Lake Havasu Wildlife Refuge Gets New Management

  Lake Havasu City, AZ – Supervisor Buster Johnson would like to inform the public that as of Monday the Lake Havasu Wildlife Refuge is under new management.  The Wildlife Refuge’s Deputy Manager, Daryl Magnuson, has taken over as acting Manager.  “I look forward to working with Mr. Magnuson and hope we can rebuild our relations with the Refuge,” Supervisor Johnson stated.  “Relations between the Refuge and local government have been estranged over the past few years, and I am hopeful that with new management communication can start to take place again,” Johnson continued. According to Johnson, Linda Miller, the prior Refuge Manager’s, last day was Friday.  She has been reassigned to the Yuma office.  “Federal, state and local officials along with myself and concerned citizens have been calling for her resignation since she closed off parts of Lake Havasu City waterways under the Refuge jurisdiction over a year ago,” Johnson stated.  “The boating restrictions implemented were done so without any communication or notice to local officials or citizens.  More than $252.8 million is contributed to Mohave County’s economy through boating recreation on Lake Havasu.  No documented evidence was ever presented to prove that these activities were causing any harm to the wildlife or natural preserve of the Refuge,” Johnson explained.   “I am hoping with Mr. Magnuson communication between the Refuge and local government can start to take place again,” Johnson said. Mohave County has already begun actively engaging Mr. Magnuson in regards to another issue in the Golden Shores/Topock area.  According to Public Works Director Steve Latoski, an Environmental Assessment (EA) that was done for the County will need final approval from the Refuge to remove an existing manmade berm upstream in the Sacramento Wash.  Removal of this berm will help to restore the wash to its historical flow path.  “The EA report is done and in the USFWS hands for review.  We anticipate USFWS concurrence with the EA findings of no significant impact by the end of this year so that the County’s offsite project can proceed concurrent with the Oatman bridge project,” Latoski stated.

ADWR Approves County Request to Make Northwest Basin Planning Area a Top Priority

Lake Havasu City, AZ – Supervisor Buster Johnson would like to inform the public of a recent letter sent to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors by the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) approving the County’s request to have the Northwest Basin Planning Area listed as a top priority under the State’s current water initiative. “Mohave County has some of the largest groundwater aquifers in the State, and ensuring that the Northwest Basin is a top priority in Arizona’s Strategic Vision for Water Supply is crucial for future sustainability,” Supervisor Johnson stated. Governor Doug Ducey’s Water Initiative for the State involved ADWR identifying and prioritizing 22 planning areas across the State. The Mohave County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to Director Thomas Buschatzke in February asking for the Northwest Basin Planning Area to receive immediate action by the State. ADWR’s reply to the County stated that after review they have determined that the Northwest Basin Planning Area will be included in the first year of work under the Initiative. According to the letter, ADWR staff will begin working on development of a stakeholder list and have the first stakeholder meeting to initiate the Planning Area process this summer. “These meetings will help everyone involved to find ways to refine water supply and demand components and identify strategies to meet future water demands,” Johnson stated. Arizona’s Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability provides a comprehensive water supply and demand analysis for Arizona. Recent studies have identified the potential for a long-term imbalance between available water supplies and projected water demands over the next 100 years if no action is taken. The Strategic Vision creates the framework for the development of potential strategies to address the projected imbalances. It provides context for maximizing the effectiveness of these strategies to address the needs of multiple water users across the State. For more information on the Water Initiative please visit:

