Back in 2009, SUWA and a coalition of conservation partners worked to pass the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act, which created the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA). Located at the convergence of the Mojave Desert, the Colorado Plateau, and the Great Basin ecoregions, the Red Cliffs are like nowhere else in Utah or the American West. Now, a proposed four-lane highway—the Northern Corridor Highway—threatens this remarkable place.
The Red Cliffs NCA encompasses critical habitat that sustains high densities of the threatened Mojave Desert tortoise and other imperiled species. The Virgin River, Quail Creek, and Leeds Creek provide habitat for threatened and endangered native fish of the Virgin River system. Riparian zones along these streams support diverse native species and migratory birds. Scientifically important dinosaur tracks and trackways, bone beds, plant fossils, and petrified wood are protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. For all of these reasons it’s abundantly clear: Red Cliffs is no place for a highway.
This isn’t the first time we’ve asked you to speak up in opposition to the proposed highway. Most recently, during the final days of the Trump administration, federal agencies approved a highway right-of-way despite viable transportation alternatives that meet community needs without impacting protected public lands. It was certainly a setback—but our work to protect Red Cliffs didn’t stop.
In June 2021, SUWA and other conservation organizations filed a federal lawsuit challenging the highway right-of-way decision. This November, the lawsuit was settled, meaning that federal agencies acknowledged flaws in their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) approving the highway. Now a Supplemental EIS is being prepared that reconsiders that previous approval—and it’s our second chance to speak up and ensure the Red Cliffs NCA remains roadless!
Thank you for helping us stand up for the Red Cliffs.