The Friends of the Rio de Flag is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose goal is to protect, restore, clean up and improve the Rio de Flag and its tributaries to maximize their beauty, educational, recreational, and natural resource values, including the riparian habitats they provide.

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

Member Meeting: Thursday, July 7th

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Walk along the Rio de Flag with Coral Evans, City Councilmember

Thursday, July 7th, 6:00PM
Meet at the Bus Connection Cent on Phoenix Ave
Rio de Flag flowing in Southside after heavy monsoon thunderstorm, June 28, 2016, Flagstaff, Arizona, Photo courteous of Tom Bean

Rio de Flag flowing in Southside after heavy monsoon thunderstorm, June 28, 2016, Flagstaff, Arizona, Photo courteous of Tom Bean

Walk the Rio de Flag though the Southside neighborhood with City Councilmember Coral Evans and Friends of the Rio de Flag. Coral, who grew up in Southside, will explain some of the history here as we view areas flooded by recent heavy rains.

Volunteer Opportunity: Creating a Monarch Butterfly Way Station

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Volunteer Opportunity 
 Creating a Monarch Butterfly Way Station
Sunday, June 26th, 8am-12pm
Picture Canyon, next to the Fire Department Training Center
Hello Friends of the Rio! Please see below for an awesome volunteer opportunity!
Request for volunteers from Boy Scout Tristan Meriwether here in Flagstaff:
After the monarch wintering area got hit by an unusual spring snowstorm that killed up to 50% of the population, this summer’s generations will need all the help we can give. Tristan was one of the Boy Scouts who completed his Bird Study Merit Badge thanks to the NAAS sponsored classes that Deb James led in 2014.

    My name is Tristan Meriwether and I am creating a Monarch Way Station for my Eagle Scout Service Project. I am working with the City of Flagstaff to create a food and shelter station for Monarch Butterflies and other pollinators whose numbers are rapidly dwindling. I am in need of volunteers to make this project a reality.

I have three work days coming up. The next one is Sunday, June 26th, 8am – 12pm.

Location: Near Flagstaff Wildcat Hill Wastewater Treatment Plant, 2800 N. El Paso Flagstaff Rd., Flagstaff, AZ 86004 (about a mile behind the Flagstaff Mall off of Route 66, right next to Fire Department Training Center).

Snacks and Drinks: Provided!

Wear: We’ll be moving dirt, so expect to get dirty; work clothes, work shoes, hat, work gloves, sunscreen.

Tools: Please bring shovels and landscaping rakes (not leaf rakes) if you can; if not, some will be available.

PHASE TWO: We will be planting seeds and placing erosion control cloth down which needs to get done before the monsoons start in beginning July. We have the following dates set to complete this work:

Tuesday, June 28, 8-10 am
Thursday June 30, 4-6 pm

Thank you so very much!

Tristan Meriwether

Rio Walk and Talk

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Rio Walk and Talk
 David Mckee, Floodplain Inspector,
City of Flagstaff Stormwater Management Section
Thursday, June 2nd, 6:00pm
Frances Short Pond

Frances Short Pond along the Rio de Flag.                     Photo courteous of Tom Bean

During Flagstaff’s 2015 Make a Difference Day, community members gathered at Frances Short Pond to take part in various restoration projects. These volunteer efforts stimulated further interest and activity at the pond with a focus on restoration and recreational opportunities.

We invite you to join us this Thursday, June 2nd, for a walk and talk around Frances Short Pond with David Mckee, City of Flagstaff Floodplain Inspector. David will discuss current projects underway at Frances Short Pond, and visions for the future of the Rio de Flag and the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS) in the area.

Please join us at the Frances Short Pond on Thursday, June 2nd at 6:00PM. Access the pond by following N Aztec St. north until the road ends at a small dirt parking lot. Directions to the pond can be found here.

May 5th, 2016 Member Meeting Reminder: How I Came to Love Engineers

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How I Came to Love Engineers  

 Allen Haden, Aquatic Ecologist and Project Manager,

Natural Channel Designs, Inc.

Thursday, May 5th, 6:00pm

Montoya Community Center

Rio de Flag has eroded a narrow basalt canyon at Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, Arizona

Rio de Flag has eroded a narrow basalt canyon at Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, Arizona, Photo courteous of Tom Bean

Predicting stream morphology allows us to assess and restore streams and ecological function. Please join us Thursday, May 5th, for a presentation by Allen Haden, who will give a brief primer on how we can predict stream morphology.

Allen is an aquatic ecologist with Natural Channel Designs, Inc. and has broad experience with aquatic habitats and stream systems in the arid Southwest.

We look forward to seeing you next Thursday, May 5th at 6:00PM at the Montoya Community Center. Enjoy the spring storms ahead of us this weekend!

Saturday, April 23rd Earth Day Community/Rio Cleanup and Free Workshops

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Please join us on Saturday, April 23rd in celebrating Earth Day with the City of Flagstaff. The Friends of the Rio is partnering with AZ Conservation Corps to lead a community/Rio cleanup from 9am-11am and we’d love to have you out to help! We had a great time last year and made a big impact along the Rio near downtown. All participants will be entered into a prize drawing!

