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The Oak Creek Watershed Council (OCWC), formerly the Oak Creek Canyon Task Force, was organized in 1994 by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) as an informal watershed group, and evolved into a community-driven non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization on September 11, 2003. Here we outline our Mission, Goals, and Objectives.
 

Mission

The Oak Creek Watershed Council is dedicated to maintaining a standard of excellence for watershed stewardship, as well as preserving the integrity of Oak Creek, and its tributaries. 

Goals

The Water Quality Improvement Grant funds will be used to identify and mitigate sources of E. coli bacteria loading within the Oak Creek watershed so that this pollutant can be removed from Arizona’s “impaired” waters list. This will be accomplished in two phases. Phase I is a year-long process that begins with the primary objective of developing a watershed improvement coalition, a grassroots organization based on bio-social ecosystem management principles comprised of public and private sector stakeholders. Since the primary source of sources of E. coli contamination are poorly understood, the Coalition will provide oversight in identifying key problem areas in the Oak Creek watershed that are causing impairment, resulting in the development of a comprehensive watershed improvement plan (hereafter, Plan). Once the Plan is completed, an on-the-ground water quality improvement project(s) will be selected, submitted to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality ADEQ for review and approval, and implemented as Phase II. In summary, Phase II is implementation of the Plan and is also a year-long process, but includes effectiveness monitoring and adaptive management of the improvement project(s) after mitigation measures are implemented. At the conclusion of the second year, results of our efforts will be assessed to develop Phase III grant and match funding for large-scale and/or multiple mitigation efforts.

1. Conserve natural resources and enhance the environment for all users.
2. Sustain, improve and diversify recreational opportunities.
3. Improve water quality.
4. Sustain, enhance and improve the environment for wildlife.
5. Reduce damage from storms, floods, man-made activities and/or natural disasters.
6. Engage and maintain public and governmental involvement including local, state, federal, and tribal governments, through public outreach and education. A few of the specific outreach goals include:
a.  Development and enhancement of a website.
b.  Development of a multi- media, water quality campaign.
c.  Development of a Speakers Bureau to address local groups on the OCWC  program.
d.  Development of a Master Watershed Steward training and education program for members of the watershed communities who would like to volunteer their time and participate in OCWC projects.
e.  Development of an anti-litter/pollution program.
f.  Development of a student education program.
g.  Develop relationships with other community organizations.

Objectives

We envision that establishment of the Coalition by the Oak Creek Watershed Council (OCWC) will serve as the foundation for future watershed-scale restoration efforts in Oak Creek, and that our partnership with the ADEQ will result in a multi-year, mullti-objective effort that will satisfy the objectives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for watershed-based management and restoration. Future efforts will focus on restoration of ecological structure and function within the riparian corridor, and may include management for invasive species and restoration and habitat enhancement for native species, including imperiled and federally-listed threatened and endangered species. To accomplish future restoration, the OCWC will prioritize identifying funding opportunities and combining resources with a number or private and public sector partners, a strategy that is crucial to enhancing the effectiveness of government in the environmental arena.

1.  Gain and share a better understanding of the characteristics and dynamics of the watershed and how it impacts the quality of life of those who live within the watershed.
2.  Prepare comprehensive lists of issues and concerns of the populace and of local, state. and federal governments relating to point and non-point source pollution in the watershed.
3.  Identify and quantify the origins of point and non-point source pollution in the watershed.
4.  Establish or aid in the development of monitoring programs for point and non-point source pollution.
5.  Encourage action agencies, individuals and other governmental and non-governmental entities to use locally appropriate management practices (LAMPs) to reduce or eliminate point and non-point source pollution.
6.  Encourage fair and equitable actions through public involvement.
7.  Coordinate environmental planning and implementation with agencies, governments, environmental advocacy groups, and other private sector interests.
8.  Provide a forum to foster ongoing evaluation and improvement of environmental programs and regulations.
9.  Promote and sponsor public educational and outreach seminars and workshops for participants interested in learning about the watershed, water quality and quantity issues, and develop possible solutions for improvement.
10.  Assist local communities and groups in priority setting for environmental problems and provide a sound technical basis to support environmental decisions.
11.  Organize, store, and distribute information to the public on the watershed in general, upland areas, reaches of the river, urban areas, and valley areas.
12.  Obtain grants and contracts related to watershed resource issues and concerns.

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