Verde Valley Land Preservation Institute: We Love Open Space!
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The Conservation Easement is a useful tool in land preservation. An Easement allows the current activity, which is often farming or ranching, to remain on the land in perpetuity. This provides an open space aspect and preservation of valuable riparian areas, historic places and traditional productive activity on the land.

Conservation Easement.

Invasive plants and animals are introduced species or "non-natives" that adversely alter the habitats they invade. Such species may disrupt by out-competing or over-populating a particular habitat or region due to loss of natural controls (such as predators or herbivores). The introduced species may itself be a predator or herbivore that native species have no defense against or deplete a food source for a native species. Giant cane (Arundo donax), Russian olive, tamarisk, tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), crayfish, bullfrogs as well as bluegill and bass are some introduced species in the Verde river riparian corridor that threaten native ecosystems.

Plant removal efforts in the Verde

Smallmouth bass in Fossil Creek

Invasive plants of Arizona


Current Activities

        Promoting Open Space

Ten square miles of State Trust land bisected by hwy 89A just North of he city of Cottonwood has been under consideration for annexation to the city. The original Plan called for a possible 24,000 homes or 50,000 people and lacked recognition of the sensitive watersheds that intersect the property, the wildlife habitat, and the viewsheds now enjoyed along highway 89 A.
Many, including Verde Valley Land Preservation (VVLP), got involved to modify this Plan to be more sensitive to these concerns as well as the high densities allowed. Through much negotiation and compromise the State Land Department heard the community feedback and concerns about the high densities, and was later willing to consider a figure of 12,000 homes while looking at the "highest and best use" of the land, aka - money earned for the trustees.
The Cottonwood consultant, after working with the State Land Department, explained that planning could be flexible within the broad use categories, and preserving watersheds and slopes for open space could allow for density transfers.
There is now a new map with a greenbelt corridor along 89 A with several entrances to the project, concentrated developed land, agrarian and vineyard villages, and more open spaces among other improvements.
Many are pleased with the current developments. Bob Rothrock, president of VVLPI, was enthusiastic saying, "I like the direction this is going with the smaller number of units". Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens expressed concern that if the city does not move forward the State might bypass Cottonwood's planning. "There is a chance they would break off chunks to sell," she said.
See the Verde Independent article of 5/13/11 for more details and a map.

        Open Space Planning

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Click to Enlarge

    Since our mission is to develop immediate and long range strategies to preserve and enhance the natural open space of the Verde Valley, VVLP visualized an Open Space Plan with a map indicating the most valuable and appropriate land to set aside. One of the earliest projects undertaken and completed was to create an Existing Conditions Map. This base map took the individual open space plans of all the municipalities and county communities and located them on one map. It was put together by and with the cooperation of the planners from each of the municipalities under the sponsorship of the VVLP Planning Council. One of the main tenants of the plan was to preserve open space between the various established communities in the Verde Valley to retain the rural character we all enjoy.

    Yavapai County then developed a Verde Valley Regional Land Use Planning process and brought together a multi-faceted group with a consultant team. This group adopted the VVLP Open Space Map to be maintained in the Regional plan. The plan was adopted in 2007 and VVLP was assigned a leadership role in carrying out the open space recommendations. The Existing Open Space Conditions Map can also be found on p.20 of The Verde Valley Regional Land Use Plan.




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Verde Valley Land Preservation
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Cottonwood AZ 86326
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