Thursday, May 1, 2014 Public Meeting
6:00 pm at the Joseph C. Montoya Community Center
245 N. Thorpe Park Rd., Flagstaff

Water Works Part 5

A Vision for Flagstaff's Water Future

with George "Corky" Kladnik

HTI's OsMBR technology effectively eliminates contaminants from recycled wastewater.
OsMBR technology

During our Water Works Part 4 panel discussion on water quality in March, technical consultant and water treatment expert Corky Kladnik made the case that conservation and recovery of potable water from Flagstaff's wastewaters will be necessary if we are to have a reliable, safe, long-term supply of fresh water.

Corky is a co-author of "Water, an Essential Resource," a white paper prepared for the City and the public by Friends of Flagstaff's Future's Technical Water Committee.

The white paper states that not only will we need more potable water in the future, but we will also need to stop releasing reclaimed water into the Rio de Flag that contains unregulated contaminants. These are already being detected in trace amounts in the City's aquifer, its primary water supply. Corky's vision for Flagstaff's water future includes new technologies for wastewater recovery that eliminate these pollutants from our reclaimed water.

Corky will also describe new sludge treatment technology with valuable safe by-product recovery, necessary to destroy the hazardous chemicals removed from the wastewater at the City's two wastewater treatment facilities.

The costs and benefits of both of these technologies will be compared to the development of new fresh water resources. 

Also on the program, our NAU intern, Alex Garcia, will present the results of her research on the effectiveness of FoRio's outreach efforts.

This meeting is co-sponsored by Friends of Flagstaff's Future.

Thursday, April 3rd Membership Meeting
6:00 - 7:30 pm, Joseph C. Montoya Community Center, Flagstaff

Stewardship plans for select springs in the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests

Kyle Paffett and Abe Springer, School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University

Jones Springs
Jones Springs in the Upper Beaver Creek watershed. Photo © Tom Bean.

Springs provide unique and essential habitat for plant and animal communities to thrive. Unfortunately, the practice of developing springs for human uses has degraded the natural conditions of many of the springs in the Southwest.

Using a prioritization scheme developed with land and resource managers, NAU's Dr. Abe Springer and graduate student Kyle Paffett assessed 200 springs in the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests.

The results of the assessments were analyzed to determine which springs are most in need of increased stewardship. Stewardship plans have been disseminated to the land and resource managers at the forests.

This presentation will highlight examples of stewardship plans for springs within the Rio de Flag watershed.

Congratulations to Kyle on his recent successful defense of his thesis!

Water Workshop in Flagstaff

What: Water Resources Research Center Workshop: Arizona’s Roadmap for Considering Water for Natural Resources in Management and Planning

When: Friday, May 16, 2014. 12:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Where: USGS on Gemini Drive in Flagstaff

Water Planning RoadmapThe WRRC is developing Arizona’s first ever roadmap for if and when environmental water demands should be considered in statewide water management and planning decisions. This process is being guided by a diverse Steering Committee with representatives from agency, agricultural, environmental, industrial, mining, municipal, tribal, and research interests.

This collective effort is designed to produce a stakeholder driven “Roadmap” for considering water for natural resources in Arizona that will include: (1) concerns and ideas from a diverse array of Arizonans on water for natural resources; (2) lessons learned from previous efforts to consider water for natural resources in management ranging from an entire river to an individual ranch; and (3) recommendations and tools for how Arizonans might consider water for natural resources in their management and planning.

The WRRC invites you to participate and add your voice to this discussion.

A project fact sheet is available here.

Please RSVP learn more about this and other upcoming events from WRRC.

Flagstaff, Arizona • March 6, 2014

McKenzie Jones wins 2013 Tom Moody Award

McKenzie Jones at Picture Canyon / Stephen Root/Phoenix 12 News

City of Flagstaff Sustainability Specialist McKenzie Jones is the winner of the 2013 Tom Moody Award for her role in the purchase and preservation of Picture Canyon and Observatory Mesa as open space.

Bond initiatives for open space acquisition were passed in 2004, but for nearly a decade inflation in land prices and complications at the state level left the city with little hope that it could make good on its promise to voters.

A window of opportunity emerged in 2011 with falling land prices and new leadership at the Arizona State Land Department. Fortunately, the city hired the perfect person to take advantage of it.

Jones quickly demonstrated that she had the skills and energy necessary to navigate productively through historically sensitive relationships. Hitting every mark and taking every setback in stride, she successfully secured a total of $7.9 million in additional grant monies that made possible the purchases of 479 acres at Picture Canyon in 2012 and an extraordinary 2,251 acres on Observatory Mesa in 2013.

Jones’ award commemorates Tom Moody, the co-founder and co-owner of Flagstaff’s Natural Channel Design. Tom was tragically lost to our community in 2009 in a plane crash. His work in stream rehabilitation, stream channel restoration and community planning inspired Friends of the Rio de Flag to honor community members working in, volunteering for, and directing efforts in the fields Tom chose for his life’s work. Friends of the Rio is proud to provide this award in Tom’s memory.

