FOSSIL CREEK VICTORY! AGREEMENT REACHED TO
DECOMMISSION POWER PLANT, REMOVE DIVERSION DAM
INFRASTRUCTURE AND RESTORE VEGETATION
After years of grassroots activity, legal notices and intense negotiations,
the Center for Biological Diversity, a coalition of environmental groups
and the Yavapai-Apache Nation have secured a legal agreement to
restore water flows to Fossil Creek in central Arizona. Fossil Creek is fed
by artesian springs at an amazing rate of 320 gallons per second, but for
over 90 years, the Arizona Public Service Company (APS) has dammed
the creek to feed the Childs-Irving hydropower plant. This has left the
entire 14-mile length of the creek dry and the surrounding ecosystem
APS had applied to renew its dam license for 30 years, but under the
terms of the agreement will withdraw the application. The power plant
will be decommissioned by 12-31-04 and the site restored by 2009.
Some minor structures will be left for historical reference, but the entire
aboveground flume system, bridges, penstocks, and the top six feet of
the dam including the intake structure will be removed. The maintenance
road will be restored to a hiking trail and three small bridges will be
removed to eliminate potential ORV routes. Underground tunnels will be
fitted with bat friendly grates.
The final, legally binding agreement, including the how-to prescription,
has been signed by APS, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Yavapai-
Apache Nation, American Rivers, The Nature Conservancy, Northern
Arizona Audubon Society, and the Arizona Riparian Council.