A voluntary partnership to restore the lower Gila River ecosystem while encouraging stewardship, recreation, and compatible development

LGRC Strategic Action Plan

After months of work, the collaborative is proud to announce the release of a Strategic Action Plan. This is a non-binding, guiding document will provide focus and expectations for LGRC partners for the next 5 years. It includes: 

Collaborate with Us!

Our full partnership meets annually and all are welcome. Our last meeting was on Mar. 21 from 2:00-4:30 pm at the Avondale Visitors and Conference Center. Click here to view presentations and summaries from our recent meetings.

Working Groups meet 2-6x a year, welcoming those with experience working in the following areas:

Our Coordinating Team will meets monthly on second Wednesdays at 1pm-2:30pm.

Our Leadership Council convenes ~1x per year. The last meeting was Mar. 21 from 1:00 - 2:00pm. Click here to read meeting summaries. 

Email lowergilariver@gmail.com to learn more.

River Champions

Genaro Ruiz outside the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center Photo: Corey Lycopolus 

The Lower Gila River Collaborative and Rio Reimagined  would like to share our sincere condolences on the passing of Mr. Genero Ruiz, the director of the Rio Salado Center and leader in the Phoenix community who passed away March 30, 2022.  Below we provide the statement and eulogy from the Audubon Southwest, it's associated link here.

"Genaro was a father, husband, son, brother, uncle, grandfather, leader, and dear friend. And beyond that, he was warm, gentle, and caring toward everyone he met. Genaro put his passions into his work, including his role within Audubon, and in his leadership committed to serving and uplifting others. As we remember our colleague, we remember both who he was and what he did as inseparable and invaluable.

For those who had the privilege of meeting or working with Genaro Ruiz, it was obvious: This man was a do-er. Colleagues, partners, and friends could see and feel his passion for serving the community. Had an idea? He said: “yes, let’s make it happen.” His confidence was contagious.

When Genaro came to Audubon in February 2021, he made an immediate impact. He opened up the center to our local South Phoenix community and beyond in a whole new way. Genaro saw that the space had much more to offer—that it could, and needed to be, a community resource and asset. Despite overwhelming challenges, including the pandemic, road access limitations, and decreased staff capacity, Genaro welcomed in countless residents and leaders, and facilitated a stunning number of community gatherings and events. In the last few months, Genaro organized events for Rio Reimagined (with Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and other leaders), as well as the South Central Collaborative made up of business, civic, and cultural leaders in South Phoenix.

For one memorable event during the summer of 2021, Audubon Southwest partnered with Corazón Latino, LUCHA, the Hispanic Access Foundation, US Forest Service, and Chicanos por la Causa, and featured Las Azaleas, an all-female mariachi band from Tucson. It demonstrated the variety of uses our Rio Salado Audubon Center can and should be hosting.

Art gallery anyone? Genaro worked with The Sagrado, a local South Phoenix community arts organization and art gallery, to host their 5th annual Mujeres del Desierto, featuring local Latina and indigenous women artists. Book and poetry readings, food truck events, Pajareo y Chilaquiles (birdwatching and breakfast), a quinceañera, and more—none of it would have happened had it not been for Genaro Ruiz.

We mourn his loss. We grieve for his family, his friends, and all that knew him in the Greater Phoenix community, and beyond. We are in shock at his sudden passing. We had so much more good work left to do—and while it’s impossible to fill his shoes, we will work hard to carry him and his legacy with us.

Thank you, Genaro, for leaving your mark on us."

Mayor Georgia Lord
Great Leader and Champion of Our Rivers

Picture of Mayor Georgia Lord signing the Rio Reimagined Proclamation.

Former Mayor Georgia Lord of Goodyear. Photo credit: Charlie Leight/ASU Now

The Lower Gila River Collaborative and Rio Reimagined  would like to share our sincere condolences on the recent passing of Mayor Georgia Lord of Goodyear.

Mayor Lord was a longtime supporter and strong advocate for the revitalization of the Gila River. She worked with several of the surrounding cities and with the late Senator McCain in a leadership role to move the collaborative’s efforts forward. Her keen leadership and support was instrumental in the formation of the Rio Reimagined and the Lower Gila River Collaborative and was evidenced in her passion and dedication to preserving the river’s ecosystem and the community’s connection to it. She served in civic service for over 16 years including three consecutive terms as Mayor of Goodyear. Her grace, strength, and passion for community were inspiring and will be missed by all.

Partners of Lower Gila River Collaborative

Join us in supporting natural resource restoration and enhancement, stewardship, nature-based recreation, and compatible economic development.