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Upper Verde

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Preserve

Value

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Recreation

Welcome to Verde River Basin Partnership

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The Verde River Basin Partnership uses credible science to provide educational outreach to help engage people and empower them to protect the Verde River Basin, a unique and critical resource.

The Verde River Basin is an important, life-sustaining national treasure that is at risk and needs our vigilance.

A Desert Treasure

Located in Central Arizona, the 5,661-square-mile basin is one of the most beautiful and diversified watersheds in the Southwestern United States. The allure of the basin’s surface waters draws millions of tourists yearly to this magnificent setting in an arid desert, surrounded by towering mountains and wilderness.

Verde with Wildflowers

Photo Courtesy of the
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System

Yet in 2006, American Rivers listed the Verde River, the basin’s master watercourse, as one of the 10 most endangered rivers in America because of extensive groundwater pumping.

In 2009, Arizona’s former Department of Water Resources Director, Herb Guenther emphasized the importance of protecting the flow of underground springs into the Verde River and recommended mitigation planning, such as a federal Habitat Conservation Plan.

These are just some of the warnings we have heard over the years. Now is the time to seriously focus on caring for these precious resources.

A Treasure for the Nation

People have been calling the Verde River Basin their home since at least 9,000 B.C. Evidence has been found of the ancient Clovis culture, as well as the later Archaic people. Later, came the Sinagua and Hohokam peoples, and the present-day Yavapai and Apache. These people chose their homes in relation to the rivers, creeks, and springs in the area. This region has one of the highest concentrations of archeological sites in the United States.  READ MORE

A Treasure for the State of Arizona

Today, the Verde watershed provides water for communities for a large geographic region – from the Prescott area to the Verde Valley and on to the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. The river is the lifeblood of both rural and suburban lifestyles and agriculture within the basin and those areas outside the watershed that are supported by the basin’s waters.  READ MORE

A Treasure at Risk

The natural beauty and climate of the region has resulted in continuously increasing population growth. Yavapai County, home to the Verde River’s headwaters and most of its tributaries, is one of the fastest growing rural counties in the United States. Today, since basin residents and businesses rely almost entirely on groundwater for domestic water needs. The long-term existence of the basin’s water resources is at risk. READ MORE

The Partnership – A Source for Generating Solutions

We must find solutions that allow us to protect and preserve our collective water resources. This means working collaboratively and using the best science and water management tools available. READ MORE


A Treasure for the Nation

People have been calling the Verde River Basin their home since at least 9,000 B.C. Evidence has been found of the ancient Clovis culture, as well as the later Archaic people. Later, came the Sinagua and Hohokam peoples, and the present-day Yavapai and Apache. These people chose their homes in relation to the rivers, creeks, and springs in the area. This region has one of the highest concentrations of archeological sites in the United States.

Over seventy percent of the lands within the basin are National Forest. The forests in the basin are the Prescott, Kaibab, Coconino, and Tonto. The forests play many roles in the watershed where they live. They help absorb rainfall and snow melt, slow storm runoff, provide erosion control, filter pollutants from the air and runoff before they enter watercourses, and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife.

Within these forests, eleven Wilderness areas can be found – each unique and remarkable. Congress has set them aside for the American people’s current and future use and enjoyment as unimpaired wilderness.

Congress has also designated two of the basin’s waterways as Wild and Scenic Rivers – the only two such designations in Arizona. This designation means that their environments have “outstanding remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, cultural or other similar values.”

These Wild and Scenic rivers are the lower Verde River (the lower stretch of the Verde River) and Fossil Creek, which is a tributary of the lower Verde River. Another tributary of the Verde River is Oak Creek, which was designated by the State of Arizona as a Unique Waterway.

The basin supports an amazing diversity of wildlife. It is one of our nation’s major bird migratory flyways. Additionally, at least 94 species of mammals and 76 species of native amphibians and reptiles use the Verde River watershed at some point in their life cycles. Roughly ten percent of Arizona’s remaining Fremont Cottonwood/Gooding Willow habitat––the rarest type of forest in North America––can be found along the Verde River.

A Treasure for the State of Arizona

Clarkdale

Photo by Don Von Gausig

If you are a resident of Arizona, the interconnected surface waters and groundwater of the basin are a critical natural resource for you.

Today, the Verde watershed provides water for communities for a large geographic region – from the Prescott area to the Verde Valley and on to the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. The river is the lifeblood of both rural and suburban lifestyles and agriculture within the basin and those areas outside the watershed that are supported by the basin’s waters.

The City of Phoenix states that 50% of their water supply comes from the Salt River Project, of which approximately 40% is from the Verde River watershed. In the upper and middle Verde River watersheds, groundwater of the watershed supplies virtually all of the water that residents depend upon in their homes, yards, and businesses.

Many people turn on their faucets and unknowingly, they are relying on the quality and quantity of the Verde River, its tributaries, and its groundwater for daily use. This lack of knowledge can result in wasting our most precious resources in our desert home––water.

A Treasure at Risk

The natural beauty and climate of the region has resulted in continuously increasing population growth. Yavapai County, home to the Verde River’s headwaters and most of its tributaries, is one of the fastest growing rural counties in the United States. Today, since basin residents and businesses rely almost entirely on groundwater for domestic water needs. The long-term existence of the basin’s water resources is at risk.

Major risk factors to the basin’s waters are increased groundwater pumping, a high dependence on groundwater, the potential development of the vast amount of private land currently undeveloped, Arizona water laws that do not adequately protect surface water, and the lack of regional water planning.

Read more about this.

The Partnership – A Source for Generating Solutions

We must find solutions that allow us to protect and preserve our collective water resources. This means working collaboratively and using the best science and water management tools available.

The recently released United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) Northern Arizona Regional Groundwater-Flow Model is a step in the right direction. The USGS has stated that this type of numerical model is the best tool currently available to help water resource managers identify how their decisions today can potentially impact our water resources in the future. We are working to build on such insights.

The Partnership’s goal is to educate, empower, and excite people to engage in this literally vital issue to protect and preserve the Verde River Basin. Please explore our site to learn more. Please contact us with any questions, to donate your talents, and support our goal in any other ways.

Foggy Morning in Clarkdale

Photo by Doug Von Gausig

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Did You Know?

The largest known petroglyph site in the Verde Valley of Arizona is along Wet Beaver Creek at the V-Bar-V Heritage Site. Native American people have inhabited the Verde Valley area for several hundred years. Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and V-V all preserve prehistoric evidence of their occupation.

CONTACT US

PO Box 1831
Cottonwood, AZ 86326
Click Here to Email Us