Entries tagged with “arizona rivers”.
Did you find what you wanted?
Thu 28 Jul 2011
“In this sometimes turbulent world, the river is a cosmic symbol of durability
and destiny; awesome, but steadfast. In this period of deep national concern,
I wish everyone could live for a while beside a great river.”
– Helen Hayes, American actor
We can’t disguise it. This is an appeal for support. But we’ll keep it brief.
You and I both know that Arizona’s environment has taken some big hits, policy-wise, in 2010. The Arizona legislature raised the politics of distraction to a new (and highly unprofessional) level, drowning reason in a rising ocean of ideology. Arizona’s parks and environmental protections suffered greatly at the hands of our legislature this session.
The message couldn’t be clearer. It’s going to be up to the citizens to protect our rivers.
And not a minute too soon.
In 2006, Shaun McKinnon and the Arizona Republic printed a scathing series on Arizona’s ruined rivers.
Ruined. Their word. Sadly, it’s an apt description.
Since then, some things have gotten better. And Arizona Rivers board members and staff have been hard at work. Fossil Creek has been restored with full flows, native fish stockings, and multiple bankside clean-ups. In 2009, this incredible stream received federal Wild and Scenic River designation, and a comprehensive resource management plan is in the works. The Verde River gained national attention as an American Rivers “Most Endangered River” in 2006, and grassroots opposition to the Big Chino pipeline — as well as the economic slowdown — has put the biggest individual threat to the Verde on a back burner for the time-being. Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court gave Arizona’s rivers a boost by refusing to take the state’s side on the navigability issue, which means that the federal government can indeed protect rivers.
But too much hasn’t changed since the Arizona Republic report – and in some cases, things have even gotten worse. The San Pedro River barely flows in the summer. The Verde River is still facing the threat of depletion due to population growth, development, and diversion. The Salt River is still dammed and is, in most places throughout the Phoenix area, a dry wash. The Santa Cruz River through Tucson only flows in response to storms and sewage treatment plant returns.
Your support for Arizona Rivers could, in fact, change history for Arizona’s rivers.
Your support for Arizona Rivers could write a new story – one that profiles recovery, not ruination.
Please support Arizona Rivers.
We work for rivers, and we work for you. We educate the public, and gather comments in support of greater river protections (as with the Fossil Creek Comprehensive River Management Plan expected in 2012). We contribute commentary and technical information to the media, to blogs, and to investigative reporters throughout Arizona who cover river issues. We continue to engage in the public process to protect the Verde River from the proposed Big Chino pipeline and other threats. We build grassroots campaigns.
Over the next ten years, we’ll lead a collaborative “10 in 10” campaign with conservation partners and citizens from all over Arizona to single out 10 of Arizona’s imperiled rivers for special attention and protection through Wild and Scenic Rivers Act designation. Building this grassroots effort takes a steady flow of revenue – a river of support. Please be as generous as you can. Arizona’s rivers need you.
You can make your donation via Paypal on our Membership and Donations page. Checks can also be mailed to 1639 W. Roma Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85015.
Thank you, as ever, for your support and camaraderie!
Michelle T. Harrington
P.S. Please mark your calendars for Friday, August 5 at 5:30 p.m., for a special evening featuring the Verde River Exhibit and a reading by Thomas Lowe Fleischner from his new book “The Way of Natural History.” The event will be held at the lovely Sedona Public Library, 3250 White Bear Road. Hope to see you there! MAP
Tue 12 Jul 2011
The Center for Biological Diversity and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have come to an historic agreement to make findings and provide Endangered Species Act protections as determined for 757 imperiled species by 2018. The list includes several river-dependent native plants and animals, including: roundtail chub, headwater chub, zuni bluehead sucker, Mexican garter snake, Page springsnail, relict leopard frog, Sonoyta mud turtle, Stephan’s riffle beetle, and the western yellow-billed cuckoo. The full list of Arizona species included in the agreement is below the bird.
