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Oak Creek Outreach Grant

The Oak Creek Watershed Council (OCWC) has been awarded a $253,326 grant by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) through its water quality improvement grant program to address polluted runoff from many different sources. Oak Creek, from its headwaters to around its confluence with the Verde River, is listed as in exceedance for E. coli bacteria, an indicator of fecal pollution.

 All of the projects in the new grant are dedicated to E. coli load reduction in Oak Creek either through construction of toilets and installation of pet waste stations or outreach support and education of visitors/community residents.

The OCWC is a full-service watershed management organization offering assistance and expertise to the community on all facets of water issues: water quality, quantity and conservation; watershed restoration; and the social, economic and environmental impacts on the watershed community.

On Supporting Economic Development ...Now

It is important for every resident in Sedona, and the watershed community, to understand not only how much time and effort is put into the marketing efforts aimed at sustainable tourism, but also how much support is needed from an organization like OCWC in order to help deal with the environmental impact of 3 million plus visitors.  It is a team effort that requires adequate funding for each member.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines sustainable tourism as: “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”

Sustainable tourism development requires the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus building. Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process and it requires constant monitoring of impacts, introducing the necessary preventive and/or corrective measures whenever necessary.

Sustainable tourism should also make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.

Those on the front line of tourism development are working to the max in order to maintain the flow of visitors to the Sedona area. The concern is not just the numbers of people but the amount of discretionary income they bring with them to spend. During recessionary times, people tend to look but not spend, or not spend as much. Marketing services and products is therefore as extremely important as the initial effort to promote the area’s attractions. Increased visitor numbers also results in an increase in the environmental impact, and budgets need to be adjusted to support these costs, too.

Sustainable tourism efforts are comprehensive and take time and funding, but you have to spend money to make money. With a limited budget, the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Bureau and others are losing ground against states and cities elsewhere that see the value of the tourism investment and fund much larger budgets.

This economy is showing signs across the board of turning around. Consumer confidence is rising. Interest in the Sedona – Oak Creek Canyon area is still high. It may take some time before discretionary income levels reach pre-recession times, but NOW is the time to INCREASE marketing efforts and help build up revenues from sales taxes. It’s a win-win for every Sedona citizen and a time for bold support of tourism and environmental professionals. It’s also a time for working together.

OCWC Work Plan 2013-2014

Our Plan is comprehensive and funded in part by the ADEQ Oak Creek Outreach Grant (OCOG). If you have time available, even 1 or 2 hours, and are interested in helping, you can read more HERE or contact FRIENDS OF OAK CREEK HERE.

  • Midgley Bridge Toilet Project
  • Oak Creek Cleanup
  • Oak Creek Ambassadors Program
  • Pet Waste Projects
  • Education program with Grade 6, 7, 8 and 9 science students at West Sedona School and Big Park School
  • Watershed Video- A 10 minute public awareness video …
  • Watershed Guide
  • Water Sampling Program
  • Prepare a grant application in partnership with the City of Sedona regarding stormwater retention on the Little Elf property
  • Re-submit the Community Stormwater Mitigation Pilot Project to ADEQ for funding.
  • Prepare and seek funding for the Oak Creek Hydrogeology and Water Resources Study.
  • Continue to assist Sedona’s Sustainability Commission/Committee in water issues and community outreach.
  • Continue to assist the Sedona Chamber of Commerce in the development of a Green Business Affinity Group and continue to support Sustainable Tourism.
  • Implementation of Oak Creek Community Outreach Program (OCCOP) including continuing education of residents and visitors in support of eliminating pollution of Oak Creek.
  • Upgrade web/social media sites at and
  • Partnering with Sedona, and Yavapai/Coconino counties to help resolve water-related issues in the Oak Creek Watershed.

Oak Creek is a protected Watercourse. Please...

  • Do not litter.
  • Use Public Restrooms (located at Indian Gardens and day use areas)
  • Pick up pet waste! This is one of the primary sources of E. coli contamination.
  • Leave No Trace.

Oak Creek es un curso de agua protegida. Por favor...

  • No dejar basura.
  • Utilizar baños públicos.
  • Recoger los desechos de mascotas.
  • No dejar rastro.

Oak Creek Ambassadors...

Two 2-person teams have been hired through the Coconino Rural Environment Corps (CREC) and trained by USFS and OCWC to serve as Oak Creek Ambassadors. These two teams will spend the summer and fall working on Oak Creek recreation sites and talking to visitors, picking up trash, human and dog waste, and making presentations to campground visitors. Their mission is to educate visitors to Oak Creek in practicing good stewardship and helping to prevent pollution.

The Ambassador program is funded by a grant from the Arizona Department of Environmental (ADEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Clean Water Act.

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