Where the Water Flows

Black Canyon City Water/Ways

River

Agua Fria River

Tributaries

Black Canyon Creek

Numerous ephemeral creeks and washes

Aquifer

Agua Fria Aquifer

Water Infrastructure

Numerous wells

Heritage Park Pond

Black Canyon City ~ Host Site Profile

Intermittent Flows

Black Canyon City is located twenty miles north of Phoenix, just inside Yavapai County. The Agua Fria River, which starts in Prescott Valley, runs through Black Canyon City and the Black Canyon Heritage Park. Most of its waters end up in Lake Pleasant, but the Agua Fria does not end there. Although now mostly dry below the lake, with enough rainfall the river can come alive for a while, and flow far enough to meet the Gila River west of Phoenix.  Black Canyon Creek is also an intermittent waterway. It runs from the north to merge with the Agua Fria River on the west side of Black Canyon City.  The Agua Fria aquifer beneath Black Canyon City provides most of the water for domestic use and agriculture.

A Fluctuating Population

The area around Black Canyon City was part of traditional Yavapai territory. The migratory Yavapai people followed an annual route that maximized their ability to hunt animals and gather ripening plants.  Settlers founded the town in the 1870s. It was a stopover on the stage route that ran from Prescott to Phoenix, and a supply center for miners working in the nearby Bradshaw Mountains. The town adopted several names as it struggled to stay on the map, including Goddard, after the first postmaster, and Cañon, later expanded into Black Canyon. Today, Black Canyon City is an unincorporated, census-designated place. The population fluctuates from around 2,000 to over 4,000 residents, depending on the time of the year.

Protecting a Riparian Heritage

In Black Canyon City, it is not only humans who are on the move. Migratory birds utilize the Agua Fria River and Black Canyon Creek as an important breeding ground and stopover habitat. The river and creek support a fertile landscape that nurtures a variety of animals, including the endangered Desert Pupfish, Gila Chub, and Gila Topminnow. The economy in Black Canyon City relies on tourists who value the Agua Fria River and Black Canyon Creek for birding and water-oriented activities. Black Canyon City seeks to promote this kind of tourism without sacrificing the delicate riparian environment. The 2012 opening of Black Canyon Heritage Park, which protects and conserves a portion of the riparian corridor, is a major part of this strategy.

AZ Water/Ways, a traveling Smithsonian Exhibit, comes to Black Canyon City 12/14/2019 - 1/26/2020 hosted by Black Canyon Heritage Park and made possible by the AZ Humanities.  In promotion of the exhibit, the Agua Fria National Monument will lead field trips to the Agua Fria River and tributaries.  Free event, open to the public.  Scroll the calendar for scheduled outings, lectures, and sign-ups.  The first stream hike is March 16.  See their calendar for sign-up information - https://aguafriafriends.org/event-3292300?CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=3/28/2019.

Water Programs

Arizona Well Owner Workshop

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
5 PM – 8 PM
Canon School
34360 So School Loop Rd
Black Canyon City, Arizona 85324

As a well owner or user, it is important that you know about the care and other issues pertaining to wells. Come learn about water sources, well regulations, domestic well maintenance and water treatments topics from the Arizona experts familiar with Black Canyon City, New River, and Desert Hills. Attendees will receive a free copy of “Arizona Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply” and a thumb drive containing an electronic version of the guide, the “Arizona Know your Water” booklets, the Well Owner’s Video Series and many other water-related Extension publications.

Speakers include: Janick Artiola, Ph.D., University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Water Quality Specialist; Gary Hix, RG, Consultant, In2Wells, LLC. and Past President of the Arizona Water Well Association; Mary Barnes, Program Coordinator, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Agriculture and Natural Resource and Master Gardener.

This presentation is free but always fills quickly. Please reserve your space at http://bit.ly/Well_Workshop.

Community Partners

Arizona Game and Fish Department

This state agency is tasked with conserving, enhancing, and restoring Arizona's diverse wildlife resources and habitats through aggressive protection and management programs. It also provides wildlife resources and watercraft and off-highway vehicle recreation.

Black Canyon City Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber is proud to support local business in Black Canyon City and the greater Anthem area.

Black Canyon Heritage Park Coalition

This park educates visitors on the riparian environment that is the basis for the ecosystem and human culture in the region.

Black Canyon Historical Society

Located at the Black Canyon Heritage Park, the historical society operates the Historic 1926 Schoolhouse and Museum.

Bureau of Land Management

The BLM Hassayampa Field Office manages public lands in the area for multiple use.

Cañon School District

The District educates students from preschool to eighth grade in more than academics—it helps students become productive, responsible and culturally-enriched members of the community.

Desert Foothills Land Trust

Acquires land for conservation, ensures stewardship in perpetuity to preserve public access, and engages with the community to connect people with nature.

Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument

The Friends protect and promote the Monument by monitoring trails and cultural resources, removing non-native plant species, performing trash pickups, recording rock art, and offering educational hikes.

National Parks Service—Rivers & Trails Conservation Assistance  

This service partners with community groups, nonprofits, tribes, and state and local governments to design trails and parks, conserve and improve access to rivers, protect special places, and create recreation opportunities.

New River Group

The New River Group is a management consulting group that specializes in helping small organizations optimize their opportunities and resources.

United States Forest Service

This federal agency manages the nearby Tonto National Forest and partners with residents on local and regional conservation efforts.

Agua Fria National Monument