Partners Point 1999-2019
Havasu Fisheries Partnership had been installing artificial reef structure in the lake for roughly 5 years out of two temporary locations. A site north of Windsor Beach (Campbell Cove) and another 20+ miles south in the Havasu Springs Resort. Installation trips were getting longer with each cove completion, the appreciation of long term maintenance and monitoring responsibilities grew, and the need for a “stand alone” permanent lakeside facility for these purposes became compelling. A plan was conceived to meet this need on BLM land at a place then called Bluebird Point. BLM & USBR engineers designed and surveyed a one-mile+ road across the desert to the Bluebird shoreline and completed an Environmental Assessment with appropriate permits to build the road across City, Pubic, and private properties to a central lakeside local.
Arrangements were made with the “371 Marine Construction shop” out of Yuma to deploy their heavy equipment to the site in June of 1999 for the construction of the access road. Per arrangement with the command, Anglers United agreed to provide the 10 Marines assigned to the 2-month commitment with a stipend to cover food, housing and POV travel. USBR provided shipment of 6 pieces of Marine heavy equipment to the site that were supported by local contractors, and through that hot summer of “99” these Marines not only honed their construction skills but built a two lane road to the lake with a flattened perimeter on the shore. That winter planning facilities for the site, realizing Bluebird was not a name for keeps, and fully recognizing the importance of partner contribution and support to further program success, the facility was formerly renamed “Partner Point”.
The Spring of “2000” we reloaded, bringing in the Marines again under the same arrangements as the summer before, to build a Partners Point perimeter fence, temporary launch ramp, office, and shade structures. We could not afford to extend utilities to the site, so a unique solar application was awarded through a grant. Office design had been conceived as a trailer, but a true building was always preferred, and in the eleventh hour a design came through that met all our criteria, and could be erected by the Marines. Construction began in June of 2000 with the Marines able to finish the existing perimeter fence, establish a basic beachhead for lake operations, as well as a finished shell of the building that was finished over that fall by AU volunteers. What else could the building be called but “Volunteer Hall”. Once a secure facility was completed, we started moving in fish habitat materials and equipment from Campbell Cove in a gradual transition that temporarily had the program operating habitat improvements out of three lakeside facilities.
As our lease at Campbell Cove expired in early 2001, a small contingent of marines under the same arrangements relocated the steel shade structures from Campbell Cove to Partners Point. A BLM water right was exercised for an irrigation/wash system supplied from the lake, and the battery backed solar system was installed that finally enabled the facility to meet program objectives in a fashion that utilized diverse contributions to produce economic results for the environment, and community.
Partners Point provide us a means of completing program habitat goals ahead of schedule in late 2003, 875 acres of habitat improvement in 42 coves. The last reef we installed is 300’ west of Volunteer Hall, and was sunk by AU volunteers. Partners also gave us a long-term facility to maintain and monitor that heritage from. Because roughly 10% of that habitat was composed of natural brush, and we had shown the brush decomposed in approximately ten years, BLM and program partners established an annual brush maintenance goal of 9 acres/year dispersed through habitat coves for perpetuity to sustain the benefits of initial habitat improvement. Brush maintenance began in early 2004.
Although Partners Point has been closed for a few years to enable neighbor development, the reopening, 20 years after its beginnings, should be celebrated as testimony to the importance of fish habitat in Lake Havasu, the partner organizations that support it, the public who benefit from it, and the volunteers that make those intentions happen.