VolunTourism Program Update
Sedona Chamber of Commerce 2017-2018 support to
Oak Creek Watershed Council
Report date: March 28, 2018
Oak Creek Watershed Council conducts education, stewardship, and citizen science activities supported by a group of leveraged grants and contracts. Supporters include City of Sedona, Recreational Equipment Incorporated, Arizona Community Foundation, the National Forest Foundation, Coconino National Forest, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Trout Unlimited, Arizona Heritage Fund, One for the Verde and Sedona Chamber of Commerce. The following report is for accomplishments during the period July 1, 2017 through March 28, 2018 that were supported in part by a $5,000 sponsorship from Sedona Chamber of Commerce.
Oak Creek Cleanups
Since the Chamber of Commerce sponsorship began in July 2017, Verde Watershed Ambassadors have engaged 312 volunteers in 13 cleanup events. Staff and volunteers have picked up 2,325 pounds of trash, including 1,318 pounds of unrecyclable litter, 132 pounds of glass, 733 pounds of recyclables, 148 pounds of feces, and 60 diapers in the Oak Creek Watershed. Below is a calendar of Watershed Ambassador cleanup activities from July 2017 through March 2018. As you can see, these events are very collaborative. OCWC usually has a co-host for each event, which adds to the event’s success.
8/9/2017 Oak Creek Canyon sites – Trout Unlimited
9/4/2017 Red Rock Crossing – Rotary Club of Sedona (Oak Creek Village satellite)
9/16/2017 Forest Road 237 – REI & Flagstaff Climbing Gym
9/19/2017 Mormon Crossing – Sedona Wyndam Resort
10/14/2017 Oak Creek Canyon sites – Keep it Wild & ARLA Earth
11/4/2017 Oak Creek Canyon sites – Trout Unlimited
11/5/2017 Carroll Canyon – Mitzvah Day
11/18/2017 Midgely Bridge – REI & Flagstaff Climbing Gym
12/6/2017 Chavez Ranch Rd, Crescent Moon, Forest Road 89B – Red Bull stewardship event with Friends of the Verde River
1/12/2018 Mormon Crossing – Red Mountain Sedona
2/10/2018 Chavez Ranch Road – REI & Flagstaff Climbing Gym
2/18/2018 Oak Creek Canyon
3/28/2018 Midgely Bridge – City of Sedona
NAU journalism student Jamie Nielsen is writing an article about the March 28th cleanup and the environmental impact of NAU students “Creeking” at Midgely Bridge. Creeking is when hundreds of people party along Oak Creek in the springtime. The next cleanup is scheduled for April 22nd at Midgely Bridge. OCWC will cohost this event with NAU’s Sigma Pi Fraternity.
Photos at the end of this report highlight two notable VolunTourism cleanup events: Oak Creek Canyon Cleanup with Keep It Wild and Red Bull Stewardship Event.
Oak Creek Ecological Health
On November 11th and 18th, 2017 twenty-two volunteers were trained in scientific survey methods and collected data for a study to investigate the impacts of sediment on Oak Creek stream ecology. Volunteers collected sediment and macroinvertebrate samples from three habitat types (pools, runs, and riffles) upstream and downstream of a sediment input point at the mouth of Carroll Canyon Wash, which drains west Sedona. Macroinvertebrates are small but visible (macro) organisms without back bones (invertebrate) that live on the stream bottom. They are good indicators of possible pollution impacts to the integrity of the stream food web. Preliminary findings were presented by Dr. Larry Stevens at the OCWC February 2nd members meeting. Volunteers will return in April and May to complete spring 2018 sampling and a report will be issued afterward.
Volunteer work for the Carroll Canyon Erosion Control to Protect Oak Creek project has been postponed to Winter 2019, because of delays in development of a U.S. Forest Service cost-share agreement for the project. Once the project is underway, volunteers can participate in planting native seeds and mulching to reduce soil erosion.
Oak Creek Canyon Cleanup Event with Keep It Wild
On October 14th, 2017 Oak Creek Watershed Council cohosted with Keep It Wild a large cleanup event in Oak Creek Canyon that drew 71 volunteers. This group photo captures most of the volunteers. More than 30 volunteers from the Hispanic Christian environmental organization ARLA Earth joined this event. (View ARLA Earth’s video of that day here.) Volunteers met at Slide Rock State Park. Some remained at the park to do volunteer work there while groups of 10 to 15 dispersed to sites throughout Oak Creek Canyon on Coconino National Forest land to pick up trash.
This stewardship event was filmed by a team of two women journalists – Anastasiia Baidrakova and her camerawoman Viktoriia Soshnikova from the Siberian city of Irkutsk, Russia who were hosted by the U.S. State Department. Their documentary about volunteerism on public lands in the United State will air in Russian and likely be picked up internationally. The journalists also interviewed Sedona Mayor Sandy Moriarty.
Red Bull Stewardship Event with Friends of the Verde River
Oak Creek Ecological Health