The Big Sandy Natural Resource Conservation District (NRCD) lies entirely within Mohave County, Arizona and encompassed all the areas within the county excluding the Hualapai Indian Reservation. The District comprises 4,933, 931 acres. Mohave County is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States with a population of 194, 944. It is the 5th largest county in land area in the United States. In the past 10 years, the population has increased by nearly 25%.
The Big Sandy NRCD includes an interesting, and often conflicting, mix of land uses and resource concerns. By far the largest area of the District is arid to semi arid rangeland used for ranching, watershed protection, and wildlife habitat. About 14,000 acres of irrigated land is farmed, mainly for hay and cotton. However, Mohave County has a rapidly growing population which is mainly located in Kingman and the towns along the Colorado River where the major emphasis is on recreation and related businesses. In addition, there are numerous parks and natural areas scattered through the District that attract ever increasing numbers of people who visit these areas for camping, hiking, and other outdoor recreation.
Because most of the cooperators in the District are involved in farming and/or ranching, most of the conservation practices applied within the District are related to these uses. The major practices are prescribed grazing, water development, and fencing on rangelands to promote sustainable resource use and improved wildlife habitat. On croplands, irrigation conveyance systems, sprinklers, crop rotation and pest management are the major practices. These are designed to promote efficient water use and increased productivity of croplands. Wildlife habitat management practices are applied throughout the District.
Landowners and District cooperators are generally aware of the importance of these conservation practices, not only for the farmers and ranchers, but for the improvement of wildlife and watershed conditions that benefit all residents and visitors to the area. The District is keenly aware of the need to educate local residents and visitors about the importance of agriculture and the benefits to the environment that occur as a result of sound conservation practices implemented by their cooperators. Consequently, the goals and objectives of the District place a high priority on educational programs of various types.
The District has participated for years in an annual, three-day AG EXPO held in the Mohave Valley, where urban adults and local youth are provided an opportunity to experience agriculture first-hand. Because of this experience, the District has no doubt that the public, especially the youth, desires and deserves more information about agriculture and how it relates to natural resources and conservation. To that end, the District has developed a comprehensive site plan for a Community Conservation Centrum, which will be a public-use area with a permanent site providing year-round exhibits, structures, and a community educational and event area. This facility will allow the public and youth an opportunity to learn, at their convenience, about natural resources, the agricultural industry, and their agriculturally-based neighbors. No such facility currently exists, however, land clearing has begun on this project at this time.
Other activities include a comprehensive “Natural Resource Inventory” of the District, completed in 2006, and numerous educational programs carried out by its Natural Resource Education Center over the past 25 years.
Anita Waite/ Brenda Stockbridge
P.O. Box 3506
Kingman, AZ 86402