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Establishing environmental flows for sustainable water management: Upper and Middle Verde River watersheds, Arizona

The Nature Conservancy

The Verde Watershed is an essential element of life in central Arizona, sustaining unique biotic assemblages, human communities, industry and agriculture in a semi-arid environment. Large portions of the watershed remain undeveloped and are administered by the U.S. Forest Service. However, considerable growth is occurring in the Prescott area and in the Verde Valley. Limited water resources have resulted in conflicts between human communities and their needs for water in different parts of the watershed, and between human demands for water and the needs of plants and animals. Impounded flow at the downstream end of the river ultimately supplies a significant source of water to the metropolitan Phoenix communities.

The purpose of this study is to provide a rigorous scientific foundation that quantifies the association between hydrologic characteristics and ecological conditions in the Upper and Middle Verde Watersheds. This will provide information necessary for the assessment of hydrologic alteration and effective management of water use.