Category Archives: News

Annual Potluck and Meeting

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Thursday January 2, 6:00-7:30 pm

Montoya Center, 245 Thorpe Rd

Frances Short Pond with San Francisco Peaks, along the Rio de Flag, Nov. 5, 2015, Flagstaff

We wish you all a joyous New Year. In winter with short days and long nights, when snow covers the high country, it may appear that all the watershed is at rest. It is a good time to to reflect on the hard work we have done to protect and restore the Rio, and to voice our concerns and hopes for the future of Flagstaff’s watershed.
Please join us on Thursday, January 2nd at the Montoya Center at 6:00-7:30 for our annual potluck! Meet members of the Board (if you haven’t already) and learn about our 2019 work on the Army Corps project and the Watershed Plan.  
Bring a friend and your favorite dish to share in this year’s feast

No member meeting in December

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We will not be holding a regular meeting in December because the Montoya Center has closed the meeting rooms until January. We will hold our annual potluck on the first Thursday in January. Make sure to join us then for some good food and time to catch up with all that has been happening with the Rio.

Do you love the Rio, and want to help protect, restore, and improve it? Our long time board member Bryan Bates will be stepping down this year to run for County Supervisor, and we are looking for a few new board members. If you have a few hours a month and a desire to be involved, please talk to one of the board members during the potluck in January, or email Kathy Flaccus at kkflaccus@gmail.com.

Plans and Progress for Picture Canyon

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Nov 7, 6:00 in the Montoya Center, 245 Thorpe Rd

Robert Wallace, Open Space Specialist

Waterfall in basalt canyon of the Rio de Flag, Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve, August 10, 2015, Flagstaff, Arizona
photo by Tom Bean

Join us on November 7 to hear Robert Wallace, the City’s Open Space specialist. He will be talking about the progress and plans for Picture Canyon, one of the jewels of the the Rio de Flag. Learn more about the wonderful places that Flagstaff has preserved all around town.

Make a Difference Day Saturday, October 19th 8:00 am to 12:00 pm

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Sponsored by the City of Flagstaff, Sierra Club, Murdoch Center, Natural Channel Design, Be Resourceful, and the Friends of the Rio de Flag

The Rio de Flag where it was rerouted and now flows through the Southside Neighborhood.

Volunteer to Make a Difference in Flagstaff’s Southside
•Rio de Flag litter clean-up • Installation of stormwater drain signs
•Drawing for prizes •Family friendly event •Lunch for volunteers!
Meet at the Murdoch Center. Parking is limited, consider carpooling, walking, busing or biking!
Please wear sun protection and sturdy shoes. Bring your refillable water bottle.
For more info, contact Maggie Twomey at mtwomey@flagstaffaz.gov (928) 213-2144

A Quick Tour of the Watersheds of Flagstaff with Ed Schenk, project manager of Flagstaff’s stormwater team

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September 5 at the Montoya Center 245 N Thorpe Rd 6pm

The recent Museum Fire has brought quite a bit of attention to Spruce Avenue Wash, a stream that few in Flagstaff had heard about or even knew about prior to the fire. Spruce Avenue Wash is one of over a dozen washes that make up 88 miles of stream channel within the Flagstaff city limits. The watersheds of these washes vary from small urban drainages to the Rio de Flag that extents all the way to the top of the peaks. This presentation will provide a quick overview of the watersheds of Flagstaff including current and future work at the city to maintain and protect the watersheds and the challenges and threats to the stream courses. Hopefully the presentation will provide perspective, allowing the audience to understand the need and power of grassroots organizations like the Friends of the Rio.

Detail of the Rio de Flag Watershed Map Bandana
Available at the meeting on September 5
Ed Schenk, Stormwater Project Manager for City of Flagstaff talks with public duringFriends of the Rio De Flag sponsored walk to Cheshire Wetlands and Pond, May 2, 2019, Flagstaff, Arizona

Ed Schenk is a project manager with the City of Flagstaff’s Stormwater team. He has lived in Flagstaff for the last 4 years with additional hydrology and geology work at the Museum of Northern Arizona and the National Park Service. Ed was a research scientist with the USGS for the decade before moving to Arizona with river restoration experience in more than 10 states. He has a Master’s from Indiana University and over 30 publications on river, wetlands, and estuary ecosystem function. Last May Ed led a walk with the Friends of the Rio de Flag to the Cheshire Wetlands to look at the restoration potential of the Cheshire Pond.

