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Forest Service wants to protect nearly 40 miles of the Upper Verde River in central Arizona

The U.S. Forest Service wants to protect 36 miles of the Upper Verde River in central Arizona by placing it under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. 

The agency considers the act as the greatest level of protection of the nation’s rivers and streams. It protects against any development that would interrupt a river body’s free-flowing nature.

Officials from the Prescott and Coconino national forests completed a suitability study of the region that started two years ago. That’s when the Bureau of Reclamation proposed building two barriers in 2 mile-long stretches of the river to protect native fish. Those two stretches of the river fall outside the act’s protection, freeing them up for those fish barriers.

The Forest Service’s recommendation still needs congressional approval. 

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Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.