The Rio Reimagined

Photo credit: Tim Roberts | Shutterstock

Join us for the Valley's most impactful green infrastructure project in a century.

A vital resource

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.

Photo credit: Weddle Gilmore | Floor Associates
Photo credit: Floor Associates | Weddle Gilmore

Reimagining the Rio Salado

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.

Sustainable impact

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.

Photo credit: Tim Trumble
Connecting A Vast Valley

River Map

Explore the dynamic projects and partners engaged in the river corridor.

The geography

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.

Rio Reimagined Brochure

Read the Rio Reimagined Brochure (pdf)

A Unifying Public Space

Get Involved

At the heart of this project is community. Check out upcoming events and experience anew your Rio Salado.

People planting new plants
09 15 18
Audubon Conservation Workdays
Third Saturday of Month: September to November & January to April
8 am–12 pm: Varies by Project
Rio Salado Audubon Center, 3131 S. Central Ave., Phoenix AZ 85040
Looking for an opportunity to make a difference for both the environment and your community? Join Audubon Arizona to install native plant gardens, build artificial burrows for Burrowing Owls, and improve wildlife habitat in the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area.
Annual Symposium Arizona Hydrological Society
09 19-21 18
Annual Symposium Arizona Hydrological Society
September 19-21, 2018
Desert Willow Conference Center, 4340 East Cotton Center Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85040.
Join the AHS for their 31st annual symposium, a premier event in the Southwest for hydrology and water resources science, engineering, and public policy. This year’s theme is “The Importance of Hydrology in a Vibrant Southwest.” The Plenary Session on September 20th from 8:30am-10am will feature Rio Reimagined and Tucson’s Santa Cruz River Heritage Project.
Group of people in a classroom
09 20 18
Birds n’ Beer
Third Thursday of every month (except July)
Rio Salado Audubon Center, 3131 S. Central Ave., Phoenix AZ 85040
Birds n’ Beer features lively, entertaining presentations about birds, wildlife, and conservation in a happy-hour style environment, with craft beer from Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. Enjoy a drink and mingle with friends, then sit down and watch an engaging talk on a diverse array of topics.
Children walking on a trail
10 5-6 18
Enchanted Trail / Sendero Encantado
October 5 and 6, 2018, 5:30–8 pm both nights
2439 S Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
Enchanted Trail is an annual, bilingual and educational family festival held every October at the Rio Salado Audubon Center. The “nature by night” fall festival teaches children and adults about nature, science, and Arizona's nocturnal wildlife through a scavenger hunt and several other fun activities. (Spanish: El sendero encantado es un festival anual, bilingüe y educativo de la familia, celebrado cada octubre en el centro de río Salado Audubon en el sur de Phoenix. El Festival de otoño "naturaleza por noche" enseña a los niños y adultos acerca de la naturaleza, la ciencia, y la vida nocturna de Arizona a través de una cacería de carroñeros y otras actividades divertidas.)
Save the Date.  Wishes for Wildlife Redux
10 20 18
Liberty Wildlife’s 25th Annual Wishes for Wildlife
October 20, 2018 6:00pm - 10:00pm
2600 E Elwood St, Phoenix, AZ 85040
Join us at the 25th annual Wishes for Wildlife. This is not your ordinary gala. We will be under the stars at our new facility on the Rio Salado. Casual attire, interactive activities, scrumptious food and drink and a program including superstar, Chris Parish, from the Peregrine Fund.
LISC Annual Meeting
10 30 18
LISC Annual Meeting
October 30, 2018 8am-10am
Stand Up Live, 50 W Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85003
Annual breakfast and community award event in support of LISC Phoenix, the Local Initiative Support Corporation, a non-profit community development financial institution.
2019 Tres Rios Nature Festival
03 2-3 19
2019 Tres Rios Nature Festival
March 2-3, 2019
Base Meridian wildlife area, 7602 S. Avondale Blvd. , Avondale, AZ 85323
The Tres Rios Nature Festival is a free, two-day outdoor event that showcases the rich diversity of wildlife habitat, history, and culture of the Gila, Salt and Agua Fria River system. Join friends and family for a weekend of guided bird tours, canoeing, archery, fishing, live entertainment, food, and fun. Image use approved by the event coordinator: You can use either the website or Facebook Page and the pictures from the Facebook page are there to be used as well.
Read All About It

Stay Informed

Excitement surrounding the Rio Reimagined is building. Read on about the Project and its positive community impact.

Our urban rivers can be a source of civic pride that connects diverse communities as well as enhance the future economic and environmental vitality of the region...
More than 100 of Arizona's most influential business and political leaders from both sides of the aisle gathered in a theater overlooking Tempe Town Lake Friday...
Community leaders gathered near the Salt River on Friday, agreeing to re-imagine and revitalize communities that abutt the river bottom...
For centuries, the Salt River has been the lifeblood of the Valley...
It's a myth that Phoenix is a new city. This is not a "new" place. It's an ancient one. And few who live here understand how events thousands of years ago set the stage for the largest metropolis in Arizona and the fifth largest city in America...
Moderated by; Wellington Reiter, FAIA
Special Advisor to President
Office of University Affairs
The Salt River gave life to the Valley. Then it tore it apart. More than 100 years after dams dried up the portion of the river that cut across the Phoenix metropolitan area, some of Arizona's most influential leaders are trying to put...
At the request of Senator John McCain, a select group of Valley public and private leaders convened to discuss a collaborative vision for the future economic, social, and environmental vitality of the Rio Salado...

Need Answers?

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions and Useful Web Links


Useful Links

Photo credit: Jon Rapp Photography

Together we can create our environmental future.

Join our mailing list to stay engaged in the Project.