Got Water? Thank (And Save) A Forest

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“When the well’s dry,” Benjamin Franklin once said, “we know the worth of water.” Today, our freshwater supplies face serious threats — including drought, wildfire, and other impacts of a warming climate. -Excerpt from article

Read this compelling article published by Water Online which is co-written by Maggie Hart Stebbins (Bernillo County Commissioner), and Paul Summerfelt (Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project Manager). Water Online is a “leading source of technical information and thought leadership for the drinking water and wastewater treatment community”.

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FWPP at the Western Working Lands Forum

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A representative from the Flagstaff Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest, presented on the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP) at a conference hosted by the Western Governors’ Association. District Ranger Mike Elson introduced the project and discussed how strong collaborative partnerships between local, state, and federal entities have been important for the ongoing success of FWPP.

See the video here:

Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project Celebrates Five Years with Mother Road Brewery

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Contact: Matthew Millar,
Promorional Flier: FWPP 5 Year Invitation

FLAGSTAFF, AZ – The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project is celebrating its 5-year anniversary with a special community event at Mother Road Brewing Co. on Fri, Oct. 13. Since great-tasting beer starts with clean water, there is reason to celebrate a project that reduces fire risk to area watersheds.

The FWPP was approved by city voters through a $10 million bond initiative in November 2012. The project is a partnership effort between city of Flagstaff, the Coconino National Forest, and the state of Arizona to help reduce the risk of severe wildfire and post-fire flooding in critical watersheds.

“FWPP at its core is a community project,” said Mike Elson, Flagstaff district ranger for the Coconino National Forest. “It’s a truly collaborative community approach to a challenge we are all facing together. That’s why we have reason to celebrate, and it’s why we are seen as a model for so many other communities to consider as well.”

The project has achieved significant progress delivering on the initiative’s agenda that was presented to voters in the 2012 general election. An environmental analysis of more than 15,000 acres was completed and approved in the first three years—a triumph for a project of its complexity and size. Over the past five years, crews and contractors have mobilized to implement fuels reduction treatments on nearly 5,000 acres throughout the project footprint, including Observatory Mesa, state lands within the City and on federal land in the Dry Lake Hills area.

“FWPP has put the city of Flagstaff in a national leadership role in demonstrating how local government, in partnership with state and federal agencies, can effectively address wildfire hazard and the protection of critical watersheds,” said Paul Summerfelt, wildland fire management officer for the city of Flagstaff. “This is the first, and only, voter-approved project of its kind in the country, and the citizens of Flagstaff deserve all the credit for making this happen.”

To celebrate the project’s 5-year milestone, Mother Road Brewery created a special batch of “FWPP watershed beer” and will tap it at the anniversary event. This is a special partnership between a local business that uses water for its products and an initiative aimed at preserving critical watersheds and the community’s water supply.

The Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership invites the public to join members of the FWPP in celebrating the project’s progress and success at Mother Road Brewing Co., 7 S. Mikes Pike, from 6–7 p.m. on Fri, Oct. 13. For more information about FWPP, visit

Flagstaff moves forward on the Watershed Protection Project

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The following article was published in the Arizona Daily Sun on April 30, 2013

The Hardy Fire scorched southeast of Flagstaff in June of 2010, drawing dangerously close to several neighborhoods and forcing Flagstaff Fire Department officials to implement mandatory evacuations. Luck would have it that forested areas around the Little America hotel had been treated to diminish fire intensity, allowing firefighters to contain the fire that had, at one point, jumped across a nearly eighth of a mile Rio De Flag drainage. After several days, when firefighters had containment in their sight, the Hardy fire’s big sister peeked out as black smoke rising above mountains to the north— the Schultz fire had begun it’s run.

The days that followed serve as a sharp reminder of the devastation forest fires can present. Nearly 50 homes northeast of the city were damaged by the subsequent flooding and 15,000 acres of forest were destroyed. City of Flagstaff officials, realizing the necessity of forest treatments near the city to avoid a more disastrous repeat of the Schultz fire, began a public awareness campaign in 2012 that culminated in the passage of proposition 405 in November to allocate $10 million of taxpayer money on what is now known as the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP).

Voters approved the proposition with a near 74 percent approval rating. Unlike other locally sourced funding for similar projects around the nation, Flagstaff’s is the first to result from a direct citizen vote. Other projects rely on utility fees over time for preservation projects, whereas Flagstaff’s model allows for quicker implementation with immediate funding.

Continue Reading Here.

FWPP Signing Ceremony

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On April 22, 2013 various Federal, State and City officials and project supporters met at the Museum of Northern Arizona to sign a proclamation expressing their commitmment to support the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project. The link below will take you to a short video produced by the Arizona Daily Sun of the event.

FWPP Signing Ceremony – Via AZDS

FWPP article appearing in the Spring 2013 Cityscape

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Cityscape 2013

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The Flagstaff area has long been a national leader in forest research and management. As home of the nation’s oldest research forest, the ponderosa pine forests surrounding Flagstaff have been extensively studied and have become home to numerous innovative forest management and restoration activities. Our forests are integral to life in northern Arizona, and it is no surprise that area residents are keenly aware of and informed about the benefits healthy forests provide and the potentially devastating impacts that can result from unhealthy conditions. Citizen support for healthy forests has Flagstaff in the national spotlight once again with the November 2012 voter approved $10 million bond to support accelerated forest health treatments within two key watersheds on the Coconino National Forest and Arizona State Trust lands.

FWPP Op/Ed published in the AZ Republic

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AZ Republic Op Ed 3-18-13Flagstaff voters overwhelmingly approved in November a bond question for the Forest Health and Water Supply Protection Project. Not your typical municipal bond, this initiative authorizes Flagstaff to issue $10 million in bonds to support restoration projects on U.S. Forest Service and sate lands just outside Flagstaff city limits.
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