Many are expecting water to be a key issue for the Arizona Legislature in 2018. As WRAN members, you know what this means - the decisions made in the next year will have long-term consequences for our rivers, birds, and other wildlife. Your voice will be critical in ensuring that water for natural areas remains a priority throughout the discussion and that’s why, as the New Year approaches, we’re keeping busy building the Network’s capacity and seeking opportunities to put you to action.
Speaking up before the session:
As the legislative session approaches, everyone with a stake in Arizona’s water policy is speaking up. With all of these constituencies at the table, the conversation is becoming increasingly complicated and, at the same time, “…there are some very real deadlines looming that will require legislative action…” The most important of these is for Arizona, California, and Nevada to agree on a Lower Basin drought contingency plan (DCP).
The longer we wait to enact the DCP, the greater risk there is to Arizona’s rivers. If a shortage is declared at Lake Mead under the current agreement, Arizona would suffer the bulk of the cuts in water delivery. This would have serious, negative impacts on our groundwater resources and agriculture, which would make it increasingly hard for us to advocate for water to be allocated to natural areas. Making things even more urgent, all seven of the CO River Basin states are scheduled to begin renegotiating the river’s operational guidelines in 2020. When this happens, the discussion will get even more complicated, making a Lower Basin agreement much harder to broker.
Before the conversation ramps up in 2018, we want to show leaders that WRAN’s large, diverse constituency understands the importance of the DCP to Arizona’s rivers and wildlife, and that we intend to be an active voice in the discussion. Help us secure our seat at the table by taking action today.
Educating the Network:
All of this talk of the DCP, Minute 323, and other complicated water policy issues might leave you wondering “how does all of this affect the rivers, birds, and wildlife I care about and how can I take positive conservation action?” As always, we have you covered!
Over the last few months, we offered a series of webinars discussing the specific policies, the impacts they have on Colorado River Basin and Delta, and ways you can help encourage positive policy decisions going forward. If you missed any of these webinar sessions, you can watch them all at the links below.
- Keeping Beer (and Rivers) Flowing - how craft breweries are taking action for Arizona’s rivers: Presented by: Danielle McPherson, WaterNow Alliance and AZ Pure Water Brew Challenge and Chase Saraiva, Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company.
- The Ecosystem Response to Restoration - Birds in the Colorado River Delta: Presented by: Dr. Osvel Hinojosa Huerta, Director of Pronatura Noroeste’s Water and Wetlands Program.
- System Conservation and Excess Water 101: Presented by: Kevin Moran, Senior Director of the Environmental Defense Fund's Colorado River Program & Amy McCoy, Director of AMP Insights.
Spreading the word:
We greatly value all of our members – birders, hunters and anglers, policy experts, and business leaders – but we understand that to be effective advocates for Arizona’s rivers, we need everyone on board. That’s why we’re teaming up with local craft breweries to help us spread the word about opportunities to take conservation action with WRAN.
Head to our Western Rivers Brewers’ Council (WRBC) webpage to learn more about the effort, and be sure to look out for our WRBC promotional materials when you visit your favorite conservation-minded brewpub. They’re branded with one of our favorite flagship riparian species, the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo, so they’re hard to miss!
As we anticipate a legislative session full of uncertainty, we know one thing for sure: Western Rivers Action Network members will be critical to our efforts to encourage forward-thinking policies that put our rivers, birds, and other wildlife first.
Enjoy the holiday season and rest up – we'll be counting on you in 2018!