Partners Team Up to Build Freshwater Sustainability Legacy at 2017 Phoenix Final Four

The Phoenix Local Organizing Committee (PLOC), Salt River Project (SRP), Arizona State University (ASU), Change the Course and National Forest Foundation united in the spring to create a first-of-a-kind water conservation and restoration impact built on the 2017 Phoenix NCAA Final Four® Tournament.

The Final Four® used a multifaceted approach to build water awareness, promote conservation, and restore water for nature. The activation included:

  • Event Water Footprint Balancing: An amount of water equal to all water used by all 2017 Phoenix Final Four® events was balanced through Water Restoration Certificate® projects that return water to depleted ecosystems across Arizona—this resulted in 500,000 gallons of freshwater restored to ecosystems in need.
  • Fan Engagement: Fans pledged to conserve water by participating in photo booth activation and publicly sharing their conservation commitment by posting on social media with #DroppingBuckets4AZ. For each conservation pledge made by a fan, Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Change the Course committed to restore 1,000 gallons of water to a depleted river in Arizona. 5,300 fans participated and took the pledge, resulting in an additional 5,300,000 gallons of freshwater being restored to Arizona ecosystems through Change the Course restoration projects.
  • Legacy Water Restoration Project Support: Partners came together to support the Black River Headwaters Restoration Project, located on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and the headwaters of the Salt River, an important source of water for the Greater Phoenix Metro area. Partner contributions will help protect the health and function of vital stream and wetland habitats. Protecting these areas helps ensure that downstream cities and rural communities have a sustainable water supply and that healthy forests and rivers can be enjoyed by both Arizonans and visitors.
  • Volunteer Event: Through the Northern Arizona Forest Fund, the National Forest Foundation engaged volunteers from PLOC, SRP, and ASU in an Earth Day volunteer event to improve Arnett Creek on the Tonto National Forest. This important desert riparian area lies just an hour northeast of Phoenix and is home to many native birds, fish and other wildlife. The Tonto National Forest, the Friends of the Tonto and the Arizona Wilderness Coalition have partnered to remove non-native tamarisk from this unique desert stream. Volunteers treated nearly one mile of stream corridor, allowing native vegetation to reestablish and improving the overall health and function of the area.