Science

Ecology Overview

Lake Havasu State Park is located just south of Lake Havasu City in western Arizona. In addition to camping, boating, and fishing the park features the 1.75-mile Mohave Sunset Trail through desert vegetation and along the lake’s shoreline. Another park highlight is the Arroyo-Camino Interpretive Garden.

Plant life is diverse in Lake Havasu State Park with Cottonwood (Populus spp.) and Willow (Salix spp.) along the river and Mesquite (Prosopis spp.) and a variety of cacti in the drier areas. Aster spp., Lilies (Liliaceae family), Agave spp., Daisies (Eriophyllum spp.), Primroses (Oenothera spp.), and Poppies (Argemone spp. and Eschscholzia spp.) are just some of the flowers to be found here in the spring. Following a wet winter, the park can have quite a spectacular wildflower display. There are also several rare Buckwheat (Eriogonum spp.) and Penstemon spp. in Mohave County.

Lake Havasu State Park is also habitat for many animals as well. Mammals found here include several bat species (Myotis and others), Kit and Gray Fox (Vulpes macrotis and Urocyon cinereoargenteus), Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) and Bobcat (Lynx rufus) although both are rarely seen, and two kinds of skunk (Mephitis mephitis and Spilogale gracilis). Several kinds of squirrel, mice, and rat also make their home here. This area is also habitat for several kinds of snakes and lizards including the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) which is protected in CA and managed in AZ.

Like many areas of Arizona, Lake Havasu State Park is also home to non-native plants and animals. These non-native species arrive in a variety of ways; some species have been accidentally introduced and humans introduced some purposefully. American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) is one example of a non-native amphibian found locally. Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) and Tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) are examples of non-native vegetation in the park. In the lake itself, the aquatic weed Spiny naiad (Najas marina) is found as well as the non-native quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis).