Tue, May 21

Partnership concept lost on Verde River Basin Partnership

Let's revisit the partnership John McCain described when he spoke of the Verde River Basin Partnership. Title II is to "authorize assistance for a collaborative and science-based water resource planning management Partnership for the Verde River Basin, consisting of members that represent Federal, State, and local agencies, along with economic, environmental, and community water interests in the Verde River Basin.

I was surprised to read of the decision Central Yavapai municipal and county officials have made to insist only elected officials should have a place on the Verde River Basin Partnership. Officials attending the meeting of the Regional Association of Local Governments felt many of the stakeholders around the table at the first Verde River Basin Partnership session represented "special or narrow interests," which would "usurp the policy and decision-making authority of the group."

Makes us sound like outlaws or at least semi-dangerous, don't you think?

The next exciting piece of news is that these same elected officials want those policies and decisions to be made by the areas with the most population. What a concept. Talk about usurping the policies and decision-making authority. Really sounds like a balanced approach, especially when it comes to the conservation of wildlife and habitat.

If we are going to get the same results when all is said and done after the formation of this Partnership, as we would if it never existed, then why bother? They can just write John McCain and let him know a lot of money can be saved because they've had it figured out all this time, so we don't need the Partnership.

Since population is heaviest in and around Prescott, the Verde Valley can just make do with what they decide to let us have. Isn't it funny how things just seem to work out? I especially enjoyed the mayor of Dewey-Humboldt, which is outside the Verde watershed, calling others "special interests" yet feeling he deserved to be considered a stakeholder in the partnership.

Speaking for the Arizona Wildlife Federation, apparently one of those "special and narrow interest" groups they are referring to that usurp authority, experience has taught us that elected officials from fast developing communities and counties seldom speak for wildlife or habitat or conservation.

Ryna Rock is the vice president Arizona Wildlife Federation and a resident of Camp Verde.