The upper reaches of the East Verde River have been dry for most of the spring and summer because repairs were being made on the water line from Cragin (Blue Ridge) Reservoir to the pump station above the Washington Park subdivision.
In pastears, these have been excellent trout habitat as a healthy flow of water was provided when the pump was working.
The flow of water over the last five years has been sporadic, at best, during the summer months, which is the peak of the trout stocking program conducted by the Tonto Fish Hatchery.
Two years ago, the ownership of the water rights and the pump station changed hands and the Salt River Project is now responsible for the watershed and the Cragin (Blue Ridge) reservoir.
SRP has been busy upgrading the pipeline and pump station so that a more dependable flow of water will be available to the upper reaches of the East Verde watershed.
This waterlineas in need of extensive repair with very little maintenanceaving been done over its previous0 years of existence.
This is good news to trout anglers who will have an additional five miles of fishable waterll the way downstream to the second crossing.
With a healthy cool water flow and an acceptable pH reading, this part of the East Verde can be stocked consistently with catchable-size rainbows on a weekly basis.
The pump is capable of producing 30 cubic feet of water per second at maximum output, which is theoal ofRP, according to SRP official Tom Sands, who is managing the overall repair plan.
As a point of reference, this is comparable to the water flow of upper Tonto Creek during the summer under normal conditions.
The initial repairs are close to completion and the hope is to have a viable flow of water being pumped within the week.
This flow will continue until September 1 when the second phase of repairs will takelace. Sands, stated that the ultimate goal is to have water being pumped into the upper reaches of the East Verde from mid-April to September on a continual basis.
This schedule lines up perfectly with the summer trout stocking program of the Tonto Fish Hatchery.
The overall positive economic impact of the East Verde having a sizeable flow of water is much more far reaching than just the purchase of fishing licenses and trout stamps. The idea of Payson being a destination will be greatly enhanced when the East Verde River will flow consistently all summer long. Outdoor recreation in the ponderosa forests with a much-improved fishery will lure even more weekend vacationers to the Rim Country.
I understand that the big picture is to get that water into the Verde River watershed which will eventually be used by the Phoenix area.
By accomplishing this goal, SRP has also improved trout fishing during the summer months when anglers flock to the Rim Country to wet a line and maybe have a trout supper on an open campfire.
Thiss another success story where multiple uses for our natural resources benefit recreation as well as consumption.
This weekend take a friend fishing and enjoy the outdoors, God's creation.