Author Archives: Administrator

Rio de Flag awarded 2021 Learning Network Expert Award in the category of Environmental Justice & Equity

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On February 16, the Urban Waters Learning Network announced that the Friends of the Rio de Flag will be awarded a 2021 Learning Network Expert Award in the category of Environmental Justice & Equity. The award is for our work during 2016-2018 to support education, dialogue, and coordination with Southside residents and community partners. Through surveys, public meetings, walking tours, and partnership building with the City of Flagstaff and Southside Community Association, Friends of the Rio de Flag helped residents plan for the future of their river after having suffered management-induced floods for decades. Ultimately, this work contributed to the success of the Southside Community Specific Plan, which received an award from the International Association for Public Participation.
This work was carried out primarily by Friends of the Rio de Flag’s former Executive Director Chelsea Silva, and our former Outreach Coordinator Matt Muchna. Their work was supported by Friends of the Rio de Flag members like YOU, who generously responded to appeals to fund their work during 2017-2018. As part of the award, Friends will receive $6000 worth of professional support for capacity building, communications, and design services or programs.
This award-winning work was also the catalyst for our current collaborative watershed planning effort, which launched in 2020 when we received a Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART grant. In that effort, the Friends has led the effort to create the Watershed Alliance for the Rio de Flag (WARF). Over the last 6 months, many of us have attended some or all of the WARF’s seven virtual meetings, which will result in a watershed plan in June 2021.
You can read more about the award, and how we earned it, here: Please congratulate yourself for your good work!
–Friends’ Board President Kathy Flaccus

World Wetlands Day 2021

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Water and Wetlands

The 2021 campaign highlights the contribution of wetlands to the quantity and quality of freshwater on our planet. Water and wetlands are connected in an inseparable co-existence


Hashtags: #WorldWetlandsDay #RestoreWetlands

Twitter Handles:  @RamsarConv @martharojasu1 Secretary General




Nature Elevated: Benefiting Native Ecosystems of the Rio de Flag Watershed

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We want to hear from you as the watershed plan for the Rio de Flag is developed.
Please come join us for the third community Zoom event for the Rio de Flag watershed restoration plan:
Nature Elevated, where speakers Larry Stevens, Hannah Griscom, Paul Beier, Tom Whitham, and Max Taylor will present ideas and discuss the ecological communities of the Rio de Flag watershed
Register for the event by clicking on the poster below!!
The Explore the Watershed series is brought to you by the new Watershed Alliance for the Rio de Flag.
Learn more about the whole project here:

Join us for the Kickoff event Nov. 10 at 5:30pm: Understanding Our Changing Watershed

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Please come join us at the kickoff event, Understanding Our Changing Watershed, learn about the watershed from a wide range of perspectives, and then provide your public input on the upcoming watershed restoration plan! Teaser: there will be a cool interactive map.

Register for Understanding Our Changing Watershed here:

Explore the Watershed brought to you by the new Watershed Alliance for the Rio de Flag. Learn more about the whole project here:

Parched: The Art of Water in the Southwest

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 This very cool art exhibit is on display and open to the public at the Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Ft Valley Rd. You can read more about the exhibit in an article that appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun on Sunday 11/1
Tune in to a virtual panel discussion with local water scientists on November 12 at 5 pm. Denielle Perry (one of our board members), Abe Springer, Colleen Cooley, and Julie Comnick explore the complex and conflicting issues surrounding water Here’s the Facebook post to get more information on the discussion or go to for more information about the exhibit.

DamNation screening on November 12

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You are invited to join the Society of Ecological Restoration NAU Student Association for a synchronous screening of DamNation and a virtual panel discussion with river restoration experts to follow on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 5:30-7:30pm MST.

DamNation is a documentary on the building and removal of dams in the USA. You can watch the trailer here.

The virtual panel discussion will include Jane Marks (NAU), Michael Bogan (UA), and Bridget Deemer (USGS) and will be held on zoom after the screening. Zoom link will be provided at the screening.

Register for the screening here! The link and password will be provided on the screen after you submit your registration. Make sure to save that information and log a few minutes before the screening begins. 

Dr. Benjamin Ruddell “FloodAware, Citizen Science, and the Rio de Flag” Zoom meeting on June 4 at 6:00

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Dr. Ben Ruddell, Associate Professor, School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems, Northern Arizona University

We have had to cancel our in-person meetings this spring – but now we are back with a zoom meeting on June 4 at 6:00.  Dr. Ben Ruddell, Associate Professor, School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems, Northern Arizona University, will be discussing a citizen science possibility on the Rio de Flag.  Perhaps you have seen one of the stations with a water level marker and a sign about how to participate.  Dr. Ruddell will explain how to take part in the study.  Please join us on June 4.

It is a great time to be outside, about the safest place to be these days according to several studies.  We encourage all to get outside on the Rio de Flag.  It is especially beautiful now with the trees leafing out and abundant bird song.  Last week I was walking the section in Coconino Estates and a string quartet was playing in a back yard, right next to the FUTS trail.  It was sublime.  But we have an added reason to be out on the Rio – taking part in citizen science.   Beauty, exercise, birdsong, and science – the Rio has it all.

Information on how to participate in the zoom meeting will be sent to our members. If you would like to be in on the meeting but do not get an invitation, please send an email to