Abstracts of presentations given on Wednesday, 19 July 2006, in session 22 of the UCOWR Conference.


Riparian areas are called “ribbons of life” since they are considered the most productive habitats in North America (Johnson et al. 1977; Chaney et al. 1990). In the arid western United States, riparian areas comprise less than 2% of the total land (Ffolliott et al. 2004). Despite their small area, Patten (1998) says that the role of riparian areas is disproportionate to their size, particularly in the semi-arid regions of North America. This is mainly due to the many functions and values of riparian areas. These functions and values are due to greater water availability relative to the adjacent terrestrial uplands, that adds greater vegetative and wildlife diversity. Riparian areas contribute to the improvement of water quality, particularly by reducing nonpoint source pollutants, and to increasing water quantity. Seventy percent of the threatened and endangered vertebrates in Arizona depend on riparian habitat (Johnson 1989). Domestic livestock are also attracted to riparian areas (Roath and Krueger 1982) for the same reasons that wildlife prefer riparian areas, high forage availability and abundance (Pinchak et al. 1991) and water availability (Ames 1977). Finally, riparian areas also have significant aesthetic values and are considered prime areas for recreational activities. The objective of this outreach program is to increase the awareness and knowledge of the public in Arizona about the importance of riparian areas, the processes that take place in riparian areas, and the human alteration these areas have endured. Three main activities were part of this project to meet the objective: 1) conduct educational workshops across the state, 2) develop an Arizona specific publication, and 3) develop a web-based educational module. The intended audience for this outreach program is the general public that includes farmers, ranchers, public and private land managers, watershed partnerships, recreationists, other riparian area users and interested public citizens.