yellow-billed cuckoo via wikipedia
|Arizona treefrog, Huachuca Canelo population
|Beardless chinch weed
|Cactus ferruginous pygmy owl
|Greater sage grouse
|Gunnison sage grouse
|Gunnison’s prairie dog
|Mexican garter snake
|Mexican gray wolf
|New Mexico meadow jumping mouse
|Northern leopard frog
|Relict leopard frog
|Roundtail chub in the lower Colorado River Basin
|San Bernadino springsnail
|Sonoran desert tortoise
|Sonoyta mud turtle
|Stephan’s riffle beetle
|Three Forks springsnail
|Tucson shovel-nosed snake
|Western yellow-billed cuckoo
|Zuni bluehead sucker
Thu 7 Jul 2011
Posted by Michelle under Law & Policy, Rivers
Arizona Senator John McCain is pushing an amendment that would allow Fort Huachuca to pump up to 6,000 acre-feet/year of water from the Sierra Vista sub-basin of the San Pedro River free of any Endangered Species Act consultation requirements. An internal memo and copy of the rider dated June 16 of this year became available earlier today.
Instead of seeking exemption from our nation’s environmental laws, the fort and the surrounding communities need to work towards sustainable water use that does not threaten the San Pedro or the plants and wildlife that need a wet river.
The first story on the subject is hot off the press from EENews/Greenwire.
McCain rider would end-run legal fight over desert river (07/07/2011)
Paul Quinlan, E&E reporter
Arizona Republican John McCain is promoting a rider for a Senate defense spending bill that would allow an Arizona Army base to tap groundwater that environmentalists say is needed for the imperiled San Pedro River.
McCain’s amendment represents a legislative counterattack to the Center for Biological Diversity in a legal battle over Fort Huachuca’s water use, which the nonprofit group says is damaging the Southwest’s last undammed desert river.
“It kills the river,” said Dr. Robin Silver, of the Center for Biological Diversity.
The amendment would allow the base to pump up to 6,000 acre-feet of water per year and shield the installation from lawsuits that make it responsible for water use in neighboring communities, according to an email from a top Republican aide on the Senate Armed Services Committee, on which McCain is the ranking member.
McCain also argues that a 6,000-acre wildfire burning in the area has further stressed water supplies.
The aide’s email calls the fort a “leader in implementing water conservation measures” and says that “fringe environmental groups” are using the Endangered Species Act to “forcibly reduce the Fort’s groundwater pumping.”
Environmentalists recently prevailed in court, when a federal judge in May ruled that the Army and the Fish and Wildlife Service relied on a “legally flawed” plan to protect the San Pedro River. The plan failed to properly analyze the effect that groundwater pumping was having on imperiled species, such as the southwestern willow flycatcher and a plant called the Huachuca water umbel, the judge wrote.
The Army and the Fish and Wildlife Service must write a new plan to protect the river from the base’s pumping.
But McCain argues that because the Endangered Species Act applies differently to non-federal entities, “the center has made the Fort their whipping boy in courts.”
The amendment is one of McCain’s “highest priorities,” according to the aide’s email, which highlights Fort Huachuca’s role in training military interrogators and in military “black ops.”
“Senator McCain and I urge your support because the challenge to Fort Huachuca, and its contribution to the national security missions regarding testing of ‘unique’ (in many cases, black ops) electronic equipment and its training for Army interrogators, hangs in the balance,” the email said.
Tue 21 Jun 2011
It’s been half a decade since the Arizona Republic printed a series of articles on the ruined rivers of Arizona, and not much has changed. The San Pedro River is still going dry (less than 1 cubic-foot/second at the Charleston stream gage with no rain in sight). The Verde River is still facing the threat of depletion due to population growth and development. The Salt River is still dammed and generally a dry wash through Phoenix. The Santa Cruz River through Tucson only flows in response to storms and sewage treatment plant returns.
Of course good things have happened, too. Fossil Creek received federal Wild and Scenic River designation in 2009 and has been restored with full flows, native fish stockings, and multiple bankside clean-ups. A comprehensive resource management plan for Fossil Creek is in the works. The Verde River gained national attention as an American Rivers “Most Endangered River” in 2006, and grassroots opposition to the Big Chino pipeline — as well as the economic slowdown — has put the biggest individual threat on a back burner for the time-being.
