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River restoration and recreation partnerships - Chip Norton, Kim Schonek

Norton, Chip - Friends of the Verde River Greenway, Board President; Kimberly Schonek, The Nature Conservancy, Verde River Projects Manager
Located on private land in the heart of Camp Verde, Arizona, an irrigation diversion on the Verde River creates terra incognita. This diversion dam and the riparian flood zone located immediately downstream from the dam are seldom visited - even by landowners. Recreational boaters tend to avoid this stretch of river, which is otherwise attractive. The dam is an absolute barrier to native fish passage most of the year. Woody and herbaceous invasive plant species are common in this altered riparian area.
In the Verde Valley, Friends of the Verde River Greenway (FVRG) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have teamed up with local, state and federal partners to take on this challenge. Together, they are working to transform terra incognita into a community asset that will provide reliable irrigation water and recreational opportunities, as well as improve river flow and fish and wildlife habitat
Both FVRG and TNC are also engaged in watershed-scale programs that provide the context for successful local projects. FVRG leads the Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition, a river restoration collaborative and co-convenes the Verde Front, a sustainable recreation collaborative. TNC has developed strong partnerships with surface water users to improve irrigation efficiencies that enhance river flow.
Finally, multi-state partnerships and strategies provide an even broader context for successful restoration projects. TNC’s Colorado River basin strategies guide their Verde River programs and projects. FVRG partners with restoration practitioners in other states through Cross-Watershed Network, and is currently facilitating a cross-watershed visit to Grand Valley, Colorado, from Verde Valley, Arizona, regarding sustainable river recreation.

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River restoration and recreation partnerships - Chip Norton, Kim Schonek

  1. 1. Chip Norton, President of Friends of Verde River Greenway Kimberly Schonek, TNC Verde River Projects Manager April 15th, 2014 RIVER RECREATION AND RESTORATION PARTNERSHIPS
  2. 2. Colorado River Basin Verde Watershed Camp Verde Area White Bridge Recreation Area
  3. 3. Colorado River Basin The Nature Conservancy Cross Watershed Network River Management Society Flow Restoration Programs Habitat Restoration Programs River Recreation Programs
  4. 4. Verde Watershed The Nature Conservancy Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition Verde Front Flow Restoration Program Habitat Restoration Program River Recreation Program
  5. 5. VERDE WATERSHED
  6. 6. • The Verde is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Colorado Basin, it is a critical part watershed – one we should aim to save and restore. • The Conservancy has worked in the Verde for more than 30 years and our strategy has evolved. THE NATURE CONSERVANCY VERDE RIVER FLOW RESTORATION PROGRAM
  7. 7. VWRC in a collaborative effort uniting landowners, organizations and agencies in their common interest in the health of the Verde River Watershed. VERDE WATERSHED RESTORATION COALITION (VWRC)
  8. 8. To collaborate with communities, agencies, and other partners to plan and implement a sustainable recreation strategy that will protect landscape health and support robust economies in and around the Verde Valley. VERDE FRONT SUSTAINABLE RECREATION
  9. 9. Camp Verde Area Ditch Companies The Nature Conservancy Friends of the Verde River Greenway Town of Camp Verde Flow Restoration Habitat Restoration River Recreation Community Engagement
  10. 10. IT’S COMPLEX
  11. 11. IRRIGATION WATER DIVERSIONS
  12. 12. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 0 10 20 30 40 50 River Access Points White Bridge RESTORATION AND RECREATION: WHY PARTNER?
  13. 13. Project Types • Transaction based – Forbearance Agreements – Water Use agreements • Non-transaction based – Water Measurement – Grants to Support Infrastructure Examples • Diamond S Flow Reduction Agreement • West Clear Creek Fallowing Agreement • Verde Ditch Infrastructure • Eureka Ditch Headgate FLOW RESTORATION PROGRAM
  14. 14. White Bridge Recreation Area Diamond S Ditch Company The Nature Conservancy Friends of the Verde River Greenway Town of Camp Verde Flow Restoration Program Habitat Restoration Program River Recreation Community Engagement
  15. 15. DIAMOND S DITCH PROJECT Monitoring & Infrastructure • Install measurement • Install automation equipment Diversion Reduction Agreements •1 agreement •3 agreements Long lasting Changes •Redesign Diversion Structure •Incorporate Community Needs
  16. 16. WHITE BRIDGE RECREATION AREA
  17. 17. TNC • Improve flows in the Verde by 10 cfs over 18 miles. • Reduced water delivery demand on West Clear Creek VWRC • Stewardship agreements with 200 private landowners • Removed woody invasive species from over 2500 acres of riparian habitat • Employed 30 returning veterans, local youth conservation corps and staff last year VERDE FRONT • County supervisors, mayors and staff meet quarterly with public land managers • Verde River Greenway cooperative river recreation management planning to commence this year. • Camp Verde river recreation master planning to commence this summer. SUCCESSES
  18. 18. • BOATING • WITH PARTNERS • IN A HEALTHY , FREE FLOWING RIVER WHERE ARE WE GOING?

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