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.


Take the Rio de Flag Watershed Survey!

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What benefits do you receive from the Rio de Flag? What are the issues you face with the Rio? How do you use the Rio and where?

The Friends of the Rio de Flag has partnered with the City of Flagstaff and Coconino County to get your input on the Rio de Flag. Share your experiences by taking this survey on the City of Flagstaff’s Community Forum before December 17th.

All participants will be entered into a raffle to win cool prizes!

Click below to access the online survey, and thank you for participating!

Make a Difference Day brings together Flagstaff residents at Willow Bend

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Volunteers working to restore a native habitat garden at Willow Bend Environmental Education Center, during Make a Difference Day, Oct. 28, 2017, volunteers participate in effort to restore Willow Bend habitat gardens, establish native vegetation on slopes, and clean up trash along the Rio de Flag below gardens at 703 E. Sawmill Road, Flagstaff, Arizona

Last Saturday, October 28th, volunteers gathered at Willow Bend Environmental Education Center for Make a Difference Day. Between restoring Willow Bend habitat gardens, establishing vegetation on the slopes, and cleaning up trash along the Rio de Flag, volunteers gave back to their community in a big way.

Thank you to all those organizations involved in putting this event together including the City of Flagstaff Sustainability Section, Friends of Willow Bend Gardens, and Coconino County Parks & Recreation, among others. Check out photos from the event below. And, of course, thank you to the community for coming out and truly making a difference!

Nov 2: What’s New with the Rio de Flag?

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Membership Meeting: Updates from the Board and City of Flagstaff Community Development

Thursday, November 2nd, 6pm

Montoya Community Center

Volunteers cleanup Switzer Canyon Wash at Foxglen in celebration of Colorado River Days on September 3rd, 2017.

As we gear up for the final months of 2017, the Board of Directors will dedicate the November membership meeting to updates on Rio de Flag happenings. Topics to be covered include:

  • Update on the Rio de Flag Flood Control Project Design with City of Flagstaff Community Development Department staff
  • Friends of the Rio’s Proposal for submission to the Flagstaff Open Space, Parks, and Recreation Campaign
  • Update on Rio watershed planning efforts including meetings with the City and County, watershed public survey, and plans for addressing environmental justice in the Southside Neighborhood with the Southside Community Association
  • Elections in December

With so many updates, you won’t want to miss this meeting!

We hope to see you on Thursday, November 2nd.

 

October Membership Meeting Cancelled, But Flagstaff Walks!

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Frances Short Pond along the Rio de Flag with a view of the Peaks in the background. Tom Bean Photography

Flagstaff Walks!
Flagstaff Community Market
Guide: Chelsea Silva,
Friends of the Rio de Flag Executive Director
Sunday, October 1st at 9am
Meet at Flagstaff Walks! booth at market entrance
 
The Friends of the Rio de Flag October membership meeting is cancelled due to temporary closure of the Montoya Community Center.
We will resume membership meetings in November (Nov. 2nd), but in the mean time join our Executive Director, Chelsea Silva, for a walk this Sunday, October 1st. Chelsea will lead a walk from the Flagstaff Community Market to Frances Short Pond. She will provide updates on the U.S. Army Corps Rio de Flag Flood Control Project Design and other Rio-related projects.
We hope you can make it out for a leisurely hike this Sunday!

Thank you to our volunteers!

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THANK YOU!

A big thanks to all of the hard-working volunteers who came out to cleanup and pull weeds along the Rio de Flag on Sunday, September 3rd as part of Colorado River Days! This motivated group of 10 people picked up 5 bags of trash and 1 bag of recycling along a half-mile stretch of watershed including the Rio de Flag and one of its tributaries, Switzer Canyon Wash.

Continue celebrating Colorado River Days with more interesting events through September 15th at: http://www.coloradoriverdaysflagstaff.org/

Rio de Flag Community Weed Pull and Cleanup, Sept. 3, 2017, Volunteers picking up trash along the channel of Switzer Wash near confluence with Rio de Flag, Flagstaff, Arizona

September 7th: Green Infrastructure in Flagstaff with Kieran Sikdar

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Green infrastructure demonstration site at Ponderosa Pine High.

Public Meeting: Flagstaff Green Stormwater Infrastructure Watershed Planning and Design Grant
Thursday, September 7th at 5:30pm

Kieran Sikdar, Stormwater Engineering Director, Watershed Management Group

Montoya Community Center,
245 N Thorpe Rd

Watershed Management Group (WMG) is collaborating with the City of Flagstaff to develop an action plan for Green Stormwater Infrastructure. Join us on Thursday, September 7th at 5:30 as we hear from WMG’s Stormwater Engineering Director Kieran Sikdar on the scope and goals of the grant as well as the current progress.

