RiversEdge West's 17th Annual Conference, in partnership with the Desert Botanical Garden, was held February 5-7, 2019 at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, AZ. The conference sold out, with over 210 people in attendance across 15 states and two countries.  
Conference Highlights Included:
Concurrent session topics:
  • Adapting to Change
  • Restoration Tools and Technology
  • Restoration Strategies and Lessons Learned
  • Restoration on Tribal Lands
  • Urban Restoration
  • Biocontrol: Population Distribution, Restoration and Ecological Responses
  • Impacts of Heat Waves, Drought and other Global Change Processes on Riparian Cottonwoods and their Communities in the Western US
  • Collaborative Planning
  • Navigating the World of Corporate Fundraising
  • Russian Olive
  • Remote Sensing
Free Fundraising Consultations:
Stacy Beaugh, President of Strategic by Nature, offered free one-hour small group or one-on-one coaching sessions during the conference for those looking for professional or organizational support in topics such as leadership, team dynamics, communication, project outcomes, fundraising, board development and much more. 
February 5th:
  • Join us on the Boppart Patio for our Poster Session for a free drink, appetizers, and music from Kyle Carey.
  • After the poster session, wander through the Electric Desert; a nighttime experience at seven specific DBG locations where light and original music create a mesmerizing display of the desert.
February 6th: 
  • Join us on the patio at Pitch for happy hour. To help us plan for seating, please RSVP here if you would like to attend.  Pitch is located just 1.5 miles from the DBG at 6350 E Thomas Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251.
February 7th: 
Field trip and workshop options on day three include:
  • A panel and workshop discussing the state of the science pertaining to Russian olive control along western riparian systems. Space available.
  • Restoration site visits, including a:
    • Rockhouse site tour along the Salt River, led by the Salt River Project - 1 space left
    • Verde Valley restoration tour led by Friends of the Verde - FULL
    • Tres Rios site visit led by the City of Phoenix - FULL
  • A tour of the Research and Conservation programs at the Desert Botanical Garden - space available.



About the Desert Botanical Garden - View Map
Nestled amid the Papago Buttes, the Desert Botanical Garden has been teaching and inspiring visitors, providing research, exhibits, and more for nearly 80 years.  
Connect, get inspired, and advance your skills at RiversEdge West's Riparian Restoration Conference and while you are here, enjoy the Garden's 140 acres and the 50,000+ plant displays showcased in beautiful outdoor exhibits.  
Getting Here
The Desert Botanical Garden is located at 1201 N Galvin Pkwy.  All conference attendees receive complimentary parking and admission to enjoy the gardens. 
View the DBG's map to locate the Dorrance Center and the Webster Auditorium.  From the parking lot, go left at the Membership Kiosk, entering via the DBG's side entrance, and follow the signs for the conference from there.      
(before 1/5/19)
(after 1/5/19)
Members (15% discount for members who give $120 and above) 
One Day
Exhibitor - Business
$585 $610
Exhibitor - Nonprofit
$435 $460


Continuing Education 

Conference attendees are eligible to receive continuing education credits with:
  • Society of American Foresters: 11.5 credits 
  • Colorado Department of Agriculture: Licensed Colorado qualified supervisors, certified operators, and private applicators may receive the following education credits by attending the sessions outlined below:
    • 1 Environmental Protection credit for attendance at ANY ONE of the following sessions:
      Russian Olive session on 2/6/2019 from 3:10 pm - 5:10 pm
      Biocontrol: Population Distribution, Restoration and Ecological Responses session on 2/6/2019 from 1:00 pm - 2:40 pm
    • 1 Category 109 Industrial and Right of Way credit for attendance at ANY ONE of the following sessions:
      Russian Olive Session on 2/6/2019 from 3:10 pm - 5:10 pm
      Biocontrol: Population Distribution, Restoration and Ecological Responses Session on 2/6/2019 from 1:00 pm - 2:40 pm
  • Society for Range Management: 5 credits
A light breakfast, morning snack, buffet lunch, and afternoon snack will be provided on February 5th and 6th.  Light snacks will be provided during the field trips and workshop on February 7th. Please note: The poster session will take place outdoors amid the scenic gardens at the Desert Botanic Garden.  Temperatures in February in Phoenix average 72 degrees and overcast during the day.  Please consider bringing a jacket in case of chilly weather. 
Sponsor the 2019 Conference

Partner with us at the leading riparian restoration conference in the West by becoming a conference sponsor. 

