Sedona AZ (July 7, 2012) – The Oak Creek Watershed Council has completed the Oak Creek Watershed Improvement Plan (OCWIP) draft and received approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to move forward with public review of the document.
Funded by a grant from ADEQ and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in October 2009, the OCWIP identifies problems associated with the impairment of Oak Creek by the fecal coliform Escherichia coli (E. coli) and outlines solutions to those problems. In addition, the ADEQ and EPA grant funds the development of the Oak Creek Community Outreach Program (OCCOP).
“Oak Creek is not attaining water quality standards for E. coli because exceedances have been found repeatedly – for many years. The presence of E. coli in Oak Creek is a concern because it is an indicator of the likely presence of fecal contamination which may cause human health problems. The OCWIP is a work-in-progress document that will provide guidance to the Oak Creek Watershed community as well as environmental professionals in the future,” explained Barry Allan, OCWC Executive Director.
The public is asked to attend the July 19, 2012 OCWIP presentation led by its primary investigator, Sharon Masek Lopez, with other OCWC team members at the Sedona Public Library, 3265 White Bear Road, west Sedona Arizona 86336. The two-hour program will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a twenty minute pre-registration opportunity.
“We had an excellent response from property owners in the watershed to the scientific social survey on the health of Oak Creek,” said Allan, “and so we expect a full house on the 19th. With this in mind, I would advise attendees to drop us a note at email@example.com and let us know how many in your party to expect. It will help a lot with our planning.”
The Oak Creek Watershed Improvement Plan draft is posted on the Oak Creek Watershed Council website at OakCreekWatershed.org; click on “OCWIP for Public Review and Comment” to downloaded the Plan in its entirety or in sections. Public comments may be sent through email or by mail.
The public review period continues throughout July 2012 after which the OCWIP team will edit the Plan document and resubmit to ADEQ by August 31, 2012 for its final approval. In the meantime, sampling teams will continue to monitor several areas of Oak Creek and submit the findings to ADEQ.
“This grant project may finish on September 30,” explained Allan, “but there will be further funding next year to help us implement the solutions to Oak Creek’s pollution problems.”
Residents and visitors can learn more about the stewardship of Oak Creek by visiting Oakcreekwatershed.org. The Oak Creek Watershed Council also sponsors a second website that focuses on Oak Creek Canyon at OakCreekCanyonAz.org. The Oak Creek Watershed Council is a non profit 501 (c) (3) corporation dedicated to protecting the Oak Creek Watershed environment, and preserving the integrity of Oak Creek and its tributaries.