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Science and Innovations

Last Stretch of Arizona's Fossil Creek Receives Protection

Dan Sorensen / Western Rivers Conservancy

The U.S. Forest Service has purchased the last parcel of private land along Fossil Creek in central Arizona. It’s one of only two “Wild and Scenic Rivers” in the state. The purchase means the Forest Service can now manage the entire river corridor.

Fossil Creek is a spring-fed stream known for its rare travertine pools. It’s one of few free-flowing rivers in Arizona and home to many endangered species.

The Coconino National Forest purchased a 19-acre parcel bordering the creek from the Western Rivers Conservancy. The Portland-based nonprofit bought it from a private landowner last year to protect it from development.

Congress designated the creek as “Wild and Scenic” in 2009 after a historic dam decommissioning. The Forest Service is now developing a comprehensive plan to manage it for wildlife, water quality and recreation.

Western Rivers Conservancy

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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