Trekking to the source of Arizona’s Verde River

[Source: Steve Ayers, CV Bugle] — The Verde River begins its journey in a labyrinth of Proterozoic rock, Cambrian sandstone, Devonian dolomite, and Tertiary gravels interspersed with the surface flows and underground intrusion of volcanic lavas.  Its path to the sun is complex and only know is it beginning to be understood.  Nevertheless, it emerges in a series of springs that feed a forest of willows and cottonwoods and in the process provide the lifeblood for a variety of fish, fowl and wildlife.

In 1996 the Arizona Game & Fish Department, with money from the Heritage Fund, purchased a checkerboard of parcels just down stream from the point where the river emerges.  Then last December, the Nature Conservancy, after 20 years of trying, successfully purchased a 312-acre parcel that included the very springs themselves and also received an additional 160 donated by the former property owners Billy and Betty Wells.  In February of this year, the Nature Conservancy sold off all but 20 acres to Game & Fish, retaining the first few springs.  [Note: to read the full article, click here.]

Arizona Legislature dips into Game and Fish Dept.’s funds

[Source: DeWayne Smith, Arizona Republic] — Larry Voyles, Director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, likens the recent “sweep” of dedicated funds from his agency by the Arizona Legislature to balance the state’s massive budget to going unarmed into a knife fight.

“If you are not willing to get cut, you will be killed,” said Voyles.  “So, you want to take the cut on the outside of the forearm where there is no critical vein and bone is hit pretty quick, but not to the brain, liver or the heart.”  Voyles pointed out that Game and Fish didn’t want to lose anything, but the situation being what it was, “The main thing was to protect funds that are eligible to be used for matching federal excise taxes,” the heart of the wildlife agency’s budget.  [Note: to read the full article, click here.]