Kayaking the Verde River near Camp Verde, Arizona. Flow has increased in this 20-mile stretch due to Conservancy partnerships with irrigators.
Kayaking the Verde Kayaking the Verde River near Camp Verde, Arizona. Flow has increased in this 20-mile stretch due to Conservancy partnerships with irrigators. © Tana Kappel/TNC

Newsroom

Protecting Your Water, Enhancing Your Fun

Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust funds Verde River projects

Cottonwood, AZ

A collaboration between The Nature Conservancy, Arizona State Parks and Trails and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust will keep more water in the Verde River while enhancing your recreational experiences at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, located along the river in Cottonwood.

This news is especially important in light of the winter drought and ongoing concerns about how warmer and drier weather will impact the quality and quantity of our water. The Verde River supplies drinking water to 14 communities including more than 3 million people in the Phoenix metropolitan area, yet in recent years, the river’s flow has reached historic lows.

With support from Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, partners designed and installed a recirculation system to reduce pumping from the river while keeping fishing lagoons healthy and protecting native species. The old system didn’t work so water was diverted from the river and pushed out. The new system improves water quality and uses less water from the river.

Years ago, Dead Horse Ranch State Park was a working ranch. Now, it’s a popular place for outdoor enthusiasts with camping, fishing, cabins, hiking, paddling, and bird watching.

The fishing lagoons and the Verde River provide excellent habitat for birds.

“We strive to ensure Arizona’s natural, cultural and recreational resources are protected and preserved for everyone to enjoy,” says Sue Black, Arizona State Parks and Trails executive director. “Spending time outdoors can help us be happier and healthier, as well as provide education about our environment.”

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, based in Phoenix and Indianapolis, recently donated more than $3 million dollars to support the Conservancy’s Verde River projects.

“We’re thrilled to partner on this project which is designed to protect and restore the Verde River while driving important conversations around water conservation,” remarks Carol Peden Schilling, chair of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. “Our support helps ensure there’s enough water in the Verde River to provide drinking water for people, boost local economies and enhance recreational opportunities.”

For more than a decade, The Nature Conservancy has been working with partners to develop innovative solutions – such as the Verde River Exchange and  Sinagua Malt– to increase the flow of the Verde River.

“We can solve Arizona’s water challenges by finding common ground and working together,” says Patrick Graham, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona. “When we protect and preserve our natural resources, we improve our quality of life. This is good for people and good for nature.”    

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.