Our urban rivers can be a source of civic pride that connects and transforms diverse communities as well as enhances the future economic and environmental vitality of the region. The Rio Salado, once a perennial river, flowed through urban Maricopa County spawning early settlements and connecting diverse communities. For decades, community leaders and stakeholders have explored ways to reconnect the splendor of the river to Valley residents through ecosystem restoration, flood mitigation and economic development.
This historically significant and underutilized natural resource has been reimagined as a unifying public space that enhances social equity. A creative and collective effort is needed to integrate priorities of public open space, environmental quality, housing, transportation, economic and workforce development, community sustainability and resilience.
This visionary project is designed to promote progressive commerce while ensuring an equitable, high quality, sustainable environment. Join us in cultivating a progressive identity for our river and its watershed. The time is now to redefine your Rio Salado as a community asset for all.
Explore the dynamic projects and partners engaged in the river corridor.
The Rio Reimagined project’s geographic span is a 58-mile stretch of the Rio Salado from Granite Reef Dam to State Route 85 including the Rio Salado and Gila Rivers. The Rio Reimagined belongs to the eight communities along the river corridor as they partner in creating a vibrant urban riverfront for the Valley.
Thanks to the early advocacy, leadership and generous support of the late U.S. Senator John McCain and Arizona State University, an active and diverse community partnership has begun to leverage broad support for the redevelopment and stewardship of the urban riverfront.
River communities are actively collaborating to increase federal engagement and expand local support for their Rio Reimagined projects and programming. Here are just a few active planning highlights from ‘Year 2’ of the Rio Reimagined project.
The AZ Dept. of Forestry & Fire Management and USDA Forest Service have provided catalyst funding for a 2-year heat action planning and mitigation project, “Cool Island Neighborhoods,” in West Mesa neighborhoods. Project partners include the Great Communities Community Development Organization, City of Mesa, ASU, Maricopa County Public Health, Arizona Sustainability Alliance, Unlimited Potential and SRP. Outcomes include tree planting, citizen science, community engagement and education. May 2020 - May 2022
In late 2019 the cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Avondale joined forces to apply for a significant EPA grant to evaluate and clean-up brownfields (previously polluted or abandoned sites) along the river. AZ Department of Environmental Quality and private sector experts have been strong advocates in the effort to leverage regional cooperation into multi-year funding.
The U.S. Geological Survey and Maricopa County Flood Control District are teaming up for a water quality study that will support the County’s restoration efforts to remove invasive vegetation from the river corridor, and most effectively plant native species. [FY 2020]
As Maricopa County (MC) updates its multi-jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, a planning workshop was held by EPA, FEMA, City of Phoenix, City of Tempe, and MC Flood Control District to review the benefits of including green infrastructure/low impact development strategies (GI/LID). Regional collaboration continues in 2020 with a variety of public, private and non-profit stakeholders interested in advancing this strategy within the river corridor.
At the heart of this project is community.
Click on the organization logos below for upcoming events and diverse opportunities to experience the Rio Salado.
The Urban Waters Partnership reconnects urban communities, particularly those that are overburdened or economically distressed, with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies.
Excitement surrounding the Rio Reimagined is building. Read on about the Project and its positive community impact.
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