Tom O'Halleran's Oct. 22 commentary struck just the right tone. A regional water management plan for the Verde River is an issue of importance statewide. We also need to continue to engage a broad range of stakeholders to build consensus and support at the regional, state and multi-state levels for sound western rivers management policies. Now is the time.
The interconnectedness of water naturally requires farsighted planning and cooperation between policymakers and stakeholders. Otherwise, conflicts arise and some parties lose out. Often, the losing parties are those who didn't have a seat at the table. This holds true whether we're discussing the Gila, the San Pedro, the Agua Fria, the Colorado, or the Verde River - Arizona rivers facing many of the same threats.
Every day that passes without a plan puts our people, wildlife, and economy at risk of an uncertain future. That's why we need to act now.
In voting unanimously in support of a Blue Trail designation for the Verde River, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors agreed that protecting our rivers is critical. The Verde is the first western river to achieve this designation, which will help inspire more work to improve recreational opportunities, preserve habitat, and promote economic growth in the basin.
This is the essence of what a sustainable water management plan can provide -- one that works for people and wildlife, while helping to drive our economy forward.
Audubon's Western Rivers Action Network is a multi-state grassroots coalition working to build cooperation and support for sustainable management policies for western rivers. This network includes many of the same partners and stakeholders coming together at the Verde River regional management table as well as those working to protect the San Pedro, Agua Fria and other rivers in the Colorado Basin.
Thank you, Tom O'Halleran, for underscoring the importance of management planning and working together to secure our rivers and our future.
Sarah Porter, executive director on behalf of Audubon Arizona and Desert Rivers Audubon Society
Huachuca Audubon Society
Maricopa Audubon Society
Northern Arizona Audubon Society
Prescott Audubon Society
Yuma Audubon Society