The Verde River is treasured for its wildlife habitat, water supply, recreational opportunities, and natural beauty. It is one of the most substantial free-flowing rivers in Arizona. Although the river corridor primarily supports native riparian vegetation, invasive species — particularly Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.), Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and Giant Reed (Arundo donax) — threaten the health and sustainability of these communities.
Mission Statement: The Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition is a collaborative effort among federal and state agencies, private companies, nonprofit organizations, and landowners to develop and implement riparian restoration for the Verde River and its tributaries.
VWRC’s mission is enabled by ecological, social, economic, and management goals:
Ecological: Reduce invasive woody and herbaceous plant species through various control methods within the Coconino, Maricopa, and Yavapai County FEMA floodplain
Social: Educate the local community and public about the economic and social value of a healthy river system, and the prevention and removal of invasive species, their detrimental effects, and the services and funding that are available to remove invasive species on their land.
Economic: Give the local community economic incentives and employment opportunities for removing invasive plant species on their own property.
Management: Establish a multi-stakeholder group to accomplish the ecological, social, and economic goals and to monitor the project’s success over the long term.
VWRC’s goals are challenged by several ecological and anthropogenic stressors — ornamental plants, secondary weed invasion, and bank erosion — that may challenge the ability to successfully build a resilient and sustainable ecosystem for the Verde River Watershed over time.
To read more about VWRC’s boots-on-the-ground projects, partners, events, staff, and more, check out The Otter, VWRC’s quarterly newsletter.