The Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition (VWRC) is a collaborative organization of private landowners, public agencies, and non-profit organizations focused on restoring the health and function of the Verde River Watershed in Central Arizona. The Verde River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in Arizona, and is a tributary of the Lower Colorado River. The coalition was formed 2009 to develop a strategic approach toward invasive species management and increase collaboration and communication between stakeholders to enhance information transfer, adaptive management, and restoration success.
In 2018, EnviroPlan was hired by the Friends of the Verde River to develop a strategic restoration plan for VWRC to prioritize restoration projects and goals and provide guidance on key ecological issues and stakeholder needs. The plan provides an overall vision with goals towards conservation and restoration needs for the entire watershed, with a focus on multiple riparian features including water quality, erosion and streambank stability, wildlife, and plant community composition. Goals and objectives were outlines in 3-, 5-, and 10-year outcomes and roles for different organizations to work towards.
A innovative part of the plan was modeling of the entire watershed using a Riparian Condition Assessment Tool developed by Riverscapes Consortium. This modeling technique looks at changes in vegetation communities, elevation, and infrastructure along the stream corridor to identify portions of the river where vegetation changes and erosion risk are high. This was done to help prioritize restoration efforts and identify problem areas to start initial project planning for stakeholders along the river.
The intent is for the document to become a living document that VWRC can update and modify as conditions and needs changes along the river through an adaptive management process.