The Flood Control District (FCD) of Maricopa County, in partnership with the Cities of Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, and the Maricopa County Planning & Development Department, has recently received a Crescordia Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Award. The award recognizes the FCD El Rio Design Guidelines and Planning Standards in the category of Healthy Communities – Public Policy/Plans. The award application was submitted by the City of Avondale on behalf of the El Rio Steering Committee. The El Rio Design Guidelines and Planning Standards continue the vision established in the El Rio Watercourse Master Plan in 2006 of a restored river serving as a catalyst for economic development. The standards ensure compatible and complementary development adjacent to the river, and promote recreational access and use. The guidelines and standards supplement current development regulations and create a focus on techniques that increase awareness and appreciation of the Gila River for a 17-mile stretch. Arizona Forward initiated the Environmental Excellence Awards Program in 1980 to recognize outstanding contributions to the physical environment of local communities. This signature program now embraces projects throughout Arizona. The program now serves as a benchmark for promoting sustainability, conserving natural resources and preserving Arizona’s unique desert environment for future generations.