The Verde River
© 2017 Stephen Probert


Securing Water and Ensuring Quality of Life in Arizona

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust has donated $125,000 to The Nature Conservancy in Arizona.

Phoenix, AZ

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust has donated $125,000 to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Arizona. The money supports two Verde River projects designed to keep more water in the river to benefit people and nature. One is focused on a watershed health report card and the other engages municipalities in water management. 

This news is especially important in light of 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. 

“The Nature Conservancy is committed to saving the Verde and Salt Rivers which are the lifeline of central Arizona,” says Pat Graham, State director for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona. “Earlier this year, we were part of a collaborative effort that protected three miles of the Verde River and a family farm from future development.” 

A portion of the Pulliam funding will support the development of the Verde River Watershed Report Card. Bringing together diverse stakeholders – including the US Forest Service, four municipalities and Friends of the Verde River among other conservation organizations – and using strong science, the report card will be a tool to evaluate and track the social, ecologic, and economic health of the watershed. 

“Creating this tool provides an opportunity to work together to establish plans to restore the river and habitat while promoting community stewardship,” says Dr. Nancy Steele, Executive Director, Friends of the Verde River. 

Funding will also support collaboration with communities upstream who both depend on the river and play a key role in protecting flows. This will include funding for project development to increase effluent recharge and reuse, identification of water loss and increase in low-impact development. Through this work, Friends of the Verde River and TNC aim to complement and increase the positive impacts that communities can have on Verde River flows. 

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, based in Phoenix and Indianapolis, has been helping people in need, protecting animals and nature and enriching community life since its inception in 1997. 

“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. 

The Verde River Watershed Report Card will be released to the public in January 2020. 

To learn more about our work along the Verde River, visit

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 and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.