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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : commentary April 29, 2016

5/16/2013 1:09:00 PM
Guest Commentary: Verde River is life of Verde Valley

Dave Kinsey Jr.

For the Yavapai-Apache Nation, the Verde River is the life of the Verde Valley and it is the key to the longevity and sustainability of all of our Verde Valley communities. Since time immemorial, the Yavapai and Apache People have known that water means life and that it is necessary to preserve and protect this precious resource upon which all human life depends.

If you think back to why you came to the Verde Valley, what immediately comes to mind? Were you or your ancestors drawn to the Verde Valley for its tall cottonwoods, cool summers, or land upon which survival in the desert was made possible because there was a local water source? All of this has been provided to us by the Verde River.

As one of the communities that relies on the Verde River, the Yavapai-Apache Nation recognizes that our Verde Valley communities must work together to preserve the River in a smart and sustainable way for our future generations and that none of us can do it alone.

This past April, the Nation’s Tribal Leaders traveled to Washington, D.C., and met with the U.S. Department of the Interior and Arizona’s Congressional delegation to discuss the condition of the Verde River and the potential impacts of proposed developments that threaten the life of the Verde River. While in D.C., the Nation championed a regional approach by Verde River stakeholders, including the Nation, to manage the health and vitality of the River. We reminded our Congressional delegation that the Verde River not only provides a water supply to the Yavapai-Apache Reservation, but that the Verde River provides a quality and sustainable life for everyone in the entire Verde Valley region.

While each community develops its vision and long-term planning, it is critical for Verde Valley communities to cooperatively advocate for the life and sustainability of the Verde River and recognize that as long as the Verde River flows through our communities, our communities will be filled with life.

As the Yavapai-Apache Nation continues to seek a fair and equitable settlement of our water rights with those who also hold water rights to the Verde River, including local communities, the Nation will remain committed to doing its part to protect the Verde River and will continue to work with our neighboring communities on water issues.

The Nation’s philosophy toward the Verde River and the life that it provides is reflected in a statement made many years ago by Mary Sine, one of our Tribal Elders, when she was asked what is the most important thing for the Nation to consider for its long-term survival, and she responded, “as long as the River flows, life will be good.” This statement not only rings true for the Yavapai-Apache Nation but for everyone who calls the Verde Valley home.

Dave Kinsey Jr. is a member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Council, first elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2011. Councilman Kinsey is a member of the Nation’s Water Team and is an advocate for natural resources, culture and community.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013
Article comment by: How true? -

Interesting that one city always seems to attract the ire of certain folks leaving comments.

And yet it never seems to get credit for what it has done/is doing to deal with the issue. Reduction in leak loss, per-capita use, ground water pumping, reclaimed water use, installing rain water catchments, etc.

Per the VI's previous articles the city has also fought to reduce the density of the possible development on the state trust lands and increased the open space.

Seems that the city is not the 'grow or die' instigator they are being called- but realize that the city is a large part of the system that will have to deal with growth whether or not it happens, when or if it ever happens.

So when it's all said and done the city will be left to deal with the varied and unknown outcomes and in trying to plan for that they are being castigated?

While the 'no growth at all' 'close the gate behind them self' folks have advocated for mining the water out of the very state trust land they claim to want preserved?

Until those folks can legislate a humans free will they nor anyone else can keep people from moving where they like- as a large potion of residents here have. Until those that deride growth are willing to admit they are in fact the growth they so despise (as we all are if you look at it in the strictest terms) then the issue is really a non-starter isn't it?

The valley shares the goal of keeping the river flowing and maintaining our namesake 'Verde'... nobody wants the river to dry up... but who is really doing active boots on the ground work to achieve that goal? It is relatively easy to simply declare 'there is not enough water for growth', trying to actually deal with that issue in reality is not so easy.

Lets keep the Verde flowing by all means... but simply trying to declare that growth is evil and forbidden only masks the issue and does nothing to solve it.

At the same time- rolling out the 'human carpet' of high density development isn't the answer either. Meeting in the middle has worked in negotiations since the stone age, why not now?

What now dictates that compromise is no longer a viable option? All or nothing just leads to either side getting all they hoped for or nothing, rather than both sides getting something. Maybe we did learn all we needed to know in pre-school... the golden rule and sharing now look to be a lost art rather than the norm.

Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013
Article comment by: Truer words never spoken

Thank you to Mr. Kinsey for this thoughtful piece, and thank you to the Nation for taking a leadership role in protecting the Verde River.

The people of the YAN should know that the vast majority in the Verde agree and support you in wanting to protect the river.

But we must beware of those that have a "grow or die" agenda. These people deny the science showing that unchecked future growth and development will destroy the Verde.

These grow or die people are very few, but they are powerful. They have political clout and money. Some are leaders in Cottonwood who want to build a new city of 25,000-50,000 people on the State Trust land between Sedona and Cottonwood.

We know who they are, because they keep trying to deny the USGS is the ultimate best source of scientific information on our water supply. They spread misinformation like the USGS is "biased", when it is they who are biased and a threat to our water future.

We will all need to work cooperatively together to convince these grow or die people that controlled growth that respects the sustainable limits of our water supply is the only responsible choice.

And we must vote for new leaders who share our vision of a permanently sustainable and responsible water future for future generations.

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