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For Immediate Release, March 16, 2009

Contact: Edie Dillon, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 277-9155

Verde River Exhibit Celebrates the Unique Values of Arizona's Desert Jewel

PRESCOTT, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity has teamed up with local photographers, poets, and Prescott College senior Allison Trowbridge to deliver a mixed-media interpretive exhibit to the Prescott Public Library. The exhibit, titled “The Verde River: Green Heart of Arizona – Endangered Desert Jewel,” celebrates this ecological and aesthetic treasure in Prescott’s backyard.

“With this exhibit we wanted to emphasize what is at stake as well as some of the multiple ways in which the Verde is threatened,” says Michelle Harrington, rivers conservation manager at the Center for Biological Diversity. “For example, the city of Prescott claims to have a mitigation plan to avoid impacts to the river from proposed pumping because they have moved the well for their Big Chino pipeline further up the wash from the river. This will only possibly delay impacts. It won’t prevent them. The city has not yet produced a comprehensive, scientifically verifiable mitigation plan for which the citizens have repeated and reasonably asked.”

The Center for Biological Diversity hosts a wide spectrum of events to educate local citizens about threats to the Verde River that include groundwater pumping, off-road vehicle damage, pollution from sludge dumping, and human population growth. The Verde has attracted the concern of national conservation organizations, including American Rivers, which included the river in its 2006 list of the country’s top 10 endangered rivers.

The library exhibit is installed in the “Viewerie” along the back inside wall. Panels in the 21-foot display area tell the Verde’s story through words and images. They feature talented local photographers and naturalists Gary Beverly, Walt Anderson, and Robin Silver, as well as poems by Mary Bragg, Susan McElheran, Sheila Sanderson, River Fleischner, and Dee Hamilton. Viewers are introduced to the diverse array of plants and animals that depend on the river, the myriad threats it faces, and the role the community can take in speaking up for our watershed and protecting Arizona’s glowing green oasis.

The exhibit also presents a preliminary calendar for April River Days: A Week of Celebration and Action for the Verde, which occurs April 17 to 25. The second annual river festival draws on many groups and individuals in the community to provide events including music, hikes, children’s activities, and a community-wide Earth Day celebration.

The exhibit also includes a variety of ways the public can do their part to protect the Verde River. Off-road vehicle users are urged to follow rules and road designations, as well as to learn about the way vehicle use impacts wildlife habitat. The public is also urged to contact local officials about providing a comprehensive mitigation plan for the Big Chino pipeline and to support protections to keep the Verde flowing.

The Verde River exhibit will remain on display at the Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St., Prescott, through March 31. Library hours are Monday, Friday, and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information or for information about displaying the exhibit in another location, call Edie Dillon at (928) 277-9155.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national nonprofit conservation organization with more than 200,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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