Established in 1955 a few miles west of Flagstaff, Arizona, Naval Observatory Flagstaff (NOFS), functions as an observing station of the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) based in Washington, D.C.
The USNO is one of the oldest scientific agencies in the country.
It is the preeminent
authority in the areas of precise time and astrometry, and distributes earth orientation parameters and other astronomical data required for accurate navigation and fundamental astronomy.
NOFS is located within the biogeographical unit known as the Arizona–New Mexico Mountains Ecoregion.
Covering an area of 6 million acres, this ecoregion extends across central Arizona, and eastward into New Mexico, and into a small portion of western Texas.
Locally, the vicinity of NOFS presents valuable habitat for a broad range of species, including several sensitive species, notably the federally threatened Mexican spotted owl.
The recently delisted bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is known to use the Rogers Lake area and other adjacent lands to NOFS for winter foraging and roosting activities.
In addition to sensitive species, geographic features such as Woody Ridge to the south of NOFS provides connectivity to the Mogollon Rim, an important natural corridor for a variety of wildlife, such as pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), black bear (Ursus americanus), and wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).
While this is known, there is still much to learn about the natural resources inhabiting within the footprint of NOFS.
The Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 (Sikes Act [as amended]) committed the U. S. Department of Defense (DoD) to prepare and implement Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan (INRMP) for its installations.
The INRMP is to provide NOFS with a basis and criteria for sound land use and management of natural resources that is integrated with its U. S. Navy mission.
As required by the Sikes and NOFS’ INRMP, the Navy is intending to collaborate with Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) for surveys of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates at NOFS.
These surveys will expound on the current data already established and will help provide a baseline inventory and inform management and project planning decisions.
This partnership with AZGFD represents important collaboration with the state wildlife agency and its capacity to assist in natural resource inventory work in the state of Arizona.