Category Archives: News

July Member Meeting

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Walk and Talk: Natural History of the Rio de Flag  with Gwendolyn Waring and Richard Herefore

Thursday, July 7thth, 2022 @ 5:30 PM

It’s time to dig those hiking boots out of the back of the closet and join us for our July Members Meeting. Joining us will be two esteemed local experts on the Rio de Flag.  Ecologist, artist and writer, Gwendolyn Waring, will join to discuss the natural history of the Rio de Flag riparian areas with a focus on plants and the human history of the area. Richard Herefore, USGS scientist emeritus, will also be joining to discuss the natural history of the river itself including the history and future potential of flooding.

We will meet at the parking area adjacent to the Museum of Northern Arizona. The walk will be 1-2 miles round trip on the trail along the river.


Earth Day Celebration 2022!

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The Earth Day event was attended by hundreds of people, and our table (featuring the Stream
Stewards program) was well attended. Sara, Kathy, Clarice, and Paul staffed our table. About 10
people signed up to be members of the Friends.

Photo Credit: Sara Day

Walk and Talk: Spruce Wash Restoration – Thursday, May 5th, 2022 @ 5:30 PM

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Grab your walking shoes and join Allen Haden of Natural Channel Design and Ed Schenk, Stormwater Manager of the City of Flagstaff for a walk and discussion of ongoing and future restoration work for Spruce Ave Wash. Our speakers will discuss their efforts to promote resilience in Flagstaff’s watersheds through ongoing restoration projects. We will meet at the small parking area on the road to Humane Society (see link below for location on map) and walk upstream to explore a potential site for restoration on state trust land downstream of Butler Ave. The walk will be approximately 1-mile round trip, mostly on FUTS trails.


Time:  Thursday, May 5th, 2022 @ 5:30 PM
Meeting Location

Urban Waters Learning Network Award

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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. Additionally, one student will be awarded a scholarship to the River Rally Conference, and $1,500 will be awarded to further their river related knowledge through specialized training.

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).

You can read more about the award, and how we earned it, here: Please congratulate yourself for your good work!

River Rally Scholarship Awardee:
• Vicente Diaz graciously accepted the scholarship to attend the River Rally meeting. He is affiliated with three tribes and also is of Mexican descent. His thesis research is focused on ways in which federal conservation policies can be used to support the re-Indigenization of water resources.

Urban Waters Learning Network $1500 award for Training Awardees:
Both attended Natural Channel Design’s Stream Morphology workshop.
• Monica Pech Cardenas, PhD student in Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability. “I have over 5 years working with implementation and monitoring of mangrove restoration projects in Mexico on my master’s in marine biology and later work with mangrove restoration experts. That training in hydrologic restoration of coastal ecosystems was crucial to focus my research. Currently, I am a PhD student at School of Earth and Sustainability. I am aiming to address restoration of inherently connected ecosystems such as mangroves and rivers at regional and national level in Mexico. I have been doing bibliographic reviews about policies and management actions of rivers in the western US and Mexico under the direction of Dr. Denielle Perry, a water resource geographer. Because I want to help organizations and governments in my country to improve restoration practices, I need to integrate areas such as ecological engineering, hydrological restoration, and fluvial geomorphology in my research. I strongly think that implementing River engineering principles will give a powerful tool for being a future expert in the design of ecologically acceptable channels and structures for estuarine areas.”

• Vicente Diaz, MA student in Sustainable Communities, affiliated with Haulapai and Washoe tribes. His thesis is on using Wild and Scenic Rivers Act for Indigenous river governance. No prior experience with restoration.

Urban Waters Learning Network $6000 award for Capacity Building
• Brochures, Poster, and Logo Design, Potential upgrades to Pocketsights Virtual Tour

More upcoming events Spring-Summer 2021

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May 6

Ramon DC Alatorre of the City of Flagstaff Sustainability Program will lead this meeting 7:00-8:00 PM on Thursday May 6. This City has ambitious goals, and it ain’t gonna be easy. Over the next few days and weeks the plan will be revised in light of additional study and community feedback. Attending this meeting is an excellent way to ask questions and give live feedback to City staff.
Meeting URL:
Meeting ID:
859 6704 1282
June 3
Jim David, the force behind the creation of Frances Short Pond from essentially a dumping ground, will lead a walk at the pond at 5:00.  He is aa former teacher at Flagstaff Jr High and the author of the bookJust A Teacher.
July 8
Trevor Henry from City of Flagstaff Engineering will lead a walk on the Rio de Flag from Bonito Street to City Hall at 5:00 discussing the changes in the channel with the upcoming flood control project.
August 5
Researchers from the Museum Fire project will lead a walk near Schultz Pass Road, showing how the possible flood events are monitored on the watershed.  Details to follow, especially as the monsoon season progresses
Sept 2
Tom Bean and Paul Beier from the Friends of the Rio board will lead a walk on the Sinclair Wash tributary of the Rio demonstrating how to use the new Rio app to discover cool places and plants on the Rio.