Oak Creek Watershed Council Awarded $120,040 Grant by ADEQ

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Article courtesy of | October 24, 2014 | Sedona.Biz | Shared as educational material

Low Impact Design (LID) stormwater mitigation, pollution and runoff control, public education and outreach

Sedona AZ (October 24, 2014) – The Oak Creek Watershed Council (OCWC) has been awarded a $120,040 grant by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) through its water quality improvement grant program to address and control polluted runoff in the Carroll Canyon drainage. Mitigation will focus on the Settlers Rest neighborhood in West Sedona, located near the top of Carrol Canyon. Carroll Canyon drains most of West Sedona into Oak Creek. The area has a number of recreation trails which see heavy use by hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. These uses may be contributing to higher levels of erosion and fecal matter being left to get carried into Oak Creek during storm events. Oak Creek, from its headwaters to around its confluence with the Verde River, is listed as impaired for E. coli bacteria, an indicator of fecal pollution.

“The community of Sedona has a vital role to play in the stewardship of Oak Creek,” said Ryan Matson OCWC Grants Manager and Director. “This project puts private citizens of Sedona in the forefront, and empowers them to become aware of, and more readily address, potential nonpoint pollution sources that may occur on their private property.”

“This nonpoint source pollution could eventually end up in Oak Creek, and a distributed, citizen-oriented strategy toward localized treatment and watershed stewardship is a great way to address private property drainage impacts in the Oak Creek Watershed before they reach the creek.”

This project will serve to empower private properties to increase their watershed responsibility and educate them on ways to easily reduce erosion and pollutants that are carried by storm flows. It will also increase the percolation of stormwater into the ground, help native vegetation thrive, and create a community cohesion around stormwater management & stewardship. The goal is to ultimately reduce or eliminate the transport of pollutants like E. coli bacteria into Oak Creek.

In addition, the Settlers Rest Stormwater project will work with community members on private property to assist them in understanding Green Infrastructure strategies of Best Management Practices (BMP’s) that utilize low-cost and publicly approachable solutions that can be easily maintained by participating property owners. These BMP’s include series of retention basins and armored spillways and planting of native plants for soil retention and bioremediation. Outreach efforts will be made to encourage other residents and homeowner associations throughout Sedona to adopt similar practices.

“During the last grant we received from ADEQ” said Marie McCormick, OCWC Director of Operations “we were able to develop our Oak Creek Community Outreach Program further with our Education and Outreach Grant. This new grant will enable the OCWC to hit the ground running with low impact design landscape projects, and to educate residents and visitors to our area on the importance of keeping the Creek corridor clean utilizing cost effective measures locals can implement into their own landscape.

“Oak Creek is perpetually on the “non-attaining” list due to the persistence of the indicator fecal coliform bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) suggesting fecal contamination. This is a potential health issue that is only going to get worse if we all do not become more aware of it and do something about it.”

For information about how residents and visitors can learn more about the stewardship of Oak Creek, visit http://www.oakcreekwatershed.org

The Oak Creek Watershed Council also sponsors a second website which focuses on Oak Creek Canyon at http://www.oakcreekcanyonaz.org

The Oak Creek Watershed Council is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3). It is dedicated to maintaining a standard of excellence for watershed stewardship, as well as preserving the integrity of Oak Creek, and its tributaries.

ADEQ’s WQIG program funded through a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act. For more information about the program, visit http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/water/watershed/index.html#wqig

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