Groundwater pumping and diversions for cities and agriculture are the most serious threats to the river. Groundwater pumping is covered in the following sections.
Other human uses have damaged the river in the past, but are now largely controlled:
Please treat the river kindly: Leave No Trace and remove any trash you find.
Illegal Off-highway Vehicles
ILLEGAL OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES have historically caused significant damage. Until 2009, they drove in the river, on the banks, and across the river while smashing plants and disturbing wildlife; they left gates open and cut fences, allowing cattle into the river; they left a trail of trash, mainly Bud Lite cans; they made new roads, creating an eroded mess; they damaged USFS signs; and they rode across archaeological sites.
Prescott National Forest has since armored the trailheads and controlled the illegal OHV riders.
Private Ownership of the River Bed
A presentation by Asst. Atty. General Edwin Slade about whether the Verde River is "navigable." This is an issue presently (2017) being determined by the Arizona Navigable Stream Adjudication Commission. However, it may actually be settled in court. If the Commission rules the Verde was not navigable under natural conditions at statehood then property owners will continue to own the riverbed and can block public access.
You can also watch a presentation by the author.