Kieran is passionate about creating prosperous communities by celebrating water in our landscapes. Kieran combines his experience as a Civil Engineer (MS), Certified Floodplain Manager, and Certified Water Harvesting Practitioner with over 10 years of experience in cost benefit analysis, green infrastructure/low impact development design, watershed restoration, and permaculture design.

We look forward to seeing you on September 7th!

Attend Listening Session on Tuesday, August 22nd

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Listening Session 

City of Flagstaff Community Development with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Tuesday, August 22nd, 4-7pm

Council Conference Room, City Hall

In June, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) received $1M in work plan funding to complete the design of the Rio de Flag Flood Control Project.  It is anticipated that Tetra Tech, a California based private design firm retained by the USACE, will take the existing 90% plans and complete the design to the 100% level.

Figure 1. Simple concept drawing for the Composite Channel portion of the Rio de Flag Food Control Project Design. Source: City of Flagstaff

In order to facilitate this project design completion, the City of Flagstaff Community Development section invites the public to attend a Listening Session on Tuesday, August, 22nd from 4-7pm. This Listening Session will allow City staff to update Flagstaff residents on the current state and future timeline for the Rio de Flag Flood Control project. Additionally, residents will have the chance to ask questions about the project and provide input on the composite channel portion of the project design (see Figure 1).

This meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 22nd from     4-7pm at City Hall in the Council Conference Room (211 W Aspen Ave.). Please come prepared with any questions you might have about this project or the project timeline.

September 3rd: Rio de Flag Community Weed Pull and Cleanup

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Rio de Flag Community Weed Pull Cleanup

Sunday, September 3rd

8-11:00 AM

Rio de Flag flowing near Foxglenn Park, after heavy summer rains.

The Rio de Flag is Flagstaff’s river. Like many rivers and streams in the Southwest, “the Rio” appears as a dry wash for most of the year. But when winter storms roll through Flag, and monsoon seasons pick up, the Rio flows through town and makes its way to San Francisco Wash, a tributary to the Little Colorado River.

In celebration of Colorado River Days, the Friends of the Rio de Flag will host a community Rio cleanup upstream of Foxglenn Park on Sunday, September 3rd from 8-11am. Meet at the southern end of 4th Street (use this map to guide you). Parking available in the dirt lot.

Contact Chelsea Silva at deflagrio@gmail.com or (928) 213-2152 to RSVP.

Location: Rio at Foxglen (meet at dirt parking lot at the southern end of 4th Street; directions available on this Google Map)

Notes: Please dress for weather. Long pants and close-toed shoes recommended. Bring a water bottle. Gloves, trash bags, and trash grabbers will be available for use. Water, coffee, and light breakfast provided.

Thank You Paul and Friends of the Rio!

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Forty two friends of the Rio gathered Thursday evening for an informative hike with Paul Beier, Regent’s Professor of Conservation Biology at Northern Arizona University. Paul guided hikers along the Rio de Flag in Sinclair Canyon, a section of the Rio that benefits from reclaimed water discharged on site which provides daily instream flows. This well-vegetated area is important site for wildlife and recreationists alike.

Paul Beier explains the benefits of reclaimed water for wildlife to Friends of the Rio on August 4th, 2017.

During his tour, Paul described  the potential for moving the discharge point for reclaimed water that is released into the I-40 wetlands in Sinclair Canyon. Moving this discharge point upstream about a mile could create a perennial section of the Rio de Flag that would be an asset for Flagstaff. Perennial streams offer ecological benefits as well as social and economic benefits.

Map copied from a handout provided during the hike.

A few issues need to be addressed before this project could move forward. First, a permit holder would be required to record daily flows and sample weekly for chlorine. The City of Flagstaff could hold the permit, but this would increase the project cost tenfold or more. Selecting the most appropriate permit holder will be an important first step.

Second, a desired flow would need to be determined. The City of Flagstaff and Arizona Game and Fish currently have an agreement to release 100 gallons per minute (gpm) into the Rio de Flag at three sites (including the one at the I-40 Wetlands) to support instream flows and habitat. Would moving this discharge point require additional gallons of water released?

Finally, the engineering design would need to be selected. The project might be able to utilize an existing reclaimed water line at Lone Tree Road, but this would limit the amount of water delivered to the new discharge point to just 100 gallons per minute. Another option would be to install a new pipe to deliver the water.

Paul will continue to explore the possibility of moving this project forward with his next step being the crafting of a proposal that addressed the motivations of the project as well as the issues described above. Follow this link to view a handout from Paul that summarizes this project.

We would like to send a big thank you to Paul for leading this interesting hike, and another thank you to all of those folks who came out to learn from Paul. We look forward to seeing you next time along the Rio!


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