Fossil Creek restoration film to premiere in Phoenix

River picture

The documentary A River Reborn: The Restoration of Fossil Creek is about to flow full force to the public.

The world premiere of the documentary, produced by Northern Arizona University and the Museum of Northern Arizona, goes public Jan. 14 at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix. Producers of the film and people involved in the creek’s restoration will discuss it at the screening.

Two showings will be at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., with a public reception from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Orpheum Theatre courtyard. The film also will air on KAET (Channel 8) at 9 p.m. Jan 17. On March 11, the film will be distributed nationally by KAET and the National Educational Telecommunications Association.

Tickets are $10 or free to partnering organizations, including NAU alumni, faculty, staff and students, and are available through the Orpheum box office at 203 W. Adams St. in Phoenix or by calling (602) 262-7272.

Fossil Creek, located in Arizona’s Mogollon Rim country, nurtured a rich diversity of life, but in 1908 Arizona Public Service diverted the water for the generation of electricity to power central Arizona mining operations and the city of Phoenix.

The film recounts how APS decommissioned the facility and worked with NAU scientists, environmental groups and the Yavapai-Apache Nation to remove the facility to restore to the creek to its full and natural force.

“People in the Southwest and throughout the country are reassessing the use of precious water resources and are seeking to balance the fulfillment of human needs with protection of the natural systems that support human life,” said Stefan Sommer, executive producer and director of education at NAU’s Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research.

Sommer said Fossil Creek is a focal point for riparian reassessment because it reveals both the challenges and opportunities associated with restoration.

Research on Fossil Creek led by Jane Marks, a stream ecologist at NAU, demonstrated the negative impact of the dam and water diversion on threatened and endangered species of native fish, and predicted the recovery of those populations after full flow restoration.

“We can find other ways to generate electricity. We cannot find other perennial streams in the desert,” said William Post, APS chairman.

In A River Reborn, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Bockhorst, Emmy Award-winning videographer Douglas Crawford and narrator actor Ted Danson help tell the Fossil Creek story.

A sneak preview of A River Reborn was shown at NAU in September.

Information is available online.