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

Spread the Word-Not the Weeds; Post-Museum Fire Treatment of Invasive Plants

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Thursday March 5, at 6pm at the Montoya Center

A look at the cooperative project headed by the Arboretum and including the City, County, Museum, Natural Channel Design and private land owners.

Presented by Jan Busco, horticulturist, native plant expert and author

Jan has worked with native plants for more than three decades and is the curator of MNA’s gardens and grounds. She has written three books on western native plants including Native Plants for High-Elevation Western Gardens (Fulcrum Press 2010, 2004). This talk will be about a grant she received to prevent the spread of non-native invasive weeds on the watershed of the Rio de Flag adjacent to the Museum Fire. There will be opportunities to learn how to prevent the spread of invasive weeds and to participate in citizen science.


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 .
The Baseline Documentation Report can be viewed at:

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.

Celebrate World Wetlands Day With Us

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Sunday Feb 2, 2020  at 2pm

I-40 Wetlands along the Rio de Flag

I-40 Wetlands in January 2020. Photo by Tom Bean

Meet at the southwest corner of Sam’s Club parking lot at 2 pm and be prepared for icy and muddy conditions.  Local habitat professionals are leading the walk to answer your questions about the site.   Note that it is also groundhog day, so keep your eyes open for the elusive (and probably unwilling to look for shadows in February) prairie dog.

Help us celebrate the biodiversity of wetlands in Flagstaff along the Rio de Flag.   The Rio supports several named wetlands, including the Cheshire Wetlands, Picture Canyon areas, and the I-40 Wetlands.  These important habitats are great for watching wildlife and boast some of the best birding around Flagstaff.  Join us for a walk on February 2 to the I-40 Wetlands to explore the habitat in winter

Wetlands are vital for human survival. They are among the world’s most productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that provide the water and productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival. The Convention on Wetlands, the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem was signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971with 171 member states, including the United States.   For more information on the Ramsar Convention check out the website

This year the theme for World Wetlands Day is Wetland Biodiversity Matters.  Biodiversity rates are in steep decline worldwide, and wetland species are the most at risk.  In less than 50 years, between 1097 and 2014 populations of fish, amphibians, birds and reptiles have declined by 60 %.  This is especially alarming in Arizona where less than 10% of original riparian habitats remain.

Come and explore one of those critical habitats with us on 2/2/2020 at 2pm, and be prepared for Flagstaff’s variable weather in Feburary – muddy and icy conditions are probable.  Sturdy shoes, warm clothes and hiking poles are not out of line!

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