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Please visit our just-launched updated RESPONSIVE website with new technological features that optimize its display for whatever device it is on: computer, tablet, or mobile. In addition, residents and visitors will soon be able to scan a QR code on one of our signs or communications and be taken directly to our website for further review.

 We hope you enjoy the new format and look. Oak Creek Canyon will be going through a restoration period for several years after the Slide Fire. Our site will be a reminder of how pristine it was, and more importantly, how it will be again.


Our team of four Oak Creek Ambassadors (A-Team) are trained and ready to patrol Oak Creek Canyon and various recreation sites around Sedona this summer. They will be providing several services to the community including litter pickup, sampling monitoring of Oak Creek, watershed education for visitors and residents, as well as post-fire restoration assistance.


The photo was taken at the May 23, 2014 Slide Fire Incident Management Team meeting in Sedona. Ambassadors at back from left to right are Kat, Cordel, Max and Dalton. Front: Darren McCormick, Ambassador Liaison, Marie McCormick, Assistant Director, Operations and Rob Rowley, Coconino County Emergency Manager.

The Ambassador Team is a partnership program by the Forest Service, Red Rock Ranger District, Oak Creek Watershed Council (OCWC) and Arizona Conservation Corps. Funding for the program is through a grant by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Water Act.

Since May, 2013, the Ambassador Team, OCWC volunteers from Friends of Oak Creek, and student volunteers have picked up 2 tons of litter from recreation sites in the Oak Creek Corridor including 129 diapers and 86 pounds of feces (human and dog). On the positive side, they have chatted with over 12,000 people and given 900 hours of watershed education.


Oak Creek Watershed Council started to implement its Pet Waste Station program in 2012 and now includes 32 Zero Waste Gladiator dog waste utilities. 15 are allocated to private property owners; 14 to the city of Sedona and 3 to the Red Rock Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service.

During the past 6 months, 1232 pounds of dog feces have been reported disposed of which otherwise might have been transported into Oak Creek during storm events.

Rainfall and snowmelt wash dog, human and wildlife animal feces, as well as other pollutants such as sediments, into Oak Creek. Feces contain a bacteria called Escherichia coli (E. coli) which is also used as an indicator for other pathogens that can affect human health.

Bacteria concentrations exceeding the Arizona Surface Water Quality Standard often correspond with storm flow events as well as concentrated recreation, and might also be associated with septic leakage.

Sediment reservoirs build throughout the spring-summer as sediment and E. coli are washed into Oak Creek and can hold tens to thousands times more E. coli than the water column.

There are 435.6 grams in one pound of feces, and an average of 23 million E. coli bacteria in EACH GRAM.


In the spring of this year, Darren McCormick and Diane Schumacher, Sedona-Oak Creek middle school science teachers, developed a two week long curriculum pertaining to watershed and water quality education. Students gained a deeper understanding of the Oak Creek watershed along with implications of certain actions on water quality. Approximately 200 seventh and eighth grade students took part in the curriculum.

Students were taken through the water cycle and then brought into the concepts of underground water and watersheds, examining watersheds from big to small and exploring how pollutants can travel within a watershed. Students underwent a problem based investigation which explored the water quality of Oak Creek and the many stakeholders who affect and are effected by water quality. Students formed their own mini watershed councils, researching and coming up with their own watershed improvement plans. The curriculum culminated with a field trip to Slide Rock State Park where students met with water quality researchers from the University of Arizona (UA) to conduct water sampling of the creek. The UA team brought their mobile lab so students could seal and incubate their water samples to test for E. coli.

Students walked away with a deeper understanding and WATERSHED EDUCATION AT WSS, FEB 25, 2014 with a personal stake in the water quality of Oak Creek. Local students will become the next generation of water quality ambassadors, educators and decision in the community surrounding and affecting Oak Creek.

We invite residents of the watershed to join our volunteer group, Friends of Oak Creek, and help with the post-fire restoration as well as preserve Oak Creek’s integrity. A few hours a month collectively can add up to restoration of an area or reducing E.coli in several recreational areas, as well as helping to educate others to recreate responsibly.

To learn more about opportunities to support a clean and beautiful Oak Creek, visit or call 928-554-5460. If you are interested in volunteering a few hours of your time with Friends of Oak Creek please contact Marie McCormick This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

- Thank you for your continued support -

Together we ARE making a difference!

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