened Species data on the status of Sonoran Desert plants. In 2021 our interns will be trained in the nuts and bolts of managing a nongovernmental conservation organization (NGO).

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In 2020, FRIENDS OF THE SONORAN DESERT published The Astonishing, Astounding, Amazing Sonoran Desert to help fund our conservation agenda and to educate residents and visitors alike about the fascinating Sonoran Desert ecosystem and the threats it faces. Sold on Amazon and in independent bookstores and visitor centers throughout Arizona, our book would make a wonderful holiday gift and all proceeds support the work of FSD.

We hope we can count on your continued support. Stewardship of the Sonoran Desert is our top priority.  Let’s make 2021 a great year!


Blog Series on Federal Laws Waived for Border Wall

On May 16, 2018, we launched our blog series on the 48 federal laws that have been waived to expedite construction of a massive, solid wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. Beyond the 48 federal law waivers, there are countless state and local laws that have also been waived. Here is our list of the federal laws that have been waived along with the dates they were originally enacted.

Federal Laws Waived for Border Wall and Year Enacted



  1.  The Antiquities Act  (AA)     1906

  2.  The National Park Service Organic Act. (NPSOC)   1916

  3.  The Migratory Bird Treaty Act  (MBTA)      1918

  4.  The Migratory Bird Conservation Act (MBCA)     1929

  5.  The Historic Sites Act (HSA)     1935

  6.  The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA)   1936

  7.  The Reclamation Project Act (RPA) Section 10     1939

  8.  The Bald Eagle Protection Act (BEPA)       1940

  9.  The Administrative Procedure Act (APA)     1946

10.  The National Fish and Wildlife Act (NFWA)   1956

11.  The Multiple Use and Sustained Yield Act (MUSYA)   1960

12.  The Sikes Act (SA)     1960

13.  The Clean Air Act (CAA)     1963

14.  The Wilderness Act (WA)      1964

15.  The Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA)    1965

16.  The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)     1966

17.  The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act (NWRSAA)     1966

18.  The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (RSRA)     1968

19.  The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)      1970

20.  The National Park Service General Authorities Act (NPSGA)     1970

21.  The Clean Water Act (CWA)    1972

22.  The Noise Control Act (NCA)     1972

23.  The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA)    1972

24.  The Endangered Species Act (ESA)      1973

25.  The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)      1974

26.  The Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act (AHPA)    1974

27.  The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)     1976

28.  The Federal Land, Policy, and Management Act (FLPMA)    1976

29.  The National Forest Management Act (NFMA)    1976

30.  The Federal Grants Cooperative Agreements Act (FGCAA)   1977

31.  The National Parks and Recreation Act (NPRA)     1978

32.  The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA)    1978

33.  The Archaeological Resources Protection Act ( ARPA)    1979

34.  The Comp. Environmental Resp., Compensation, & Liability Act  (CERCLA)   1980

35.  The Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA)     1980

36.  The Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA)    1981

37.  The Arizona-Idaho Conservation Act (AICA)     1988

38.  The Federal Cave Resources Protection Act (FCRPA)     1988

39.  The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)     1990

40.  The Arizona Desert Wilderness Act (ADWA)      1990

41.  The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)    1993

42.  The Otay Mountain Wilderness Act (OMWA)     1999

43.  The Military Lands Withdrawal Act (MLWA)      1999

44.  The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)     2000

45.  The Paleontological Resources Protection Act (PRPA)     2009

46.  The California Desert Protection Act (CDPA)       2010

47.  The National Trails System Act (NTSA)       2017

48.  The Wild Horse and Burro Act (WHBA)       2017