The year has only just started, but with the Arizona Legislature open as of Monday, January 14th and Governor Ducey delivering a State of the State address emphasizing the need to take action on Arizona’s water issues, we’re already off to a running start. During his address, the Governor said the issue of Arizona’s water future “…is important and it’s urgent. Our economy. Our environment. Our future.”
We are preparing to help WRAN members push the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) forward, planning hands-on river restoration projects, and, of course, taking the time to enjoy and celebrate the rivers and birds that inspire the work. Read on to learn how you can get involved.
Preparing for the Legislative Session:
Arizona’s lawmakers are wasting no time educating themselves on Arizona’s water issues in anticipation of coming bills that together will represent the Arizona DCP. The Western Rivers Action Network is seen as an expert resource and it will be critically important for WRAN members to speak up as these bills come up for consideration.
To weigh in on active bills, you must sign up for Arizona’s Request to Speak (RTS) system. Once registered, you can weigh in to indicate your support or opposition to bills from any device with an internet connection. If you would like to sign up but do not have time to confirm your account in person at the Arizona Capitol, you can use this handy online form to have Audubon staff activate your account for you. Once we have activated your account, we will follow-up with login instructions. Also, if you are unsure of who your individual legislators are, you can identify them and find their contact information here.
Sign up today so you are ready to take action for Arizona’s rivers!
Celebrating the Yuma Ridgway’s Rail:
Over the weekend of January 5th, Audubon Arizona participated in Yuma’s inaugural Bird, Nature, and History Festival. The festival immersed participants in the natural beauty of Yuma and the surrounding area, including the main stem of the Colorado River, through seminars, canoe trips, bat viewing, historical tours, birding trips, and more. Also during the festival, we formally dedicated four Global, one Continental, and two State Important Bird Areas (IBAs). During the dedication event, Audubon Arizona Director of Bird Conservation, Tice Supplee, called these IBAs a “string of pearls” on the Colorado River.
To help elevate the festival, the river, and the birds that they support, Prison Hill Brewing Company released a brew in honor of one of Yuma’s most emblematic and imperiled species – the Yuma Ridgway’s Rail. These secretive birds depend on dense vegetation and marshy habitats and, despite having been listed as Endangered in 1967, they still find refuge along the lower Colorado River. Ridgway’s Rail IPA, an oatmeal IPA with Galaxy, Citra, and Amarillo hops, was released on January 4th and will be available on tap at Prison Hill while supplies last.
Learn more about Yuma’s newly dedicated IBAs at the links below:
Restoring the Salt River for Birds and Beer:
We know we can count on you to take action to support sound water policy, but how do you feel about getting your hands dirty for Arizona’s rivers?
On February 16th, we will be joining the National Forest Foundation and Northern Arizona University for a Conservation Workday on the lower Salt River. Work will focus on a previously burned area and will include tree planting, river clean-up, and the construction of protective brush barriers near new plantings. Once the work is done, volunteers and the public are invited to gather at O.H.S.O Brewery and Distillery’s Gilbert location to celebrate the Salt River and the birds (and beer) it supports.
To mark the occasion, O.H.S.O, Oro, and Pedal Haus breweries will be releasing a new Western Rivers Brewers’ Council collaboration: Salt River Nut Brown Ale. This candy bar brown ale, featuring Sinagua Malt and made with water from the Salt and Verde River watershed, will be released on February 2nd and will be available on tap at all three breweries while supplies last.
- Register for the Salt River Conservation Workday here
- Learn more about the post-workday celebration here
We will continue to keep our Western Rivers Action Network leaders and grassroots updated as 2019 and the legislative session proceeds. We expect a busy session with DCP and other water issues and will, as always need your continued support. Thank you for taking action for Western Rivers!