“The plaintiffs in the lawsuit — the Lower San Pedro Watershed Alliance, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Tucson Audubon Society, Maricopa Audubon Society and Cascabel Conservation Association — say the development’s water use will drain surface water flows along the San Pedro River and St. David Cienega, and harm millions of migratory birds, including listed species. . . .
Bird- and wildlife-watching is a $1.4 billion industry in Arizona, said Nicole Gillett, conservation advocate for the Tucson Audubon Society, one of the plaintiffs.
“The San Pedro, being the unique habitat that it is for the whole of the Southwest of the United States, is a big draw for birders,” she said. “Any kind of water drawdown will not only damage the habitat and the species reliant on it, but we might also see fewer eco-tourists as a result of that degraded habitat.
“We all benefit from whole and healthy ecosystems,” she said. “It’s not just birds and wildlife. These are resources that, in the end, are going to be our legacy for our kids and anyone that moves to Arizona.”