Arizona Department of Environmental Quality officials announced Wednesday that a $70,791 grant has been awarded to Tonto Watershed Improvement Group to improve water quality in the Tonto Creek and Christopher Creek areas near Payson.
Both creeks have elevated levels of E. coli, phosphates, nitrate. In addition, with dissolved oxygen content in the water being low, many species of fish like trout are negatively affected.
Grant money will be used over the next two years to recruit a volunteer coordinator and train volunteers in using water testing equipment, documenting results and developing techniques to improve the watershed.
After conducting tests and analyzing results, volunteers will conduct public presentations about pollutant sources within the watershed and will address ways to properly manage septic systems, develop sanitary districts and discuss proper land use techniques.
“Environmental stewardship and education about sediment pollution sources go hand-in-hand. ADEQ is pleased to provide this money to the Tonto Watershed group to increase awareness and prevent pollution in two of the most scenic waterways in the state,” said ADEQ Director Benjamin H. Grumbles.
ADEQ's Water Quality Improvement Grant program is funded through a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act.