Thanks to volunteers on Saturday, August 4!

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Many thanks to the small but effective group of volunteers that helped touch up the Zuni Bowl construction site in Cheshire last Saturday. April Smith, Jenifer Lefere, Allison Lefere, and Alice Lefere all pitched in to install rock grade control in the construction bypass channel, pull weeds, rake out the spoils piles and plant native seed. These little details will help to mitigate the construction impacts and are greatly appreciated.

Other volunteers worked in Spruce Avenue Wash

A big effort was organized by Sharon Masek Lopez, with the help of Collis and others that surveyed and cleaned out trash and debris from the Spruce Ave Wash channel downstream of Rt 66 in preparation for flooding.  Those folks also get a big thank you from FoRio.

Volunteer Opportunity on Rio de Flag Saturday, August 3, 8:30 am – 11:30am

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Volunteers Requested on the Rio de Flag!

Where: Corner of Boldt and Cooper in Cheshire, just downstream of the bridge over the Rio

When: Saturday August 3, 2019 at 8:30 am until 11:30 am

What: City of Flagstaff had a contractor construct a rock structure to stop a head cut in the Rio de Flag Channel.  The contractor is done but there is a need for some site clean up, seeding, and minor rock work. Learn about erosion control and zuni bowl construction. Plus you will likely see water in the creek.

How:  Show up with Gloves, sunscreen and water. We will have tools and direction on hand.

Contact:  Allen Haden (928) 600-6649

Uncovering Ancient Landscapes of the Rio de Flag. A walk with Richard Holm, NAU Professor Emeritus

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Thursday July 11, 2019. 6:00 pm

We will meet at the SW corner of the Sams Club parking lot and walk down South Babbitt Drive to the Rio de Flag near the treatment plant. From there we will head downstream past the I-40 wetlands
and continue towards the Little America property. Wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to walk approximately 3 miles

Our walk will explore the ancient landscapes of Flagstaff visible from the FUTS trail along the Rio de Flag. Richard Holm will show how lava flowed down and filled small canyons. Later floods re-excavated the drainages where the trail is now located. He will demonstrate field evidence for reversal of flow.


Richard Holm is the author of the recent publication from the Arizona Geological Survey pictured above. The walk will encompass Trail 2, stops 6-8 described in the publication. This work can be downloaded for free by clicking on the link below.
http://repository.azgs.az.gov/uri_gin/azgs/dlio/1915
Hike with geologist Richard Holm, looking at geologic history of the Rio de Flag

New Publication about Geologic History of Flagstaff and the Rio de Flag

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Check out this new trail guide and geologic description of the Rio de Flag.

The Arizona Geological Survey has just released this online publication that explores the origin and geology of the Rio de Flag by Dr. Richard Holm, retired NAU professor of Geology and long time resident of Flagstaff.

It includes maps and guides to walking different reaches of the Rio, as well as a discussion on regional and local geology.
You can download this for free by going to the link below.

http://repository.azgs.az.gov/uri_gin/azgs/dlio/1915

Welcome Kelly Burke!

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Welcome Kelly Burke!

We are pleased to introduce you to Kelly Burke, Friends of the Rio de Flag’s new Watershed Group Coordinator!

As Watershed Group Coordinator, Kelly will work with diverse stakeholders and the public to help expand and formalize the Watershed Group and create a watershed plan for the Rio de Flag. The goal of the plan is to outline watershed needs and opportunities, especially as these relate to restoration. This two-year project is being funded by a Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management grant (Phase I).

Kelly brings a wealth of experience and training to the Friends of the Rio. As cofounder and Director of the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, a science-based conservation organization in Flagstaff, Kelly has overseen the completion of major restoration projects, including a collaborative riparian restoration plan with the National Park Service for the Glen Canyon Reach of the Colorado River. Her background is in structural geology, hydrology and aqueous geochemistry, fluvial geomorphology, geoarcheology, and springs and riparian restoration, which she combines with experience in coordinating field projects and conservation campaigns, building partnerships, community engagement, nonprofit leadership, and fundraising.

Kelly loves people, water, and wild nature with a common concern for their health, free movement, and full lives. We are thrilled to have Kelly join the organization and excited to have her strong leadership and positive attitude guide us through watershed planning in Flagstaff and the surrounding communities.

Please welcome Kelly!