MESA, Ari. (February 16, 2019) — Today, Audubon Southwest, the National Forest Foundation, Western Rivers Brewers’ Council, and Northern Arizona University partnered up to plant trees, spread seeds, and construct protective brush areas in a previously burned area of the Salt River. Some 70 volunteers showed up to restore an area of the Salt River, the largest tributary of the Gila River and an important tributary of the Colorado River.

“From birds, to business, to beer, we all rely on clean water and healthy rivers,” said Audubon Southwest’s Steve Prager. “That’s why you have birders, forest advocates, river enthusiasts, brewers, students, and academics out here working to protect the river and help it thrive. The Salt, Gila, and Colorado Rivers provide critical habitat for birds and other wildlife, as well as water for Arizonans and their businesses. Protecting these rivers protects all of us.”

In addition to bird habitat, the Salt River provides drinking water to the greater Phoenix area as well as water for local breweries. Three breweries, O.H.S.O., Pedal Haus, and Oro, in addition to Sinagua Malt, collaborated to provide a tropical IPA beer called “Summer on the Salt” in honor of the event. Volunteers tried the Pineapple-Guava IPA at O.H.S.O. Brewery’s Gilbert location after the restoration project.

"Nothing is more important to the production of beer than clean water. Besides being the largest ingredient in beer, it is also essential to grow the barley and the hops,” said Derek Osborne, Director of Brewing Operations at Pedal Haus Brewery. “Anything we as a brewing community can do to help preserve and maintain natural water sources is fundamental to our values."

As the nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) works with the agency and thousands of Americans each year to promote the health and public enjoyment of our 193-million-acre National Forest System.

“The Salt River on the Tonto National Forest is a desert jewel. In addition to being a well-loved spot to chill in the summer heat, it provides a vital drinking water supply here in the Valley,” said Rebecca Davidson, Director of the National Forest Foundation’s Southern Rockies Program. “Whether we know it or not, this river connects us to where water originates in the forests of northern Arizona. So restoring our desert ‘forests’ is a vital part of improving the health of the entire watershed. Through projects like this – with partners and volunteers – we are protecting the beauty of our state and the water we depend on for generations to come.”

Northern Arizona University, another partner, conducts research and manages the restoration work on the Salt River.

“This restoration project aims to restore 11 miles of the Salt River and represents one of the largest community-based restoration projects in the southwestern United States,” said Kevin Grady, Director of the New West Center for Eco-Cultural Restoration and Research Professor in the School of Forestry at NAU. “We believe that getting local communities to participate in conservation, stewardship, citizen science, and artistic expression of place, results in a more effective project—one that people will care about for years to come. This is important not just for the health of the Salt River, but for getting people to think deeply about their interaction with nature.”

About Audubon:

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using, science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more and how to help at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

About Audubon's Western Water Initiative:

The Western Water Initiative is Audubon's multi-state effort to protect the Colorado River and the West’s network of Saline Lakes. Some 65,000 members strong and growing, the network advocates for science-based, non-partisan water policies and management that benefit rivers and lakes for the birds, wildlife, habitats, cities, and economies they support. To learn more, visit:

About the National Forest Foundation:

The National Forest Foundation promotes the enhancement and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre National Forest System. By directly engaging Americans and leveraging private and public funding, the NFF improves forest health and Americans’ outdoor experiences. The NFF’s programs inform millions of Americans about the importance of these treasured landscapes. Each year, the NFF restores fish and wildlife habitat, plants trees in areas affected by fires, insects and disease, improves recreational opportunities, and enables communities to steward their National Forests and Grasslands. Learn more at



Steven Prager,, (602) 468-6470

Rebecca Davidson,, (720) 749-9008           

Kevin Grady,, (480) 254-8620

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