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Friends of the Rio de Flag

Promoting the Rio de Flag's natural stream system as a unique and valuable natural resource, an asset, and amenity to the City of Flagstaff and the surrounding community. The goal of FoRio is to protect, restore, clean up and improve the Rio de Flag and its tributaries to maximize their aesthetic, educational, recreational, and natural resource values, including the riparian habitats* they provide.


Walking the Rio at Willow Bend

Rio de Flag and FUTS below Willow Bend Environmental Education Center. Photo © Tom Bean.
Below Willow Bend

Thursday, September 4th, 6:00pm — Willow Bend Environmental Education Center — 703 E. Sawmill Road, Flagstaff

Join Friends of the Rio de Flag for an evening walk and visit to Willow Bend Environmental Education Center.

We'll start at Willow Bend, where Director Rusty Tweed will introduce the center's new 3-dimensional model that offers a birds-eye view of the Flagstaff area's watersheds. Then we'll take a walk on the FUTS trail below the Center along the Rio de Flag.


$90 million for what?

Arizona Daily Sun • March 31, 2013 • by Joe Ferguson

City Engineer James Duval
Project Manager James Duval stands in a section of the Rio de Flag between Cherry and Dale avenues. (Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun)

The redevelopment of much of Flagstaff's Southside depends not so much on what happens above ground but underneath it.

A series of massive, underground tunnels are planned to funnel millions of gallons of water from the Rio de Flag away from the city's oldest neighborhood in the event of a 100-year flood. Southside residents call the $92 million flood control project a godsend, even if completion is still decades away.

Some officials in Washington, D.C., however, have a different label, calling it "one of the most screwed-up projects in the country."

Some local leaders also are frustrated with the delays and cost overruns.

"Forty million dollars has been spent on a project originally estimated at $25 million, and we have little more than a $6 million dam with a crack in it," said Flagstaff City Councilmember Jeff Oravits. (read more...)


For a more recent perspective on the failure of the Army Corp of Engineers to make progress on the Rio de Flag flood control project, read Senator John McCain's May 22, 2014 statement on the Water Resources Reform and Redevelopment Act (WRRDA) Conference Agreement, H.R. 3080.


More news...


Where is the Rio de Flag anyway? Click here to see a 3D image of the Rio watershed.

*Riparian habitats are water-dependent ecosystems characterized by rich and diverse groups of plants and animals. A vanishingly rare community resource for Flagstaff, riparian ecosystems play a key role in reducing flood peaks, enhancing water quality and groundwater replenishment, as well as providing wildlife habitat, open space and recreational opportunities.


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