Arizona's Fossil Creek Flows Free

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Coalition chair American Rivers today celebrated the return of natural flows to Fossil Creek, a stream in central Arizona. Through relicensing, Arizona Public Service chose to decommission its Childs and Irving hydroelectric plants in favor of restoring the desert river to its natural flow and rhythms.

Welcome back, Fossil Creek.

American Rivers applauds Senator McCain for effort to protect Fossil Creek

Saturday, June 18, 2005
Contact: Andrew Fahlund. 202.347.7550

(Phoenix, Washington DC) American Rivers applauded Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today for committing to introduce a bill to protect Fossil Creek in the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System when Congress reconvenes later this month.

On June 18th, Arizona Public Service Corporation decommissioned its Child-Irving Hydropower project along Fossil Creek, restoring normal water levels to the stream for the first time in over 100 years. The water in this spring-fed stream contains unusually high levels of calcium, which creates uniquely fascinating formations. Now that the water has been restored along the entire length of the stream, Fossil Creek will provide habitat for several very rare desert fish species, as well as a tremendous recreational resource for local residents and visitors.

“Arizona Public Service has done its part by restoring Fossil Creek, now Senator McCain is doing his part by seeking permanent protection as a Wild and Scenic River,” said Andrew Fahlund, Vice President for Protection and Restoration at American Rivers. “We call on the Congress to recognize this leadership and act swiftly on Senator McCain's bill.”

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was signed into law in 1968 in order to preserve forever the free-flowing condition and outstanding values of some of our country's most precious rivers. To qualify, a river must be free-flowing and must be deemed to have one or more "outstandingly remarkable" scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values.

Once the president signs Senator McCains bill, the U.S. Forest Service will have additional authority and resources to protect Fossil Creek' s unique features.

“The Child-Irving Hydropower project was the first dam on Fossil Creek, Senator McCain' s bill will ensure that it will be the last and that the Forest Service will give this creek the care it deserves,” Fahlund said. “This is place where families can come to experience a sense of wonder for America' s natural blessings.”

American Rivers was founded in 1973 to increase the number of rivers protected by the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and to prevent the construction of large new dams on our last wild rivers. Today, the organization works on a variety of river conservation campaigns, and leads the nation's river movement.