Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Upper Oak Creek COA

Upper Oak Creek is a perennial stream that supports a mature riparian forest with high biodiversity. This mid-elevation system (3,500-5,200 ft.) supports unique and exceptional aquatic and riparian habitats that support a plethora of native species. Upper Oak Creek experiences high levels of human recreation and could be threatened by climate change in the future. Improved recreational management and public education for recreationists are needed. Active monitoring and management of rare species is also needed.

Conservation Goals

  • Maintain or improve the ecological health of the aquatic, riparian and canyon habitat.
  • Conserve or improve distribution and diversity of native plants and animals.
  • Monitor and maintain baseflows of Oak Creek.
  • Continue to monitor species of concern and ESA-listed species and actively manage through regulations, education, and translocations.


Primary Threats

4. Residential and Commercial Development

4.1: Housing and urban areas
4.3: Tourism and recreation areas

8. Invasive and Other Problematic Species

8.1: Invasive non-native species

10. Pollution

10.1: Household sewage and urban waste water

11. Transportation and Service Corridors

11.1: Roads and railroads

Potential Conservation Actions

2. Land and Water Management

2.2: Invasive/problematic species control
  • Work with partners to reduce invasive plant species in riparian area.

4. Education and Awareness

4.3: Awareness and communication
  • Provide education for visitors to help minimize disturbance and pollution into Oak Creek.
  • Work with private landowners to reduce disturbance to the riparian zone and septic pollution.

5. Law and Policy

5.2: Policies and regulations
  • Reduce traffic volume and speed along Highway 89A to lessen direct and indirect impacts to the sensitive riparian corridor.

7. External Capacity Building

7.2: Alliance and partnership development
  • Support the Coconino National Forest, non-governmental organizations, private land owners, and other partners in planning for and managing recreation.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


American Dipper, American Peregrine Falcon, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Bullock's Oriole, Common Black Hawk, Common Merganser, Flammulated Owl, Grace's Warbler, Lazuli Bunting, Mexican Spotted Owl, American Goshawk (Northern Goshawk), Painted Redstart, Rivoli's Hummingbird


Oak Creek Talussnail, Yavapai Mountain Snail


Fringed Myotis, Long-tailed Weasel, Mexican Free-tailed Bat, Pale Townsend's Big-eared Bat, Western Red Bat, Yuma Myotis


Madrean Alligator Lizard, Narrow-headed Gartersnake, Sonora Mud Turtle


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Coconino National Forest
  • Red Rock State Park
  • Page Springs and Bubbling Ponds Fish Hatcheries
  • West Fork Oak Creek Wilderness
  • Secret Mountain Wilderness

Potential Partners

  • Coconino National Forest
  • Arizona State Parks
  • Audubon Southwest
  • Arizona Department of Transportation
  • AZ Department of Environmental Quality
  • Oak Creek Watershed Council
  • City of Sedona

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs