What We Do

The National Wildlife Refuge System is a series of lands and waters owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the refuge system. It drives everything we do from the purpose a refuge is established, to the recreational activities offered there, to the resource management tools we use. Selecting the right tools helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of the refuge.  

Three irrigation canals provide life-giving water to Topock Marsh and staff members control and monitor water levels to provide habitat for a myriad of species that utilize the area. Water from the Colorado River is also used to maintain the four moist soil units and four agricultural fields in Pintail Slough. The same water is used to promote the growth of native trees in the Beal restoration area, encourage mesquite tree growth in re-vegetated areas, and water the agricultural fields to provide food for birds. 

Refuge employees are constantly battling invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
, such as saltcedar, that can have negative impacts on native plant and wildlife communities. Saltcedars have a long tap root that reaches the water table with ease and outcompetes native trees for available groundwater. Saltcedar also prevents other plants from establishing because they precipitate salt, which deposits on the surface of the soil. Without repeated flooding, soil salinity can become too high for native plants to establish and grow.  Although saltcedar does provide breeding habitat for a few species of birds and shade to small mammals, it is not suitable for forage. The refuge works diligently to prevent saltcedar from re-sprouting in previously treated areas and the soil is watered to leach the salt from areas where saltcedars have been removed. Once the soil is leached, native trees such as screwbean and honey mesquite are planted. In this way, areas that were previously dominated by saltcedar are converted back to landscapes where native plants take root once again and provide important habitat for native wildlife to rest, nest and feed. 

Management and Conservation

Refuges use a wide range of land management tools based on the best science available. Some refuges use prescribed fires to mimic natural fires that would have cleared old vegetation from the land helping native plants regenerate and local wildlife to thrive. Other refuges contain Wilderness areas where land is largely managed passively. The management tools used are aimed at ensuring a balanced conservation approach where both wildlife and people will benefit.  

Lower Colorado River Multi Species Conservation Program:  

The Havasu Refuge works in cooperation with the Lower Colorado River Multi Species Conservation Plan (LCRMSCP), which manages endangered plant, and animal species impacted by the damming of the lower Colorado River. The refuge hosts several LCRMSCP habitat restoration projects which benefit the native fish and wildlife that use the refuge. By working together with partner organizations, we are better able to accomplish our mission to "...conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people." 

Law Enforcement

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officers have a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. Officers help visitors understand and obey wildlife protection laws. They work closely with state and local government offices to enforce federal, state and refuge hunting regulations that protect migratory birds and other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities.  

Laws and Regulations

There are a lot of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge. Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn't help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity. Please check with the refuge management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself. There are plenty of activities at Havasu National Refuge for you to enjoy. Be safe and have fun!