Public Meeting

* Thurs, March 6, 6:30 pm at City Hall *

Water Works Part IV

Flagstaff Water Quality Panel

with Kevin Burke, Abe Springer, Cathy Propper, Brad Hill, and Corky Kladnik - moderated by Bryan Bates

A-plus wastewater flows in the Rio de Flag during the winter (view from I-40 bridge)
Rio de Flag in winter

For the fourth and final event in the Water Works series, a panel of water experts and local officials will share their knowledge and perspectives on the quality of Flagstaff’s water supply.

The City of Flagstaff is held to federal standards for the quality of its drinking water and monitors for chemicals that are considered hazardous when consumed in large quantities.

Flagstaff’s A-plus “purple pipe” recycled water, which accounts for 20% of the community’s water use, requires less treatment than drinking water. It is used year-round in local manufacturing and is in heavy demand for irrigation during the summer months.

There is less demand for recycled water during the winter, when two-thirds of the discharge from the Rio de Flag Wastewater Treatment Plant flows into the Rio. Some of this water eventually finds its way into groundwater that supplies some of the city's drinking water wells.

Although not required to do so, the city tests its drinking water for unregulated contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and hormones, some of which have been shown to alter growth patterns in amphibians. Small traces of some of these contaminants have been found in wells downstream of the treatment plant.

Flagstaff City Manager Kevin Burke, who will be on the March 6 panel, in 2012 created an advisory panel specifically charged with looking at the impacts on human health of unregulated contaminants, including those that have been detected in Flagstaff’s downstream wells.

The panel’s interim report, released in 2013, recommended that the city consider additional treatment to its drinking water that would go much further in removing contaminants now found in levels of parts per billion and even parts per trillion.

Also appearing on the March 6 public panel will be:

The panel discussion will be moderated by Bryan Bates, professor of environmental sciences at Coconino Community College.

Many thanks to Friends of Flagstaff's Future for co-sponsoring this important event!

Army Corps of Engineers OKs $1.6 million for Rio de Flag flood control project

Arizona Daily Sun • March 6, 2014 • by Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa

Kelton Smith, left, and Shelton Boggess paddle their kayak along the Rio de Flag last summer during monsoons in this file photo. (Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun, file)
Kayaking the Rio

The Army Corps of Engineers has included $1.6 million in this year’s work plan to complete repairs on the faulty Clay Avenue Detention Basin in Flagstaff.

The basin is a key part of the Rio de Flag flood control project, which still needs more than $50 million in funding to complete.

Councilmember Scott Overton said he was pleased to hear about the funding. 

“We’re thankful for what we can get. It’s obvious that we’re still on their radar,” he said.

The money should be enough to finish the repairs to the basin, Overton said.

“We will have to continue to work on getting the rest of it completed. It’s a challenging project to fund,” he said. 

The basin was one of several Rio de Flag items city officials discussed with federal officials and representatives during a trip to Washington, D.C., last week. (read more...)

Give flood control projects flexibility

Arizona Daily Sun Editorial • March 5, 2014

When it comes to flooding in and around Flagstaff, not all flood control is created equal.

That statement has come home to roost in recent weeks as both the city of Flagstaff and Coconino County have tackled in different ways flood threats present and future.

The most pressing is the continuing danger to health and safety posed by runoff from the Schultz fire four years high up on the eastern slopes of the San Francisco Peaks.

Then there is the near-term threat to property and drinking water supplies were a similar catastrophic fire to strike the Dry Lake Hills or the Mormon Mountain watersheds.

And in the future, were a so-called “100-year flood” to strike, Flagstaff’s Rio de Flag would not be able to handle the runoff, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to property primarily in the Southside and at NAU. (read more...)

DC delegation returns with hope but no cash

Arizona Daily Sun • March 4, 2014 • by Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa

The Flagstaff City Council’s annual trip to Washington, D.C. didn’t net the city any additional money for the Rio de Flag or forest thinning.

But Mayor Jerry Nabours and Scott Overton said they did have some good conversations while they were there and the projects are moving forward. City Manager Kevin Burke and councilmembers Coral Evans and Mark Woodson also made the trip.

“We certainly didn’t come home with any checks, but we did meet with some very high officials in the Corps of Engineers and the Forest Service,” Nabours said. (read more...)

View presentations from Water Works Part I ("Origins), Part II ("Our Water Future"), and Part III ("Water Reuse").

Thursday February 6 Public Meeting

* 7:00 pm at City Hall *

Flagstaff Water Works Part III

with City of Flagstaff Utilities Director Brad Hill

The City of Flagstaff is one of the state's leaders in water reclamation, and the Rio de Flag plays an important role.

Utilities Director Brad Hill will help us understand the history and importance of reclaimed water, how it is used in Flagstaff, how it contributes to our water conservation efforts, and how it provides resiliency in the face of future climate change.

Brad will also explain the history and operations of the City's two wastewater treatment plants along the Rio, how emerging concerns with water quality are being addressed, and the future of reclaimed water use in Flagstaff and around the country.

Many thanks to Friends of Flagstaff's Future for co-sponsoring this important event!

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