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The Oak Creek Community Outreach Program (OCCOP) will essentially be a community-driven (maintenance) program to remove trash and litter from Oak Creek, as well as educate watershed residents, and visitors, in the proper stewardship of Oak Creek so as to raise the bar on outdoor ethics practiced (or not).

January 1, 2012  |  PDF version HERE

While the OCWIP is a community-driven project based on a scientific approach, and designed to identify and reduce, if not eliminate, fecal contamination, the OCWC recognizes that without the continuing involvement, and understanding, by the watershed community on an on-going basis, permanently removing Oak Creek from the impaired list will be an overwhelming challenge.

Oak Creek is the thread that weaves together the fabric of our watershed community, as well as being vital to its economic, recreational and natural future. The Oak Creek Watershed Council is committed to preserving the integrity of Oak Creek and recognizes that its stewardship must be a part of the watershed community culture.

To this end, the mission of the Oak Creek Community Outreach Program (OCCOP) will be to educate residents and visitors to Oak Creek in following protocols that are expected of them in its use, while at the same time mobilizing a “boots-on-the-ground” volunteer task force to participate in a litter and trash pick-up program, that will eventually involve the entire length of Oak Creek. It is common for used diapers, as well as animal and human feces, to be found in and around many areas of Oak Creek. Litter and trash, as well as left-over food and refreshments, are also routinely observed, and attract forest animals such as skunks and raccoons that add to the fecal contamination.

A better understanding, and participation, by the watershed community, will ensure the legacy of a pristine, and trouble-free, Oak Creek for future generations, and improve the quality of life for those who live within the watershed.

Program Overview

The Oak Creek Community Outreach Program (OCCOP) will essentially be a community-driven (maintenance) program to remove trash and litter from Oak Creek, as well as educate watershed residents, and visitors, in the proper stewardship of Oak Creek so as to raise the bar on outdoor ethics practiced (or not).

Our group will partner with individual volunteers; other community group volunteers; as well as those graduating from our newly developed Master Watershed Steward Program in June of 2011 and 2012, in order to field at least fifty volunteers for trash and litter pickup in Oak Creek.

1. Six sites -each one mile segments of Oak Creek -will be chosen for cleanup, which will be performed in the Spring and late Summer of 2012. This will be a one year pilot program in the field that we will closely review with the goal of expanding it in 2013 and beyond, to include more one-mile segments until all fifty five miles of Oak Creek are being maintained in perpetuity. We envision the future administration of the cleanup program will be similar to an Adopt-A-Highway litter pickup only referred to as Adopt-A-Creek, and follow the guidelines set out in the National River Cleanup program sponsored by American Rivers.

2. Other volunteers in Oak Creek COP will also directly solicit the help of businesses in the community and encourage them to give brochures and informational materials, developed through this program, to their customers, as well as display “litter” posters in their windows. We will also partner with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce to meet these objectives with particular focus on recreational oriented businesses like jeep tours and outdoor guides. U.S. Forest Service information centers will also be contacted.

3. We will insert relevant educational materials into our two websites and as well as partner with local visitor-oriented websites to maximize the stewardship messages in Oak Creek COP. In 2009, our Oak Creek Canyon website received over 850,000 hits, through partnering with other websites including (but not limited to) the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, Arizona State Parks and Arizona Highways. It currently is receiving over 25,000 hits a month.

4. In order to promote stewardship of Oak Creek to students, presentations will be made at local high schools and teachers encouraged to partner with us on the cleanup of Oak Creek. We also plan to have a watershed terrain model manufactured that can be used in presentations as well as viewed at local libraries and government complexes. Close cooperation with local government officials will also be attained.

5. Media support will be solicited on a regularly scheduled basis to support both the field and outreach programs, and a series of articles planned through authorship by a volunteer freelance journalist during the term of this extension. We already have a media pool of 25 journalists and news organizations including several that are reporting the progress of the OCWIP on a regular basis, such as NBC-KPNX; Yavapai Broadcasting’s ‘County Wide’ talk show hosted by Paul David; Arizona Sun (Flagstaff); Sedona Red Rock News; and (internet publication). A small amount of advertising is also planned.

The bulk of the funding will be spent on the preparation and development of the Oak Creek Community Outreach Program as well as equipment and supplies needed by the volunteer task force. 

In order to ensure a solid, well thought out Community Outreach Program that will be sustained for many years in the future, we will incorporate a review of field and outreach operations with feedback and suggested changes as needed into a final report at the end of the grant term, as well as an outline of the results of our activities and recommendations for field operations in the following year(s) along with administrative support. 

It is anticipated that future funding requirements beyond this initial grant will be geared towards outreach support as well as field supplies when more miles are added, although it is anticipated that recommendations put forward by our volunteer task force after the late summer cleanup may include consideration of some additional best management practices (BMPs).

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