Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Lake Havasu COA

Much of this COA encompasses the 39,000-acre Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, which is also identified as an Important Bird Area. Located along the Lower Colorado River, the Refuge encompasses 300 miles of shoreline and includes Topock Gorge, Topock Marsh, and Havasu Wilderness. These habitats are important for birds year-round, acting as vital breeding habitat as well as important wintering/stopover habitats. Birds like Ridgway’s rail, black rail, and southwestern willow flycatcher are not uncommon throughout the Refuge’s wetland habitats. Like most other riparian and wetland habitats in Arizona, the Refuge is suffering from invasive vegetative species like salt cedar and phragmites which can severely degrade quality habitats. Lake Havasu is also a popular destination for outdoor recreationists and poorly-managed activities can adversely affect sensitive areas in and around the Refuge.

Conservation Goals

  • Restore native cottonwood and willows trees to improve habitats for birds and other wildlife.
  • Improve management of wetland and edge habitats to improve habitats for migratory birds.
  • Improve management, compliance and enforcement of recreational activities that can disturb wildlife in sensitive areas.


Primary Threats

3. Climate Change and Severe Weather

3.2: Droughts

7. Human Intrusions and Disturbance

7.1: Recreational activities

8. Invasive and Other Problematic Species

8.1: Invasive non-native species

Potential Conservation Actions

2. Land and Water Management

2.1: Site/area management
  • Restore and maintain diverse habitats to support broad species assemblages that account for range shifts and attract migratory birds.
  • Improve recreational management in riparian areas to reduce impacts to wildlife and habitats.
2.2: Invasive/problematic species control
  • Eradicating, controlling and/or preventing invasive species, especially salt cedar, and restoring with native plant species.
  • Prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species such as quagga mussels.
  • Continue to work with National Wildlife Refuge to eradicate feral hogs.

3. Species Management

3.1: Management of specific species of concern
  • Managing specific plant and animal populations of concern.
3.2: Species recovery
  • Improve enforcement of recreational management to protect sensitive areas.

4. Education and Awareness

4.3: Awareness and communication
  • Improve awareness and training of the effects of aquatic invasive species, especially quagga mussels.

5. Law and Policy

5.4: Compliance and enforcement
  • Improve enforcement of recreational management to protect sensitive areas.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Desert Pacific Treefrog


American Kestrel, American Peregrine Falcon, Black-throated Sparrow, Clark's Grebe, Common Black Hawk, Costa's Hummingbird, Elf Owl, Gilded Flicker, Loggerhead Shrike, Ridgway's Rail, Sora, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Virginia Rail, Western Grebe, Western Meadowlark, White-throated Swift, Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo, California Black Rail


California Leaf-nosed Bat, Cave Myotis, Colorado River Cotton Rat, Desert Woodrat, Greater Western Mastiff Bat, Hoary Bat, Mexican Free-tailed Bat, Pale Townsend's Big-eared Bat, Pocketed Free-tailed Bat, Western Red Bat, Western Yellow Bat, Yuma Myotis


Mexican Gartersnake, Milksnake


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Lake Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
  • Lake Havasu State Park
  • Havasu Wilderness

Potential Partners

  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program
  • Friends of Bill Williams River
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Audubon Southwest
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Quail Forever/Pheasants Forever
  • Fort Mohave Indian Tribe

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs