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Museum Fire Flood Mitigation talk

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With John Carr and Christopher Tressler

Engineers with Coconino County Community Development

February 6 at 6:30 pm

At the Montoya Center

235 N Thorpe Rd

We have all seen the threat of flooding from the fire last summer and many of us helped place sandbags to prevent damage from possible flooding that occurs post-fire. What is the county’s role in flood mitigation and what are the plans going forward? John Carr and Christopher Tressler, engineers for Coconino County will give a short presentation and be able to answer questions about how the county is proceeding with flood mitigation work. Join us on February 6 at the Montoya Center to learn more.

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 deflagrio@gmail.com.

MNA Land Conservation

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February 16, 2 pm

MNA Branger Chase Auditorium

Public Meeting about MNA Land Conservation February 16, 2 pm



Learn more about efforts to set aside 90 acres of MNA land through permanent conservation easements. So far, donors have been found to support the preservation of 36 acres, and the board members are actively seeking more conservation-minded donors for the remaining 54 acres. This public meeting will be held in the MNA Branigar-Chase Auditorium and is open to all.


With a commanding view of the San Francisco Peaks and the Dry Lake Hills, the nearly 90-acre tract of grasslands and ponderosa pine forest known as “Colton Meadows” has inherent value to people and wildlife. For many years, the MNA Board of Trustees has struggled with what to do with this property, which was bought in 1977 as an investment. While the land has an estimated market value of $3 million in Flagstaff’s current real estate market, the museum board and many members of the community feel the acreage has even more value as open space. The land is an important migration route for elk, a watershed, and is used by hikers, bikers and equestrians.


The board decided to pursue preserving the property by placing the land under conservation easements. In order to afford setting the land aside, MNA seeks donors willing to invest in preserving this land for our greater community.
So far, two donors have stepped forward, preserving parcels A and C. A binding conservation easement to protect the first 18-acres was signed on Oct. 4 and recorded with Coconino County. The easement prevents any building or tree clearing on the property. The only permitted uses are non-invasive research and trails, including specifically allowing for future trail improvements and easements for the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS).



The museum board is hopeful that now more donors will step forward to preserve the remaining 54 acres. Anyone interested is encouraged to contact the board by sending an email to meadows@musnaz.org .
The Baseline Documentation Report can be viewed at: https://musnaz.org/wp-content/
uploads/2019/11/Parcel-C-
Baseline-Documentation-Report-07-25-19.pdf

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