Tactic A2.3 | Visit Sedona

Tactic A2.3

Water Quality & Restoration (long-term goal)

Develop systems to monitor and report water quality at high-visitation areas (e.g., Slide Rock State Park).

The quality of water in waterways heavily used by visitors is a long-standing issue and more can be done to safeguard the health of waterways and visitors by monitoring and reporting trends. This tactic focuses on educating visitors on how they affect water quality and how they can help ensure healthy waterways. High-use areas such as Slide Rock State Park would likely be targeted, along with attempts to change visitor use patterns to achieve improved conditions.


TIMEFRAME Long-term (4-5 years)

LEAD PARTNER Oak Creek Watershed Council

SUPPORTING PARTNERS SCC&TB, USFS, State Parks, Sustainability Alliance, ADEQ, Friends of the Verde River, Friends of the Forest

ALIGNING RESEARCH Nonprofit Focus Group, Land Manager Focus Group, GSTC


1. Number of days Oak Creek exceeds limits - TARGET = TBD / STATUS = TBD
2. Number of samples collected from OCWC, SRSP, and FOF - STATUS = 171
3. Reduction in E. coli exceedances - No exceedances in 2019
4. Create a comprehensive report using multiple sources of data collected over 4 years. - TARGET = 4 / STATUS = 3 (years of data analyzed) (new goal for FY21)


Water Quality Testing (long-term goal)

Develop systems to monitor and report water quality at high-visitation areas. (e.g., Slide Rock State Park).

FY22   The Oak Creek Watershed Council OCWC) recorded seven exceedances in 2020 and 2021, but none on the Tuesday sampling dates. In FY22, there have been fewer exceedances during the high-use weekend sampling dates. However, due to forest closures, 4th of July sampling did not occur in 2021, and it should be noted exceedance may have occurred during that period if usage and visitation had matched 2020, when exceedance did occur. Weekend and holiday monitoring will continue from March 2022 until September (Fiscal Year 23).
The 2021 Water Quality and OCWC Project Summary Report  is online.
View the 2020 water quality report here.
Although this is a long-term tactic and no action is called for in the first two years of the STP, several developments deserve mention.

FY21:  The Oak Creek Watershed Council (OCWC) posted the 2020 water quality report on its website in the in June 2021.
OCWC is monitoring water quality over high-use days in partnership with ADEQ and continued sampling on Tuesdays along with Slide Rock State Park and Friends of the Forest in June 2021.
The OCWC team completed summer sampling from June-September 2020. Of the three upper Oak Creek Canyon sites sampled on a Tuesday, there were no E. coli exceedances recorded. However, additional weekend sampling showed exceedances across Oak Creek Canyon during holiday weekends.

FY20: OCWC published a water quality report summarizing sampling results from 2018 and summer 2019 on the OCWC website.  There were no exceedances recorded from OCWC samples in 2019. This could be attributed to a lack of turbidity and zero storm occurrence while sampling. Also, the Slide Rock State Park and Friends of the Forest Tuesday samples may not be the most indicative of  the number of visitors impacting water quality.
The OCWC team completed annual training in Summer 2020 and began sampling along West Fork and downstream of Pine Flat.