Healthy watersheds provide habitat for fish and wildlife, drinking water, recreation access to streams, economic vitality to our communities, protection from floods and beautiful places for people to live. To enjoy these things, it is everyone’s responsibility to keep their watersheds healthy. Everything you do in your home affects the watershed you live in; from the amount of water you use to the plants you put in your garden and yard. That means that what you do matters! Whether you live in the Verde River Watershed or somewhere else, there is a lot that you can do to help contribute to a healthy watershed.
Private Landowner Stewards
If you own a streamside property, we would love to work with you! Contact Ben Kowalewski, VWRC Program Coordinator. Here are some details on what participation can mean for you:
- Cost-sharing on the project. We have worked out successful treatments for invasive plant management, but it does cost money. Friends has staff that write grants to treat private lands and received funding from state, federal and local land managers to assist with public land issues. Any help we can get from a private landowner helps! A donation with help us help you manage your land – donations of equipment, money, and volunteer time are all very helpful to us so that we may continue improving our streams. If you have a minor or major weed problem and live on the river or creek or nearby, we want to hear from you today! Even if none of these cost-sharing options work for you, please contact us anyway and we will work something out for the good of the watershed. The end goal is a healthy, self-sustaining, resilient watershed that protects our land values and beautiful stream-side property and way of life.
- You can opt out of any step for your property based on your preferences, but our process is usually the following:
- Assess property with landowners (Map invasive plants on the property along the river with GPS, map other challenges)
- Develop Implementing Plan with Landowner (i.e. Remove 1-acre of target invasive plants in riparian corridors, address erosion concerns on steep bank)
- Coordinate Field Crews to implement plan.
- Monitor Treatment to measure effectiveness and determine if maintenance is needed.
- Once you’ve figured out your level of participation, send a signed copy of VWRC’s landowner agreement to Ben.
- For more information on VWRC and becoming a Private Landowner Steward, check out our Private Landowner Reception presentation.
- Ben Kowalewski | Click here to Email Ben | (928) 451-6860
During treatment season, you can find our restoration crews battling invasive plants all over the Verde River watershed, rain or shine! Armed with chainsaws, hard hats, and stream-safe herbicide, they go out to cut, treat, and haul out every Russian Olive, Tree of Heaven, Salt Cedar, and Giant Reed they can find.
The Arizona Conservation Corps (known as AZCC) has crews all over northern Arizona, working on all kinds of environmental stewardship projects. Friends and our VWRC partners hire AZCC crews to implement invasive species treatments in the Verde River watershed. To find out more about this fantastic organization, visit their website here!
Vetraplex unites veterans of military service with sustainability in its master-planned model of a community designed around the needs of our American veterans – built by vets, for vets, with partnerships and opportunities in the surrounding area. Friends and our VWRC partners employ Vetraplex veterans to do work on invasive species treatments and monitoring each year. To find out more about Vetraplex’s mission, visit their website here!
Since Friends is non-profit organization, we rely a lot on our volunteers! From manning the VWRC booth at community events to feeding cut branches into a wood chipper, to monitoring a reach of the river; VWRC has tasks and projects for people of all ages and skill levels. If you’re interested in volunteering, get your group or class involved, or becoming a Volunteer Crew Leader, click here for information on upcoming volunteer opportunities and to contact us!