Army Corps to reach out to Game & Fish on future water releases
Residents in the Lake Havasu region this March feared potential damage to off-road trails and wildlife with the release of 9 billion gallons of water from Alamo Dam into the Bill Williams River. Now the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is making an effort to involve the Arizona Game and Fish Department in future planned releases.
The Corps of Engineers would like for Game and Fish to act as a cooperating agency in the Alamo Dam Water Control Manual Update, according to Corps Public Information Officer James Palmer. Through a memorandum of understanding, Arizona State Parks and the Arizona Game and Fish Department would manage recreation in the area of Alamo Lake, while the Corps of Engineers manages flood control and safe operation of the dam, Palmer said.
“(Game and Fish) can approach the Corps at any time as a non-federal sponsor who would like to collaborate with the Corps on a flood risk management study, ecosystem restoration study or other study under existing Corps authority,” Palmer said. “The Corps plans to continue to keep Arizona Game and FIsh, other state and federal interests as well as private citizens as informed as possible about what is happening at Alamo Dam.”
According to Palmer, the role of cooperating agency can vary in scope and complexity based on how much of a resource commitment Game and Fish is willing to make.
This year, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission attempted unsuccessfully to postpone plans for the release of more than 9 billion gallons of water from Alamo Lake into the Bill Williams River. While the release of water was necessary for maintenance of the dam to take place, commissioners feared the release could harm spawning areas for fish native to Alamo Lake. The release proceeded as planned this month, and its impact on Alamo Lake wildlife won’t be known until the Game and Fish Department’s survey this fall.
“We’ve been keeping in touch with the interested public regarding the status of ongoing maintenance and repairs to the dam in our bi-monthly newsletter,” Palmer said. “Since Alamo Dam is an aging facility, maintenance projects are always occurring … from relatively small items such as vegetation control on the downstream dam slope to larger projects such as the work occurring in preparation of the inspection of the dam’s upper conduit.”
According to Palmer, the Corps of Engineers is willing to partner with any projects Game and Fish may be undertaking in the Alamo Dam area.