The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), and Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) are allotting more than $686,000 in funds to protect water and wildlife along three Arizona waterways.
The ADEQ awarded a $412,000 Water Quality Improvement Grant to AZGFD, which will provide over $274,000 in matching funds, to improve water quality in Arizona’s San Pedro River, Little Colorado River and Oak Creek areas. Future projects will serve to maintain grass and rangeland health and wildlife habitats as well as water quality.
“We think this will be a great framework for broadening our audience and customer base and also for potentially implementing projects at low or no cost to landowners beyond maintenance requirements,” ADEQ Water Quality Division Director Trevor Baggiore said. “Teaming up with AZGFD’s Landowner Relations Program, which has a longstanding, strong local presence and ties to rural water management areas, will strengthen ADEQ’s ability to partner with rural landowners in identifying priority on-the-ground projects.”
A mixture of AZGFD funding, landowner contributions, in-kind services and a state Livestock Crop Conservation Grant Program will yield prospective matching funds as ADEQ appraises project success on a continuing basis.
“Many … water quality improvement goals dovetail nicely with grassland, rangeland and habitat improvement goals we share with ranchers and other partnering agencies,” AZGFD Landowner Relations Coordinator Wade Zarlingo said.
ADEQ’s Water Quality Improvement Grant program (WQIG) is funded through a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act.