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US researchers will study Verde River

PRESCOTT – U.S. Geological Survey researchers plan to study how changes in the flow of the middle and upper Verde River might affect plant and animal life and water quality.

Lower stream flows could be caused by global warming or groundwater pumping and affect the viability of some fish and bird species.

The USGS is partnering with The Nature Conservancy on the two-year study. The Nature Conservancy is contributing about $253,000 and the government share is about $118,000.

The associate director of Geological Survey’s Arizona Water Science Center says the goal is to provide unbiased science.

Several hydrological studies on the Verde have been done previously, and the Geological Survey is close to releasing a complex hydrological computer model.

Prescott plans to tap groundwater near the upper Verde to supply the growing city, a move that Phoenix-area water supplier the Salt River Project says could threaten river flows that fill lakes supplying the metropolitan region.

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