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.

Upcoming Springs Inventory and Assessment workshops in Flagstaff, Arizona

Posted on by

Springs inventory and assessment workshop, October 13-14, 2016: The Spring Stewardship Institute (SSI) will host a 2-day workshop designed to inform and educate the public, students, government agencies, NGOs, and Tribes about springs inventory and stewardship. Participants will deepen their understanding of springs ecosystems, ecological integrity, natural and cultural resources, stewardship, restoration, monitoring, field data collection, and information management. The workshop consists of classroom presentations and discussions, as well as hands-on field inventory and assessment training each day. For more information visit

Free webinar, September 28th at 9am: SSI will also present the final results of their 2-year project to support provide land managers, researchers, and NGOs with comprehensive information about springs and springs-dependent species in the Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Registration for this free webinar can be found here.

Much thanks to Fred Phillips Consulting volunteers!

Posted on by

On July 12, personnel from Fred Phillips Consulting graciously volunteered their time to survey and brainstorm ideas for enhancing the I-40 wetlands area along the FUTS. Biologists and landscape architects from this award winning, local firm spent their time assessing resources and providing a preliminary sketch of how things might be better for this heavily used area.  The materials they provided are greatly appreciated and provide us all with a place to begin the conversation on how we want this area to look and perform.  We look forward to that conversation with all of our partners.  Many thanks from us to them!

I-40 Wetlands Vision Document

Please click on the image to download a larger version of this vision map of the I-40 Wetlands.



Big thank you to our guest speakers!

Posted on by

The Friends of the Rio de Flag is a local non-profit operating on a small, donations-based budget. We are extremely appreciative of our monthly guest speakers who volunteer their time and energy to share their knowledge and experience about the watershed with our group!

We thank Mindy Bell of STEM City and Gary Alpert with the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) for their informative presentation on August 4th, 2016 at Coyote Springs. Mindy shared her past experience as a science teacher doing outdoor, place-based education with students at the Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy, while Gary discussed his current insect sampling efforts to better understand the biodiversity supported by the springs. For more information about Mindy’s past work at the spring including student-collected data, please email To learn about her current work with STEM City, visit their Facebook page. If you would like to learn more about Gary’s insect studies with MNA, shoot him an email at

Thanks again to our wonderful guest speakers!

August 4th @ 6pm: Monthly meeting

Posted on by

Walk and Talk at Coyote Springs

Mindy Bell, STEM City

Thursday, August 4th at 6:00pm

Coyote Springs site with historic box construction prior to site rehabilitation. Photo courteous of Gary Alpert

Coyote Springs site with historic box construction prior to site rehabilitation. Photo courteous of Gary Alpert

Springs of the San Francisco Peaks represent a source of life for the natural world, and humans have had historical ties to these water sources for thousands of years. With such a rich history of supporting life in the region, springs like Coyote Springs create a unique opportunity to reflect, relate, and learn about local socioecological interactions.

Please join us Thursday, August 4th at 6pm for a walk and talk to Coyote Springs. Mindy Bell, of STEM City, will give a brief overview of her past work at the springs with students from the Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy (FALA).

Following our meeting, we welcome you to join us for live music, food, and drinks at the Museum of Northern Arizona’s “Thirsty Thursday” event! Bring cash for this event.

Please meet and park vehicles at the north end of the Museum of Northern Arizona’s parking lot at 6pm. We will walk from there to Coyote Springs. Wear sturdy shoes and sunscreen, and it would not hurt to bring a filled water bottle. 

We look forward to a great summer walk and talk with you Thursday, August 4th!

Member Meeting: Thursday, July 7th

Posted on by

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

Thursday, July 7th, 6:00PM

Meet at the Bus Connection Center 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

Posted on by
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

Posted on by
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

Posted on by

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

Posted on by

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!

Posted on by

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!



More News...