Category Archives: Announcements

June 29th: Rio Cleanup with United By Blue

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Rio Cleanup with United by Blue on June 29th

Date: June 29, 2018

Location: Rio de Flag
5000 – 5324 Historic Route 66
Flagstaff, AZ  86004

Time: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Join United by Blue,  Peace Surplus, the City of Flagstaff, Friends of Rio de Flag, and Natural Restorations  for their first ever joint waterway cleanup in Flagstaff, AZ! This cleanup is one of 20 that United by Blue is co-hosting nationwide this summer, from June-August, to establish community partnerships between their specialty retailers, conservation or municipal partners, and volunteers.

Join us as we contribute to the cleanup, restoration, and education work that the Friends of Rio de Flag and Natural Restorations do to keep Rio de Flag healthy and beautiful all year round. We will clean up trash and debris along the shoreline of the river, preventing it from flowing downstream and harming wildlife along the way. Kick your weekend off right with an evening of cleaning, games, and protecting the Rio de Flag ecosystem!

United By Blue provides all cleanup supplies, snacks, and drinking water. Please wear sturdy shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty or wet. Learn more about the cleanup calling 215-278-7858 ext. 4 or by emailing

Thank you hikers and guides!

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Hikers enjoy a guided hike at the Rio (I-40) wetlands, the first hike of our summer walk series

Michael Rotter, PhD candidate at Northern Arizona University, leads a guided hike at the Rio (I-40) wetlands on urban ecology. All photos courteous of Tom Bean Photography.

Thank you to all the hikers who joined us last night, Thursday, June 7th, at the Rio (I-40) wetlands! We hope to have you along again for the rest of our hikes that will occur this summer each month.

Thanks also to Michael Rotter, PhD candidate at Northern Arizona Universtiy, and Allen Haden, aquatic ecologist with Natural Channel Designs, for leading this informative hike.

All hikes are posted to this website and our Facebook page. Please consider signing up as a member (it’s free) to receive notifications about hikes directly to your inbox.

June 7th: Guided Hike at the Rio (I-40) Wetlands

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June 7th: Guided Hike at Rio (I-40) Wetlands

The Rio Wetlands as seen from a high point in Flagstaff, Arizona. Photos courteous of Tom Bean Photography.

Guides: Michael Rotter, NAU PhD Candidate; Allen Haden, Natural Channel Designs
Date: Thursday, June 7th at 5:30pm
Where: Meet at southwest corner of Sam’s Club Parking Lot

The Rio Wetlands as seen from a high point in Flagstaff, Arizona. Photos courteous
of Tom Bean Photography.

Urban wetlands support an incredible variety of plant and wildlife species while
also providing recreationists with a chance to enjoy nature within city limits.

Mike Rotter examines an insect at Leroux Springs during his 2016 field season.

On Thursday, June 7th we will uncover the often overlooked world of urban ecology
through a guided hike at the Rio (I-40) Wetlands with Michael Rotter. As a PhD candidate
at Northern Arizona University, Michael studies plant-insect interactions through
the lens of an evolutionary ecologist. On Thursday, Michael will discuss the importance
of urban wetlands in supporting habitat for local flora and fauna.

Co-leading the hike will be Allen Haden, aquatic ecologist at Natural Channel Designs, who will provide insight about the unique hydro-geomorphological characteristics of wetlands. Allen will shed light on how local communities build and sustain wetlands in Arizona for a range of purposes beyond wildlife habitat. Allen currently serves as a Board Member with the Friends of the Rio.

We look forward to seeing you next week for a great hike! Meet at 5:30pm at the
southwest corner of the Sam’s Club parking lot.

We are suggesting a $5/participant donation for this guided hike.

THANK YOU to the FIRST EVER Flow Monitoring Crew!

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THANK YOU to the FIRST EVER Flow Monitoring Crew!

