For Immediate Release, January 31, 2011
Contact: Michelle Harrington, Arizona Rivers, (602) 628-9909
Library Exhibit Celebrates Verde River–Arizona’s Desert Jewel
PRESCOTT, Ariz.— Arizona Rivers and the Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter of the Sierra Club have teamed up with local photographer Gary Beverly and artist Edie Dillon to deliver a mixed-media interpretive exhibit to the Prescott Public Library for the month of February. The exhibit, titled, “The Verde River: Green Heart of Arizona – Endangered Desert Jewel,” celebrates this ecological and aesthetic treasure in Prescott’s backyard.
“The Verde River provides important habitat for people and wildlife alike,” said Sandy Bahr, Director for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “This exhibit will help demonstrate the significance of this vibrant ecological corridor, how it is threatened, and what we can all do to help.”
Both Arizona Rivers and the Sierra Club-Grand Canyon Chapter host a variety of events to inform local citizens about threats to the Verde River that include groundwater pumping, destructive recreation, water pollution, and human population growth. The Verde has attracted the concern of national conservation organizations, including American Rivers, which included the river in its 2006 list of the country’s top 10 most endangered rivers.
“Projected population growth in the region will create an unmet demand for water of more than double the flow of the upper Verde River,” says Michelle Harrington, executive director of Arizona Rivers. “The City of Prescott’s plans to import water from the Big Chino aquifer – the Verde’s headwaters – could eventually destroy the upper river if it is not adequately mitigated. Clearly, though, Prescott’s pipeline is only part of a very large potential problem. The public must be involved in decisions about the Verde’s future, and that includes population growth and water resource planning.”
The library exhibit is installed in the “Viewerie” along the back inside wall. Panels in the 42-foot display area tell the Verde’s story through words and images. Viewers are introduced to the diverse array of plants and animals that depend on the river, the myriad threats it faces, and the role the community can play in speaking up for our watershed and protecting the life blood of central Arizona, the Verde River.
The exhibit also includes a variety of ways the public can do its part to protect the Verde River. Recreationists are encouraged to practice the principals of “leave no trace,” and off-road vehicle users are encouraged to stay on legal trails and to learn about the way vehicle use impacts wildlife habitat and riparian vegetation. The public is also urged to visit the Verde, support Wild and Scenic designation for the upper river segment, practice personal water conservation, and encourage local officials to transition to a sustainable water economy.
The Verde River exhibit will remain on display at the Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St., Prescott, through February 28. Library hours are Monday, Friday, and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Wednesday, 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information or for information about displaying the exhibit in another location, call Edie Dillon at (928) 277-9155.
Arizona Rivers is a nonprofit organization working to protect the state’s imperiled rivers and riparian habitats in support of diverse native fish communities, wildlife, plants, and human health and enjoyment.
The Sierra Club is a grassroots environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and supporters nationwide, 12,000 of whom reside in Arizona as part of the Grand Canyon Chapter. The Sierra Club mission is “to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; and to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environments.”
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