Much has yet to be done. Your interest in preserving rivers in Arizona is needed! And action speaks louder than words.
SUPPORT Arizona Rivers
PARTICIPATE in river clean-ups and restoration work – Volunteers for Outdoor Arizona is a great source
LEARN MORE about the rivers in Arizona that desperately need your help – starting with the Ruined Rivers series
- Water splashes on rocks from the small falls at Fossil Creek
Fri 17 Jun 2011
Posted by Michelle under Rivers
A just released groundwater modeling report provides the dire prediction that “…much of the San Pedro and Babocomari rivers will cease to have perennial baseflow over the next century as a result of increased groundwater pumping.”
The future of the San Pedro (but picture it without all the trees)
A US Geological Survey groundwater model was used to simulate groundwater and surface water conditions in the Upper San Pedro Basin, looking at the effects of groundwater pumping, recharge, and evapotranspiration on baseflow in the San Pedro River. Climate change was not considered.
The simulated drawdown of groundwater, the merging of large cones of depression (areas where drawdown is significant), and the overall loss of storage over the 203 year period analyzed in the model provides a frightening future of water shortages in the basin.
How will the public and political leaders respond to the report?
Wed 15 Jun 2011
Posted by Michelle under Rivers
Last month, Arizona Rivers presented the final report for the Phoenix America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO) session (held September 2, 2010) to Ann Castle, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science. The report had previously been submitted to American Rivers for incorporation into their final report to the administration, but Ms. Castle was particularly interested in receiving our report to know more of the specifics of the only AGO meeting held in Arizona.
Castle met with several representatives of federal and state natural resource managers, city and county parks officials, and environmental groups on her visit to Phoenix on May 19, 2011, as a follow-up to the AGO meetings and administration final report. She described the Obama administration’s objectives with the AGO Initiative of expanding and improving outdoor spaces, being a better partner with local groups and communities, and providing more funding for experiential education. Priority areas include preserving rural landscapes and agriculture, providing and/or partnering to provide safe and beautiful outdoor spaces and urban parks, providing and/or partnering to provide river and stream restoration, protection and access, and increasing opportunities for youth to experience and build connections with the outdoors. See more at America’s Great Outdoors.
You can check out a previous post and photos of the Phoenix AGO session here.
Small group discussion of AGO questions
Fri 3 Jun 2011
Wed 1 Jun 2011
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 Sedona Public Library for the months of June and July. The exhibit, titled, “The Verde River: Green Heart of Arizona – Endangered Desert Jewel,” celebrates this ecological and aesthetic treasure in Sedona’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 on display panels placed at the front entry. The display tells 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 Sedona Public Library, 3250 White Bear Rd., Sedona, through mid-July. Library hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and closed on Sunday. For more information contact Michelle Harrington at 602-628-9909.
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.”
Thu 26 May 2011
Posted by Michelle under Native Fish
As in Arizona, many states are grappling with the incursion of non-native fish species and the effects they have on native fish populations. Utilizing a piscicide is sometimes the only viable option for restoring a stream system or part of a system to support native fish. Although mistakes are rare, they should always be learned from, as is the case described in this article about a fish kill last year in Montana, and the steps they’re taking to prevent a repeat performance.
Arizona based wildlife agencies have a number of protocols in place to ensure this type of thing doesn’t happen here – but mistakes in other places can still provide educational fodder.
Wed 25 May 2011
Save the Date!
The Verde River Basin Partnership is hosting an event on Thursday, June 16.
From their flyer:
United States Geological Survey
Northern Arizona Regional Groundwater Flow Model
Verde River Basin Partnership
JUNE 16, 2011
TO BE DETERMINED
Please save the date for a unique opportunity to participate in a presentation by Don Pool and Jim Leenhouts of the recently released USGS report. This event will also serve as the VRBP Quarterly Meeting. More information to follow shortly!