THANK YOU to the great crew that joined us on Saturday to conduct the FIRST EVER flow monitoring event of the Rio de Flag! Your efforts provide the first step towards building a better understanding of flow in our river which is important for local natural resource managers.

Flow Monitoring Crew poses at Frances Short Pond before heading out to collect data along the Rio de Flag on May 19th, 2018.

Stay tuned for a blog post on the event.

May 3rd: Social Perceptions on the Rio de Flag

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Free Membership Meeting

People fishing and enjoying the water at Frances Short Pond along the Rio de Flag, Flagstaff. Photo courteous of Tom Bean Photography.

Chelsea Silva to present on results from the Rio watershed survey

When: Thursday, May 3rd, 6pm-7:30pm

Where: Montoya Community Center, 245 N Thorpe Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Description: What are your experiences with the Rio de Flag? How often do you cycle or walk your dog on the FUTS that parallels the Rio? What are the benefits the Rio provides and some of its issues?

Join us on Thursday, May 3rd as we hear from Chelsea Silva, Executive Director with Friends of the Rio, who will share results from a survey of Flagstaff Area residents’ experiences with the Rio de Flag.

Friends of the Rio partnered with the City of Flagstaff and Coconino County to release this survey on the City’s Peak Democracy platform. Over 200 residents provided input through comments and placing points on a map to show recreation and restoration needs throughout the watershed.

Thank you to the Arizona Community Foundation for supporting this project!

Chelsea earned her Masters in Environmental Sciences & Policy from Northern Arizona University in 2016. During her studies, she began volunteering with the Friends of the Rio. She currently serves as an AmeriCorps STEM VISTA with the organization, working to build capacity through fundraising, partnership building, and event coordination.

May 16th: Community Forum on Private Wells

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Private Wells: Water Regulation, Perched Aquifers and Septic Impacts

Please click here to view the original press release.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Coconino Plateau Watershed Partnership (CPWP), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Coconino County and County Supervisor Art Babbott are hosting a community forum, “Private Wells: Water Regulations, Perched Aquifers and Septic Impacts,” on May 16. The meeting will inform private well owners across Coconino County on how to better understand the relationship between private wells and septic systems in the region and how to protect their wells from contamination.

There will be presenters from the State of Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Water Resources, Northern Arizona University, USGS and others to discuss the responsibilities of the State and County regarding people’s water supplies.

Specific questions may be submitted ahead of time using the “Contact Us” link on the Coconino Plateau Watershed Advisory Committee website The link is located on the lower right of the Home Page. Questions should be submitted prior to Thursday, May 10 so they can be distributed to the presenters.

Attendees will also receive a copy of the Arizona Well Owner’s Guide.

WHO: Free and open to members of the public

WHAT: Community Forum on Private Wells in Northern Arizona: Regulations, Perched Aquifers and Septic Impacts

WHEN: 6 – 8:30 p.m. May 16.

WHERE: United States Geological Survey Bldg. #3

2255 N. Gemini Dr., Flagstaff, Ariz., 86001

For more information, please call Ron Doba, CPWP Coordinator, at 480-299-5764.




You’re Invited to NAU’s First Annual Student Water Symposium!

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You are invited to Northern Arizona University’s First Annual Student Water Symposium on April 19th-20th. The event offers both graduate and undergraduate students at NAU an opportunity to present water-related research and collaborate across disciplines, shaping them as the next generation of water policy-makers, managers, and stewards.

Moreover, the symposium acts as a venue to connect campus and the greater Flagstaff community through water by offering two evening events centered around the theme: The Wild & Scenic Rivers Act: 50 Years of Conservation & Beyond.

Thursday evening features a talk and presentation by special guest, Tim Palmer, author of Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy. Friday evening presents a screening of three short films by American Rivers followed by a panel discussion with river conservation professionals.

Both evening events are free admission to the public and promise to enlighten and inspire the audience.

Please visit their website details regarding evening events, a detailed list of featured panelists, and the student presentation schedule.

Hors d’oeuvres will be available at all events.