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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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7/2/2013 1:21:00 PM
McCain, Flake urge water management for the Verde
Ambassadors to patrol Oak Creek corridor for summer
Those of us who enjoy summer afternoons along Oak Creek will soon meet a new group of advocates for clean water and healthy recreation practices. The Oak Creek Ambassador program will kick off on July 1, introducing a community outreach effort focused on building awareness of the impact of recreation activities on the quality of water and health of Oak Creek. The program is jointly sponsored by the Oak Creek Watershed Council and the Red Rock Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest under a grant provided by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Clad in Oak Creek Watershed Council T-shirts, the "Ambassadors" will be visiting heavy use sites within the Oak Creek corridor throughout the warm months, greeting visitors, picking up litter and speaking about ways to reduce E. coli bacteria levels in the Creek.

"The Ambassadors will be sharing the message 'Clean Water Starts with ME' and providing reminders of how our recreation behaviors can help to improve water quality in Oak Creek," said Amina Sena, Red Rock Ranger District Hydrologist. "E. coli is an ongoing issue which can affect human health and it can be positively impacted by greater care with handling of trash, as well as pet and human waste."

Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake sent a letter to mayors, supervisors and tribal chairs in the Verde River watershed urging them to "...develop a long-term water management strategy that protects the Verde River."

In their letter, which is available on the Verde River Institute's website, the Senators cite the recent USGS groundwater study showing declining groundwater levels and river flows in the future.

The senators say, "We believe the study serves as a call to action. In order to ensure the region's future prosperity, we view it as essential that you and your neighbors protect both groundwater supplies and the Verde's riparian habitat."

The Verde River Institute, whose mission is to identify and develop policy strategies aimed at a healthy, sustainable Verde River, applauds the senators' concern and their offer of assistance.

"We are working to develop strategies that can provide the level of conservation that the senators are suggesting, and believe that their offer of support and assistance is a breakthrough that could help stakeholders work together for the good of our water and our river," said Doug Von Gausig, executive director of the Verde River Institute.

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, July 4, 2013
Article comment by: Sara Hill

I am impressed with the considered and intelligent Comments posted here thus far. I am proud to live in a community where citizens care about and educate ourselves about water, growth, and the river. If we don't all agree on the exact path forward, that's okay, as long as we think, consider, treat others respectfully, and can separate facts from fiction.

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Article comment by: Slaters Slater

Gotta have water for Beer.Flake speaks for

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Article comment by: Maybe McCain will buy the trust lands ?

And turn it into his private compound.

It would be interesting to know if the senators wrote that letter without any input... or after a request for such a letter.

Either way it's written, but the verbiage in it seems familiar.

Well played for sure, almost too well played.

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Article comment by: Strong political support for conservation of trust land

This should be viewed as a major positive, because it shows very high level political support for conservation.

The single best action we can take to protect the Verde and water supplies for future generations is to conserve the 10 square mile block of State Trust land between Cottonwood and Camp Verde.

If we don't conserve, that land could potentially be developed into a new city the size of Flagstaff. Cottonwood projects between 25,000 and 50,000 people.

If we choose conservation instead, that does not imply "no growth" by any means. The valley's population stills stands to roughly triple with the build out of the existing inventory of private undeveloped land here.

Providing water for a tripling of our population will be challenging enough, don't you think?

The trust land is eligible for conservation matching funds from the State, and that is a compelling deal.

Plus the letter from Flake and McCain now suggests the idea of conservation will be strongly supported at the highest political levels.

Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Article comment by: DoEs ThAt IncLUde SeLliNG tHe RIvER dOwN tHe RiVeR?

By trying to turn it into the northern salt river with all the love and best intentions in the world?

Perhaps the valley should institute an annual 'Per-Capita' contest, where all the municipalities try to get the lowest gallons per person per day per year rates. The winner get's bragging rights for the year and are save from the 'want too much growth' stigma?

As long as whatever happens is done on a 'common-sensus' basis that uses a consensus of all rather than leave folks in the cold with majority only votes... it's a win/win for all.

Otherwise- not so much.

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