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On March 5, 2015, Special Master George A. Schade, Jr. retired. Following his appointment in March 2001, he continued the litigation in the Fort Huachuca and San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area contested cases in the San Pedro River Watershed. He initiated the PWR 107 Claims, Powers Garden Administrative Site, Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area, and Redfield Canyon Wilderness Area cases. The PWR 107 Claims case is substantially completed, and the Powers Garden case was adjudicated. The resolution of the other San Pedro River Watershed cases was advanced, and evidentiary hearings on quantification will be held. Core issues involving the claimed reserved water rights in these cases have been answered, and the attributes of those rights have been substantially finalized.
Special Master Schade advanced the resolution of subflow issues in the San Pedro River Watershed with comprehensive reports filed in 2004 and 2011 that the Court adopted in large part. In the Little Colorado River Adjudication, he completed the adjudication of Show Low Lake. In a case of national importance, he submitted a report concerning the claimed existence of federal reserved water rights for State Trust Lands. The Court adopted his determinations, which the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed in 2012. In 2013, he submitted an important report concerning the priority of the Hopi Tribe's claimed reserved water rights for its reservation. The litigation of all these matters continued over several years.
Administrative matters were important. An informational web site was completed, service of new use summonses was restarted, an online bulletin that serves as a historical record was implemented, financial funds were preserved during years of severely limited resources, legislative appropriations were secured when they became needed, and the office was integrated within the superior court.
Special Master Schade's involvement in the adjudications began in 1986. He supervised the high volume service of process undertaken during the 1980s and the preparation of over 70,000 files for the Clerks of the Superior Courts of Apache and Maricopa Counties. Having seen the adjudications take off in their early years, he leaves most proud of having advanced these complex cases forward.
I'm certain parties and counsel join in sending Special Master Schade well wishes in his retirement.
Mr. Tom Buschatzke has been appointed by Governor Douglas A. Ducey as the new Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). Mr. Buschatzke is responsible for planning and policy programs for the management of the state's water supplies and manages multiple regulatory and permitting programs and ADWR's water conservation and drought management efforts. Mr. Buschatzke had been Assistant Director for ADWR's Water Planning Division since 2011 overseeing Colorado River management, active management areas, active management area planning and data management, assured and adequate water supply and recharge permitting, and statewide planning and tribal liaison functions.
Mr. Buschatzke previously was a water resources manager for the City of Phoenix Manager's Office (2002-2011), a hydrologist for the City of Phoenix Law Department (1988-2002); and a water resources supervisor at ADWR, where he spent time in the Adjudications Division (1982-1988). He has served on the University of Arizona's Water Resources Research Center External Advisory Committee and Water Sustainability Program External Advisory Committee; the American Water Resources Association; the American Water Works Association; and the Colorado River Water Users Association. Mr. Buschatzke received a Bachelor of Science in Geology from the State University of New York College at Cortland in 1977.
Subflow Zone Map of the San Pedro River Watershed: At a hearing held on November 6, 2014, the Court directed ADWR to supplement its revised subflow report which it did on February 13, 2015. The Court requested counsel to meet and confer on the objections to both subflow reports. The Court set a hearing on April 23, 2015, to resolve the remaining objections to the reports. The Court decided not to commence a contested case to address subflow issues in the Verde River Watershed.
In re Fort Huachuca: On November 21, 2014, the Court held a status conference. The Court directed the United States to exchange its expert reports and set a telephonic conference to discuss future scheduling. On April 20, 2015, the Court adopted the parties' joint stipulated scheduling report. New time lines to exchange expert reports and completion of discovery were set. The April 21, 2015, telephonic conference was vacated and a telephonic conference was set for April 19, 2016, at 1:30 p.m.
In re Redfield Canyon Wilderness Area: Following a March 19, 2015, conference, the Court determined that the quantification issues would be limited to the needs of the 6,600 or so acres owned by the United States. A briefing schedule was set with a status conference to be held on April 7, 2016.
In re Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area: A status conference was held on November 6, 2014. The Court set an evidentiary hearing to consider two issues concerning the quantification of the claimed reserved water right. A site visit to the wilderness area will be made. Dates for filing dispositive motions and a joint pretrial statement and holding a final pretrial management conference were set.
Ramsey L. Kropf: In February 2015, Ramsey became the Deputy Solicitor for Water Resources of the United States Department of the Interior. Ramsey was the Case Administrator/Attorney in our office between March 1992 and October 1994. She was the Special Master for the Wyoming District Court in the Big Horn River Adjudication, and most recently, was in private practice in Aspen, Colorado. Ramsey has represented clients in matters involving Indian water rights, water supplies for energy development, water quality and environmental regulations, water rights litigation, basin planning and mediation, and litigation involving federal, state, tribal, and local water rights.
John "Jack" Schaper: Jack Schaper passed away on December 26, 2014. He was an active participant and heavy lifter in building the framework of the Gila River Adjudication. He represented the Buckeye farmers and agricultural interests. He did it well. Because he had the utmost confidence in Jack, Judge Stanley Z. Goodfarb asked Jack to chair the initial Gila River Adjudication Steering Committee, a position Jack filled with exemplary leadership and commitment. The times called for a lot of thinking and planning. Jack enjoyed those aspects as well as the give and take of negotiations and the attendant political process.
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