Supervisor Johnson Questions Stockton Hill Farms Water Usage Figures

Lake Havasu City, AZ – During a presentation to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors on May 4th, Bob Saul with Stockton Hill Farms gave an informational presentation to the board about the farm’s activities and water issues.  According to Saul, Stockton Hill Farms will be farming 12,000 acres by 2017 and will use 60,000 to 70,000 acre feet of water a year.  After Saul’s presentation, Supervisor Buster Johnson questioned the accuracy of the figures presented. “If Stockton Hill plans to farm 12,000 acres of alfalfa with part drip irrigation and part pivots at the industry baseline of 8 acre feet of water per year, that adds up to 96,000 acre feet per year,” Johnson stated.  “This figure is exceptionally larger than the numbers presented to the board,” Johnson continued. According to Johnson’s figures, when adding up the water being used by both Kingman Farms and Stockton Hill it amounts to 192,000 acre feet per year.  “This will drastically reduce the aquafer and could cause local wells to run dry.  It could also threaten the water supply for the city of Kingman,” Johnson explained.  “With water being so tight, it is important that the numbers presented to the board by these farmers are adding up.”   During the presentation, Saul claimed that the alfalfa currently being farmed is taking very little of the 15 million acre-feet of water available in the Hualapai Valley basin aquafer.  Yet testimony given during a recent water meeting hosted by the Central Arizona Project showed that the alfalfa being farmed by farms, such as Stockton Hill, is one of the most water-intensive crops.   Johnson stated during the meeting that he feels more research needs to be done on the amount of water being used.  “Water resources are invaluable, and to not have full transparency when presenting this information to the Board of Supervisors and the public is sad indeed!” Johnson ended.

Johnson’s Comments on the Passage of the Bill Williams River Water Settlement Act of 2014

Lake Havasu City, AZ – Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson is deeply disappointed with the actions of Congress and the Arizona delegation for their approval of the Bill Williams River Water Settlement Act of 2014, HR 4924 and S 2503, which are supposed to design a fair and equitable settlement of numerous claims within the Bill Williams River Watershed.  Among the parties involved are the Hualapai Tribe, U.S. Dept. of Interior (acting for themselves and the Tribe), Arizona Game and Fish, and Freeport McMoRan Minerals Corporation. “This is an extremely complicated issue in which HR 4924 attempts to conjoin two separate settlement agreements in an attempt to satisfy various interests in the Big Sandy River/Planet Ranch Water Rights settlement agreement and the Hualapai Tribe/Bill Williams River Water Rights settlement agreement,” Johnson said Friday. “It is unfortunate that our Congressional delegation, including the sponsors Senator Jeff Flake and   Congressman Paul Gosar, who represent Mohave County in Congress, ignored local concerns in favor of single constituent legislation which will benefit a special interest group.”  Gosar has hailed the passage of HR 4924 as a trigger for good paying jobs and additional tax revenue associated with continued use of the Bagdad Mine.  Gosar also claimed that his legislation was scored by the Congressional Budget Office as revenue neutral for the federal government. “It’s absolutely mindboggling that Congressman Gosar did not heed the concerns of Mohave County Assessor Ron Nicholson,” Johnson said.  “He provided a complete background report on this proposed settlement demonstrating significant negative impacts on our tax resource base in Mohave County.  It’s also a shame that Congressman Gosar ignored the public stance of the coalition of Mohave County Chambers of Commerce as well as the documented history of Mohave County government in opposing this rip-off of Mohave County resources.  The water and lands are in Mohave and La Paz Counties but neither was asked or allowed to participate in their own futures,” Johnson explained. “The Mohave County Board of Supervisors has communicated their deep concerns on previous occasions to Congressman Gosar but it appears he is unwilling to consider the concerns of Mohave County, and instead favors the corporate interests of Freeport McMoRan and the Bagdad Mine,” Johnson continued.  “At a time when Congress cannot pass let alone balance a budget, fix immigration or address healthcare, our delegation finds time to contact every member of congress for their support on stripping Mohave County of its natural resources.   These same Congressmen who lamented ‘Generational Theft’ have stripped Mohave County’s ability for economic growth.  It is a sad day in our state when our elected federal officials choose to favor special interest groups over the well-being of those taxpayers living in the area.  We did not send them to D.C. to be puppets for the mining company Freeport McMoRan or any other special interest group,” Johnson stated. Johnson closed by noting, “It has always been a hallmark of Republican orthodoxy that deference should be paid to priorities established by the level of government … Continue Reading →