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.

Saturday, July 15th: Sinclair Wash Community Cleanup

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Views along the Flagstaff Urban Trail System along Rio de Flag below Willow Bend, Flagstaff, Arizona

Saturday, July 15th


Sinclair Wash at Willow Bend

Join us for this collaborative cleanup of Sinclair Wash with FunTown Circus Camp! We will meet at Willow Bend Environmental Education Center (703 E Sawmill Rd) at 9am. Please park at the Police Station just down the street as Willow Bend has limited parking.

Trash grabbers, bags, and gloves provided. Please wear close-toed shoes and dress for weather.

We look forward to cleaning up this section of the Rio that needs some love. Thank you to the organizers and participants of FunTown Circus Camp for inviting Friends of the Rio to work together on this project!

Saturday, July 8th: Rio de Flag Community Cleanup

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Rio de Flag Community Cleanup

Trash removed at the I-40 Wetlands during Make a Difference Day 2016. Join us for a Rio de Flag Cleanup in the Foxglen area on Saturday, July 8th!

Saturday, July 8th


Please join us at the Foxglen area for a Rio de Flag cleanup! The monsoons are coming and this area needs some love before the trash is swept further downstream.

Meet at 9am at the Foxglen parking area (see map below – follow 4th Street south as if going to Coconino Humane Association). Trash bags, gloves, and pickers will be provided. Please wear sun protection and sturdy shoes. Bring plenty of water! Pizza provided!!

Special thanks to Jen Jensen for his efforts towards cleaning this area last week – let’s finish the job!


July 6th: Guided Hike at Leroux Springs

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Big Leroux Spring is considered to be headwaters of the Rio de Flag located off Snowbowl Road on slopes of San Francisco Peaks, Coconino National Forest, north of Flagstaff

Guided Hike at Leroux Springs

Guide: Shannon Clark, retired Forest Service Civil Engineer 

Thursday, July 6th at 5:30pm

Meet at Leroux Springs Parking Area

Leroux Springs has long been an important source of flow for the Rio de Flag, but military expeditions in the 1850s led to its flows being captured for drinking water.

Join us on Thursday, July 6th for a guided hike of Leroux Springs with Shannon Clark. Shannon, a retired Forest Service civil engineer, has worked with the springs for the past 40 years in monitoring flows and operating the related drinking water systems which serve some Forest Service facilities. Hikers will learn about the spring and its current condition.

We look forward to seeing you for this interesting hike! Meet at 5:30pm at the Leroux Springs trailhead. Directions from Flagstaff available here.

Flagstaff receives $1M from US for flood control project

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Associated Press • June 5, 2017 • S

(AP) — Flagstaff officials say $1 million provided by the federal government will be used for design work and related preparations for the Rio de Flag flood control project.

Officials say the funding from the Army Corps of Engineers will allow the city to acquire land for the project and proceed with final design and other steps.

According to city officials, Rio de Flag is a “critical infrastructure project” needed to reduce the risk of significant flooding and avoid damage to 1,500 structures.

Officials also say completion of the project would eliminate requirements for flood insurance. The estimated total cost of the project is $90 million, with more than half that amount still unfunded.

To view this article online, please visit the AZ Daily Sun.

The Board of Directors of the Friends of the Rio de Flag will request to hold a stakeholder position in the design of the final flood control project and in review of this design. We will keep members and the public engaged through blog postings on our website, Facebook communications, and email messages (if you would like to receive email notifications, please sign up here).

Please send any questions or comments to Chelsea Silva at

June 1st: Walking tour of Rio de Flag FUTS Extension Project

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Public Meeting
Walking Tour: Rio de Flag FUTS Extension Project
 Guide: James Guidotti,
Capital Project Manager, Coconino County Public Works

 Thursday, June 1st at 5:30pm

Meet at Picture Canyon Parking Area

Map depicting the Rio de Flag FUTS Extension Project (outlined in red).
Source: Coconino County Public Works

The Flagstaff Urban Trail System provides a transportation and recreation corridor for Flagstaff residents. In addition, the FUTS snakes through Flagstaff open spaces used by many different wildlife species.

Join us on Thursday, June 1 at 5:30pm with James Guidotti, Coconino County Public Works Capital Project Manager, for a walking tour of the recently completed Rio de Flag FUTS Extension Project. James and representatives from the local firm, WLB Group, Inc., will discuss the goals of the project including restoring the canyon slopes so that they emulate the natural surrounding landscape of the area.

Join us next Thursday, June 1st for our first field trip meeting of the summer! We will meet at 5:30pm at the Picture Canyon parking area (see map of parking) and walk to the site.

New Rio de Flag Monarch Butterfly Waystation

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Tristan Meriwether and David McKee celebrate Tristan’s completion of a monarch butterfly way station.

Congratulations to Tristan Meriwether on completing his Eagle Scout Service Project! Tristan’s project requirements included planning, developing and implementing a service beneficial to his community. Tristan took on a large scale project of creating a Monarch Butterfly Waystation.

The City of Flagstaff built a large earthen embankment with the material removed from the restoration of Frances Short Pond. This embankment serves as a buffer between the fire department training center and the Rio de Flag. Tristan started out by recruiting fellow scouts, friends and family to first complete extensive grading work to naturalize the earthwork then prepare it for planting. He learned first about invasive weeds and proper techniques for stabilization to prevent erosion. Tristan then worked with the city and local native nurseries to obtain the proper seeds and plants for the waystation. As Tristan learned, this includes a full spectrum of plants that provide breeding habitat as well as fuel for their migration. The Southwest Monarch Study website provided a specialized list adapted for high elevation waystations.

Tristan also learned that native plants can take a long time to become established (often a couple years). The great news was that we saw plenty of starts and the grasses were already coming up and outcompeting much of the invasive weed population and stabilizing the slopes and denuded areas. We are all looking forward to visiting the site after a full year of growth.

Great Job Tristan!

Waystations have been completed in the Verde Valley and at the Flagstaff Arboretum. To learn more about the Monarch Butterfly Waystation project and how you can create one in your community or right at home visit the Southwest Monarch Study.

May 4th @ 6pm: Instituting FEET – Flagstaff Environmental Education Team

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The Rio connects Flagstaff, and we can use it for collaborative educational purposes.
Photo: Chelsea describes watershed features during Earth Day, April 22nd, 2017. Photo courteous of Anya Nova Metcalfe.

Instituting FEET: Flagstaff Environmental Education Team

Speaker: Dr. Neil Cobb, NAU Research Professor and Director of the Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research

Thursday, May 4th at 6pm

Montoya Community Center

As America’s 1st STEM Community, Flagstaff is poised to integrate a robust education-outreach program that will take advantage of the 20+ STEM-oriented local organizations and schools, by engaging students in science through inquiry-based curricula and activities.

Join us on Thursday, May 4th as we hear from Dr. Neil Cobb on Instituting FEET: the Flagstaff Environmental Education Team. Neil is a research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University and Director of the Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research.

In coordination with organizations throughout Flagstaff, including the Friends of the Rio de Flag, Neil is leading the FEET team to engage the community in local education, research, and restoration.

We hope to see you next Thursday, May 4th to hear from Neil, and to find out how the Friends of the Rio de Flag can best participate in FEET

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