For Arizona Gives Day 2015, Watershed Management Group (WMG) unveiled our Restore Sabino Creek campaign and called on our supporters to help us raise $50,000. Restoring this verdant gem in the Sonoran Desert was so compelling that we raised more than $44,000. This upwelling of support took WMG to the top in the competition for Most Dollars Raised (mid-size nonprofits), adding an additional $15,000 in prize money from the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits—taking us $9,000 beyond our goal!
WMG’s Restore Sabino Creek campaign is blazing a new path for one of Arizona’s most beloved creeks, taking the first step in changing the tragic story of our depleted and dying desert springs, creeks, and rivers to one of hope.
In the last 60 years, the Tucson area has seen the loss of flow in the rivers that sustained human and wildlife populations for millennia. WMG is committed to reversing that trend through our 50 Year Program, and we began with Sabino Creek where once year-round flows have seriously diminished due to groundwater pumping and poor water management.
With the money raised on Arizona Gives Day 2015, combined with other fundraising and small grants, WMG has accomplished our first-year goals for the Restore Sabino Creek campaign and the campaign is coming to life. In the last year:
- The WMG-led stakeholder advisory group made headway in creating a comprehensive watershed plan to restore Sabino Creek with input from residents, local leaders, hydrologists, and river restoration experts.
- Along with videos, social media, and online resources, WMG held a large public event at our Living Lab and Learning Center to highlight the campaign. More than 75 adults and children came out for Once Upon a Creek: the Sabino Story to share memories and explore photos of the creek, experience a special “river revival” puppet show, and speak for the creek by contributing Sabino Creek memories to a national oral history project through StoryCorps™.
- We began planning a number of on-the-ground restoration projects that will install water-harvesting and stream restoration features on public and private lands along Sabino Creek to reduce outdoor use of potable water, improve soil health to prevent erosion, and increase infiltration to recharge the shallow groundwater that supports the creek.
This vital campaign has captured the hearts and minds of our supporters and inspired many new individuals and partners to join us. In 2016 we are expanding our work to include Tanque Verde Creek, another vital riparian area that joins with Sabino Creek.
Our 2016 Arizona Gives Day campaign will celebrate these successes and build on our momentum to raise even more money to support and expand this vital work. We look forward to another exciting day of giving in Arizona! Stay tuned for ways you can support our campaign by giving on Arizona Gives Day.