In 2006, American Rivers listed the Verde River as one of the ten most endangered rivers in America.

Why is the Verde River endangered?
Communities within Sedona Verde Valley obtain their domestic water through groundwater pumping. This includes municipal supplies along with private wells. Pumping intercepts water that would naturally flow to the Verde River or its tributaries. As the population has grown, pumping has increased and the base flow of the Verde has diminished.

How is the Verde River tied to the local economy?
Sedona Verde Valley is a center of agricultural activity. In the 1880’s, agricultural diversions were created to move water from the river to crops. Today these historic water claims still keep the fields of the valley producing food and forage. However, antiquated diversion systems currently take more water than is needed for crops, seriously impacting river flows. Efforts are underway to modernize these historic structures to ensure that water is used as efficiently as possible while keeping vital flows in the river.

How can we protect the river and the economy?
A healthy river goes hand in hand with a healthy local economy. The Sedona Verde Valley Tourism Council is working to promote sustainable development and hands-on-conservation to protect our destination for future generations.

In order to make it easy for both visitors and residents to contribute to preserving the region, we’ve partnered with three organizations that are making strides in conservation and sustainable development:

Red Rock Trail Fund: A coalition of hikers, bikers, equestrians and outdoor enthusiasts who believe that the trails that connect us to the adventure and beauty of the Red Rock are worth caring for. Your donations provide direct support to the US Forest Service to establish and maintain trails within the heart of the red rocks. Caring for trails means a healthier watershed, Oak Creek and Verde River.

Learn more about the Red Rock Trail Fund here.

Arizona Certified Green Lodging: The Arizona Certified Green Lodging Program supports sustainable development by working with hotels and accommodation providers to integrate environmental best-practices into their design and operations. The initiative awards points to hotels who include environmentally-friendly features such as recycling programs and energy-efficient lighting. Their system gives guests the option to make more educated decisions while also providing economic incentives for businesses to go green.

Learn more about Arizona Certified Green Lodging here.

Friends of the Verde River is preserving one of the last flowing rivers in the American Southwest.

Friends’ work to maintain river flowsprotect area habitat, and involve the community will prevent more of the river from drying up and ensure the Verde River and its tributaries can support the way we live, work, and enjoy recreation. 

Friends’ envisions a healthy, flowing Verde River and tributaries that support our unique environment, vibrant economy, and quality of life for future generations.

Friends’ achieves their mission and vision through their collaboration-driven programs: the Verde River ExchangeVerde Watershed Restoration Coalition (VWRC), and the Verde Land and Water Planning Toolbox

Additionally, Friends’ participates in many partnering efforts in the watershed to increase their collective beneficial impact on the Verde River and our communities. 

Examples of these partnering efforts include the Verde River Flow and Riparian Restoration InitiativeCross Watershed Network, and the Verde Front.

Why Friends’ Values the Verde River and Its Tributaries

As one of the last perennial-flowing river systems in the State of Arizona, the Verde River and its tributaries create a unique riparian ecosystem that supports local communities, wildlife, and flora along its 192-mile flow. 

The area boasts one of the only 20 Cottonwood-Willow Gallery Forests in the world and over 80% of the wildlife in the area depend on the Verde River and its tributaries for habitat, including several threatened and endangered species.

The Verde River and its tributaries flow through the heart of Arizona’s mountains, high plains, and desert valleys. The river and its tributaries are significant contributors to the vitality of the local communities through which they flow – providing drinking water, water to irrigate local agriculture crops, and recreational activities to local residents and visitors alike. Ultimately, after flowing through one of Arizona’s two Wild and Scenic River corridors (the other is Fossil Creek, a tributary to the Verde) and two reservoirs, the Verde River brings clean drinking water to over 2 million residents in the greater Phoenix area.

Read more about the Verde River Watershed and join Friends in protecting the Verde River and all it supports.

Come help us celebrate our beautiful landscapes and unique heritage while helping us to preserve Sedona Verde Valley for generations to come!