Daily Archives: April 7, 2017

Week 3 Rio Awareness

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Groundwater pumping directly affects rivers like the Verde River, Arizona’s last remaining perennial river. Click the image above to watch the Viva La Verde trailer produced by a group of partners in the Verde Valley.

We have reached Week 3 of our Rio Awareness campaign and this week’s theme is “Groundwater: the hidden, critical resource of the Southwest.”

Groundwater plays a vital role in supporting riparian habitats in Arizona including places like Oak Creek and the Verde River. We also rely upon groundwater for our water supply.

In Arizona, about 43% of drinking water originates from groundwater. Similarly, in Flagstaff about 40% of drinking water is drawn from the Lake Mary, Woody Mountain, Inner Basin, and local “in-city” wells. This precious resource is pumped from the C aquifer thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface. The C aquifer overlies the Redwall-Muav aquifer and these two aquifers, along with perched water-bearing zones, comprise groundwater storage on the Coconino Plateau.

Recharge to the C aquifer usually only occurs when snow is melting and running off, and only 2 to 4 percent of all annual precipitation contributes to this recharge (Guest Column to the AZ Daily Sun, March 2016). While snowmelt and rainfall provide some recharge to the aquifer, groundwater pumping has and will continue to affect the environments supported by groundwater. As we plan for the future it will be especially important to consider these tradeoffs as our community grows and the climate changes.

We have just over two weeks left of our fundraising campaign and so far we’ve raised over 40% of our $4,500 goal to support another year for our VISTA member, Chelsea. Please help us meet this goal before April 22nd by visiting our GoFundMe page, “Discovering Science along the Rio“.

Follow us on Facebook during our fundraising campaign to discover something new about the Rio every day!


Week 2 Rio Awareness Campaign

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Visitors at Upper Lake Mary get their feet wet as water spills over the dam for the first time since 2010. March 17, 2017

Springs and lakes in the Flagstaff area 

During Week One of our campaign, we focused on the importance and challenges of wastewater use in Flagstaff and the Southwest. Read our guest column on the topic published last week in the AZ Daily Sun.

This week we focus on springs and lakes in the Flagstaff area. Both provide critical habitat for wildlife as well as unique recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. Consider visiting some of the springs of the Rio de Flag watershed on your own (see this list of springs with directions) or during Jack Welch’s “Where’s the Water?” walk series in April and May (here’s the schedule).

Springs and lakes supply an important source of drinking water for the Flagstaff community. Today, Upper Lake Mary is at 100% capacity meaning that a greater percentage of our drinking water will originate from the lake over the course of this year.

Follow us on Facebook during our fundraising campaign to discover something new about the Rio every day!