Stream Stewards

Volunteer to be a Steward of the Rio

The Rio de Flag and its tributaries connect our neighborhoods, support rare plants and unique habitats, promote wildlife movement, and are enjoyed by people living nearby. But as we saw in 2022, flooding streams can also damage our properties. To improve benefits an minimize flood hazards, the Friends of the Rio de Flag, the City of Flagstaff, and other partners (below) are sponsoring the Stewards of the Rio program, similar to the City’s Adopt-a-FUTS program. Each Steward (which can be a person, an organization, or a group of friends) adopts a segment (“reach”) of a stream channel in the Rio de Flag watershed and develops a deep sense of place. 

Your Responsibilities as a Stream Steward

Pick up Trash

Pick up trash in the stream channel and all the way up the side slopes (stopping at adjacent private land) at least 3 times per year. Contact to arrange to borrow garbage grabbers, garbage bags, safety vests, and buckets for use during clean up events. Stewards will wear sturdy footwear, be aware of poison ivy, and use work gloves. Stewards will place bags of garbage or recyclable material on a curb near the reach or take it to an appropriate recycling or dump location.  After each clean-up event, go to the reporting website to report location and amount of trash removed.

Monitor and Report Flood Hazards

Use the same reporting website to upload photos of woody plants growing in stream bottoms, debris flows, or newly slumped banks.  City Stormwater will use your reports to reduce flooding risk

Monitor and Report Invasive Plants

Use Survey123 on your smartphone to report locations of invasive plants. You can learn about Flagstaff’s invasive plants at, and you can download and use the Seek smartphone app to identify both native and non-native plants. Once you sign up, our program Coordinator will help you use these tools.   

Learn to become a Weed Warrior

This part of the program is under development, and you can help us develop it. We want to expand this slowly so that it does not become an impossible burden. We will offer voluntary training weed control programs, with the option for you to phase this work in as your master the first tasks.

Contribute to Science

We are developing a system where you can supply data on stream flows, bank erosion, rare plants, and other conditions, and where those data are assembled into online maps and tables that show how conditions vary across space and time. In this way, each Stream Steward will be part of a pioneering science team, and you will see that your work is contributing to ecological knowledge. 

Sign Up

If you, as a person or an organization, would like to be a Steward of the Rio, please select an available reach from this map and the sign up. Reaches available for adoption will be shown as thick blue lines. 

Contact Us

Questions? Please email



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