Camp Verde receives Important Bird Area designation
The Verde Valley is a world-renowned destination for bird watchers.
They come not only to glimpse a handful of rare indigenous species, but to view a host of birds that stop by on their annual migration across the Americas.
In recognition of the wide variety of species, the National Audubon Society has designated the Pecks Lake/Tavasi Marsh area around Tuzigoot National Monument, as well as Lower Oak Creek around Page Springs, as Important Bird Areas (IBA).
This month, the Arizona office of the National Audubon Society science review team approved a third Verde Valley IBA—the 17-mile corridor of the Verde River, plus West Clear Creek and Wet Beaver Creek, within the corporate boundary of Camp Verde.
“This is a big deal, for a couple reasons,” said Town of Camp Verde Economic Development Director Steve Ayers, “First off, it puts us on the worldwide map for bird watchers, a notably affluent tourist demographic.”
“But just as important, if not more so, the IBA designation was a promise and priority of the town’s 2016 Verde River Recreation Master Plan, as well as a voter-approved element of the Camp Verde General Plan.
“The designation was driven by town residents and their desire to recognize and support the diversity of wildlife in Camp Verde.”
The IBA designation confers no legal status or requirements on either private or public landowners—rather the designation acknowledges the biodiversity of area and the value it has to bird conservation.
Around 20 volunteers from the Northern Arizona Audubon Society put in over 250 hours surveying for birds, multiple times over the course of a year, to gather information needed for the designation.
The Friends of the Verde River also provided funding and GIS mapping assistance for the IBA application.
The IBA program partners in Arizona are the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona Audubon and the Tucson Audubon Society.
The Verde River is one of Arizona’s last remaining perennially flowing river systems, with healthy riparian vegetation, including the extremely rare Fremont Cottonwood-Goodding Willow gallery forest type.
It provides a unique habitat that is preferred by bird species of concern, such as Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Common Black Hawk, Bell’s Vireo, Yellow Warbler, and Lucy’s Warbler.
The Camp Verde IBA is one of six in Yavapai County including Tuzigoot, Lower Oak Creek, Upper Verde River State Wildlife Area, Agua Fria National Monument and Watson Lake/Willow Lake in Prescott.