Havasu Wildlife Refuge

Call to Action!

Chris Manthos

Havasu Wildlife Refuge Call to action

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) at the Havasu Wildlife Refuge are proposing changes to your access on the popular public waters of the Colorado River within the refuge. There are  current and antiquated restrictions on personal watercraft already in the backwater areas. USFWS is now seeking to expand these restrictions by extending them 2 miles south into Lake Havasu.

Furthermore, these proposed changes called a 'Compatibility Determination' (CD) are being conducted outside of the process required by law. In every instance, when personal watercraft interests  are advanced, we are mandated to follow a lengthy and cumbersome procedure. Mysteriously, that is not the case here. Allowing USFWS to push ahead with PWC access restrictions without following due process is the proverbial slippery slope.  Please go to www.fws.gov/refuge/havasu/ then click on "Public Comments Welcome" to see the CD and the graphic of the proposed expansion.

In addition to the expansion of no wake/no access zones into the lake, USFWS has not complied with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This law was enacted in part to ensure a specific process was used whenever federally controlled public lands and waters had new or modified regulations proposed. At Havasu, this was not done. There is an existing agreement between more than a dozen local, state, federal, and Native American agencies (including USFWS) who have some jurisdiction on or along the Colorado River stating that regulation changes will be discussed by the parties to the agreement at their semi-annual meetings. The proposed addition of no-wake zones/closures by USFWS at Lake Havasu were not presented to this group.
If we are required to follow the rules, then so should every other entity. There cannot be two sets of rules; one for regulators, and another for the people. We urge you to make your voice heard on this access issue by submitting either written comments, or via email. The deadline for your comments is June 13, 2016. Written comments can be mailed to:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
Attn: Draft Recreational Boating CD
317 Mesquite Avenue
Needles, CA 92363

Comments may also be submitted at: Havasu_Boating_Comments@fws.gov  until June 13, 2016. Your voice is the one that counts most. When PWC owners speak as one, we can win. When we are silent, access is always lost. Speak up today, and don't forget family, fellow riders, and other boaters. Spread the word and encourage them to submit comments as well.