Why Partner?  Our attendees are taking a leading role in restoring riparian ecosystems and are an important audience for your organization’s message.  Along with increased visibility, additional sponsor benefits include complimentary registration(s) and exhibit space.  Ask us about additional benefits for title sponsors and refer to the sponsor packet for more information. Your contribution will directly support all aspects of the conference - from scholarships for students and networking events to the cost of facility rental and meals.
To become a sponsor, make your contribution here, mail in a check, or contact Cara Kukuraitis, Conference Coordinator, at (970) 256-7400 or Ckukuraitis@riversedgewest.org.    
First President's Award 
Each year, RiversEdge West awards $500 to a colleague or organization as part of RiversEdge West's First President's Award. This award is given in memory of Pete Larson, RiversEdge West’s first board president, to honor his dedication to restoring natural resources through education, science, and volunteerism. 
Nominate a colleague or organization for the First President's Award by filling out the form here!  
Email your nomination to Cara at Ckukuraitis@riversedgewest.org before January 20th or submit your nomination form in person to the conference registration table by the end of the afternoon break on Tuesday, February 5th.  The individual or organizational representative that you nominate must be present at the conference to win.  
Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors & Partners
River Champion Sponsors
Includes three conference registrations, a booth in the Exhibit Hall, and recognition in the Conference Program





Cottonwood Sponsors
Includes two conference registrations, a booth in the Exhibit Hall, and recognition in the Conference Program




Willow Sponsors
Includes one conference registration and recognition in the Conference Program
Seedling Sponsors
Includes recognition in the Conference Program



2019 Exhibitors

American Conservation Experience

Oxbow Ecological Engineering, LLC

Sky Island Alliance

Strategic by Nature

SWCA Environmental Consultants

Society for Ecological Restoration - SW Chapter


Scholarships are no longer available. The deadline to apply for scholarships closed on December 14, 2018.
A group of rooms has been reserved at two hotels near the Desert Botanical Gardens.  The deadline to reserve your rooms to be included in the reduced group rate is January 5, 2019:
$174/night + tax
4.5 miles from the conference venue 

$121/night + tax
1.5 miles from the conference venue | Bike or walk to the Gardens via the nearby bike path

  • To make your reservation at the DoubleTree within the Riparian Restoration Conference group room block, click here or call 800-528-6481 before January 5, 2019.  
  • Group Name: Riparian Restoration Conference
  • Group Code: RRC
  • Includes a shuttle service that runs every 30 minutes to/from Sky Harbor International Airport on a space available first-come-first-served basis. Arriving guests should call 480-967-1441 after retrieving their luggage and pick up directions will be provided. Departing guests should inform the front desk of their departure time the evening prior to their scheduled check out day to ensure availability on any given shuttle.
  • Local area transportation services for individual transfers are also provided on a space-available basis. 
  • To make a reservation at The Magnuson Hotel within the Riparian Restoration Conference group room block, call 480.947.7335 before January 5, 2019.
  • Group Name: Riparian Restoration Conference
  • Shuttle service to and from the airport is not provided at the Magnuson Hotel.
  • Includes hot complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, fitness center, guest laundry facility, and business center.
The abstract deadline passed on October 19, 2018. If you would like to an abstract to be considered for next year's conference in Grand Junction, Colorado, contact Cara at Ckukuraitis@RiversEdgeWest.org.

What Attendees are Saying:

"RiversEdge West's Conference has been an essential resource for providing the information and skills I need to do my job. The information shared and connections made are invaluable."
-Dave Bastian, Projects and Partnerships Coordinator with the Utah Conservation Corps


  • “Getting a big picture view is critical when working in a small community.  These contacts will provide a wealth of information and inspiration!”

  • “I am walking away with a sense of how to foster collaboration at a watershed scale.”

  • “It is just inspirational and invigorating being around so many people doing similar work.  It was especially helpful for meeting people who work in similar organizations but in different places.” 

  • "The attendees and presentations at the Riparian Restoration Conference provided thought-provoking new ways of thinking about things.”

  • “This was my first conference in the area and the variety of attendees was fantastic; representatives from commercial companies, non-profits, cooperatives, academics, and state/federal agencies were all present.”

  • “It is easy to get down these days in our field.  I realized a lot of exciting things that were going on and that I need to push a bit harder.”

  • "My experience with the Riparian Restoration conference by far exceeded my expectations; the quality and depth of the science, the passion of the speakers and the location of the conference were all top notch. I brought home many slices of information that I can immediately utilize in my work day and feel confident in the vetting process that proceeded it. I plan on attending the next conference in 2019."

  • “I live in a rural town where it is difficult to convene with so many experts/practitioners/scientists/agency representatives.  The simple opportunity to meet and talk with people was hugely beneficial.”

  • "Having the opportunity to attend the Tamarisk Coalition conference this year was a fantastic experience. Because I work in a local watershed group tackling tamarisk and Russian-olive is a big part of my job, and the conference provided a valuable insight into the best practices and methods to reach our goals. This included sessions that not only covered the science of removing invasive species but also, covered important organizational tasks like how to recruit volunteers or raise money for our non-profit."  

  • “[The Conference] provides a broad range of information and new research that is applicable to a variety of audiences including private landowners.” 

  • “Learning about the quantity of research on riparian restoration was the most valuable to me.  It gave me some hope.” 

  • “I got to learn about restoration strategies that they just do not teach in school.”