A River Friendly Living Preview

rio-verde-plazaFriends of the Verde River is in the process of developing a new program to combat threats to the Verde River, including overuse of the water supply, pollution, drought, and climate change. The program is called River Friendly Living.

River Friendly Living is a certification program that inspires a culture of voluntary river conservation. Friends will use River Friendly Living to certify and recognize homes, businesses, farms, ranches, real estate developments, congregations, governments, and communities who do their part to protect the Verde River for future generations.

As the City of Cottonwood opened the floor for discussion for the possible annexation of the land parcel called Spring Creek Ranch along with many acres of Coconino National Forest land with a public hearing on October 22, Friends deemed the early preview of this program necessary to inform, educate, and engage both citizens and the local government.

In 2020, Friends of the Verde River and The Nature Conservancy issued the Watershed Report Card, developed in partnership with many who share Friends’ vision of a healthy, flowing Verde River system into the future. The Report Card gave the river and its watershed a C+ grade, based on low scores in habitat and water. To meet the challenges identified in the Report Card, Friends is designing new solutions that protect the river, restore habitat for wildlife, and support our communities.

Friends of the Verde River will be launching River Friendly Living, a new way to support our communities and rivers, in Spring of 2021.

While the program is still under development, the following outlines the general criteria and program values of River Friendly Living, specifically as it relates to new housing developments in the Verde Valley. These guiding principles are already being applied through Friends involvement in local projects, such as the Rio Verde Plaza renovation and Rancho Tres Brisas, both in Camp Verde, based on actions taken to preserve the Verde River.

Principles for River Friendly Living are

> Manage water use for sustainable water supply
> Minimize Water Pollution
> Manage Effluent as a Resource
> Keep Open Spaces and Riparian Corridors Healthy
> Ensure Communities are Connected and Supportive of River Friendly Living

The values we ensure through River Friendly Living are

> Certification is Voluntary
> Solutions Must be Affordable
> Indigenous Knowledge is Valued and Indigenous Land is Acknowledged
> Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice are Key to a Sustainable Future

View the full criteria and values explanations at RiverFriendlyLiving.org.