by Lucero Radonic, Graduate Outreach Assistant and Susanna Eden, WRRC
In the City of Prescott, the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve, along Granite Creek, is an oasis for wildlife and humans surrounded by development. The city’s wastewater treatment plant and transfer station are located a block to the east, a lumber company and a concrete block manufacturer are located to the south, Highway 89 and some dense subdivisions are to the west. Over the last century, this riparian area has been a sand and gravel mine, a dumpsite, a 4-wheel playground, and a shooting range. In 1995, the City of Prescott established the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve and transferred its management to Prescott Creeks, a grassroots organization working to improve the health of the local Granite Creek Watershed. With the labor of community volunteers, Prescott Creeks realigned four sections of the degraded creek channel giving them a more natural course and revegetated the floodplain to restore riparian habitat and improve water quality. In an area where non-point source pollution is a serious water quality issue, these changes help slow stormwater runoff and filter E-coli bacteria and other contaminants.