Please visit the Flagstaff Earth Day Facebook page for more information. If you’re interested in attending any of the workshops, please RSVP here indicating which workshops you will attend.


Earth Day 2016 Poster

Thank you Temple in the Pines!

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Volunteers from Heichal Baoranim/Temple in the Pines pose with 29 bags of waste removed during a cleanup event Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

We would like to extend our gratitude to the families from Heichal Baoranim/Temple in the Pines who came out to cleanup the Rio just downstream of Old Rte. 66 near Picture Canyon on Sunday, April 3rd. This particular stretch of the Rio becomes a landscape of trash each year as trash flows through a large part of Flagstaff’s stormwater infrastructure and ends up collecting at this site.

In just 2.5 hours these fifteen efficient volunteers collected thirteen bags of recyclable waste and sixteen of non-recyclable waste. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to keeping our watershed healthy and clean!



Communities, Climate Change, and Conservation: Flagstaff as a Model Community for Building a New Land Ethic

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Restoration project in Flagstaff, “Return of the Rio” – working with local children to grow trees and learn about restoration issues. Photo credit: ARC Facebook page

Friends of the Rio Monthly Meeting Reminder

Presenter: Kevin Grady, ARC Director, Research Professor, NAU School of Forestry

Time and Date: Thursday, April 7th at 6:00pm

Location: Montoya Community Center, Flagstaff

Climate change and exotic species invasions present unprecedented challenges for restoration groups throughout Arizona. Science-based initiatives are necessary for carrying out restoration in order to address these challenges and design successful projects.

Please join us next Thursday, April 7th for a presentation by Kevin Grady, NAU Research Professor and the Director of the Adaptive Restoration Community, a science-based ecological restoration community. Kevin will highlight his climate research and his current restoration efforts in the local area. He will also introduce his outreach program for Flagstaff schools.

We look forward to seeing you next Thursday at 6:00pm at the Montoya Community Center.


Mosaic Workshops at Willow Bend this summer!

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Join local artist Karen Knorowski (our December 2015 potluck guest speaker) for an exciting two-day workshop on the art of mosaic at Willow Bend Education Center. Participants will learn and practice important mosaic techniques while focusing on the “indirect method”. Completed works will be permanently displayed on the North Thorpe Road Bridge near Francis Short Pond as part of the Rainbow de Rio Mosaic Project.

All materials will be provided and are included in the cost of the workshop. All levels welcome, ages 18 and up. Two-day workshop: $140. Discounts available for Willow Bend members and if you are interested in attending both workshops.

  • 1st workshop series: May 28-29, 9am-4pm
  • 2nd workshop series: June 11-12, 9am-4pm

About Karen and the Rainbow de Rio Mosaic Project : Karen Knorowski is a full-time art teacher at an elementary and middle school on the Hopi reservation. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Art from NAU and has attended numerous classes at the Institute of Mosaic Art in Berkeley, California. Karen is currently working on the Rainbow de Rio Mosaic Project which is a celebration of the various habitats, plants, animals, and overall ecological importance of the Rio de Flag as expressed through the art of mosaic.

Upon completion of the 2-day workshop, participants are encouraged to join Karen at the mosaic site to help complete the project while learning the “direct method”. This will be a volunteer opportunity and will take place later in the summer; dates will be announced.

Please visit Willow Bend’s Adult Education webpage to register.

FoRio Monthly Meeting: March 3rd, 2016

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Canyon of the Rio de Flag at Logan's Crossing, Coconino National Forest, east of Flagstaff. Photo courteous of Tom Bean

Canyon of the Rio de Flag at Logan’s Crossing, Coconino National Forest, east of Flagstaff. Photo courteous of Tom Bean

A Look Through Time: From Creating a Riparian Reserve with Treated Effluent to Exploring Opportunities for Open Space

Scott Anderson, Natural Resource Manager, Coconino County

Conservation and public education go hand in hand. Please join us tonight, Thursday, March 3rd, for a presentation by Scott Anderson, Natural Resource Manager for Coconino County. In an effort to support conservation and education interests, Scott founded a Riparian Institute in the Town of Gilbert and created a 308 acre riparian preserve using treated effluent. Today Scott’s conservation efforts focus on acquisition and management of Natural Areas with the goal of enhancing the Open Space and Parks system for Coconino County.

We look forward to seeing you tonight, Thursday March 3rd at 6:00PM at the Montoya Community Center for a presentation by Scott Anderson. Enjoy the sunshine!

Our website got a makeover!

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Dear friends and family,

During Summer 2015 we applied for and received a Community Initiatives Grant with the goal of moving our website to a WordPress platform in order to give Board members better access to updating and posting on the website. After a few months, and with the help of a local web designer (Jesse Waitz), we launched our new site in early February. We hope you enjoy it! Please be patience as we continue to update and edit the site during the next few months, and feel free to contact us at with any questions.


Board of Directors, Friends of the Rio de Flag

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