Joseph R. Havasi

Director of Natural Resources

Compass Minerals International


Joseph R. Havasi is the Director of Natural Resources for Compass Minerals International (CMP) of Overland Park, Kansas. In his role, Joe is responsible for directing all real estate, mineral resource / reserve assessment and management, water rights, and land-use planning and management for all of CMP’s subsidiary companies, including Great Salt Lake Minerals Corporation in Ogden, Utah. CMP is an essential minerals company with operations across the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom and produces salt, magnesium chloride and sulfate of potash.

Joe is a Geologist by training, having completed undergraduate studies at Denison University, a small liberal arts school in Ohio, completed coursework towards a Masters in Geology at The Ohio State University, and received an MBA in Finance from Youngstown State University. Joe has worked in a variety of roles and capacities, from working as a driller for a year, and conducting Environmental Site Assessments and hydrogeologic investigations before spending five years at Lafarge North America in Cleveland as a Land Manager, responsible for managing real estate, mineral rights and reserves, and land-use planning and management in the eastern US and Canada. He joined Compass Minerals in 2010 to lead its Natural Resources function.

Joe met his wife, Lynn, at Denison University; they have been married for 18 years and have two children, Joe (14) and Megan (12), and one giant Yellow Labrador Retriever, Jersey. Joe coaches youth football, basketball and baseball teams, and the entire family has visited and hiked our country’s great National Parks in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Title: One Effort to Preserve Water Flow to Bear River Bay

11:10am - Friday, May 13th

Abstract: The Compass Minerals Ogden Site, formerly known as Great Salt Minerals, Inc., has been operating on the eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake at informal boundary Bear River Bay and Ogden Bay since 1970. Compass Minerals Ogden produces essential minerals that keep roadways safe in winter months, and Sulphate of Potash (SOP) that provides an essential plant nutrient to various orchard and nut crops, and turf grasses. Compass Minerals Ogden is the only domestic producer of SOP, and  employs over 300 people, and is a valuable contributor to the $1.3B economic engine derived from Great Salt Lake (GSL).

Compass Minerals has grown its pond footprint incrementally since the 1970s, and in doing so generated and vetted various expansion-plan designs. Among the plans considered, stretching back to the 1980s, was further expansion of its pond complex in Bear River Bay.  We now know and appreciate that Bear River Bay is a critical stopover over for many different migratory birds using of the Migratory Bird Flyway stretching between Central America and Canada.  To that end, all pond expansion plans have been withdrawn in Bear River Bay, and elsewhere in the GSL for that matter.  Nonetheless, one positive legacy from one of the original Bear River Bay expansion planning effort is a water right that was intended to be used as mitigation for impacts of incremental pond expansion.  The beneficial use cited in the water right was conservation and wildlife habitat.  The water right was to be used in Bear River Bay, which was proposed to be damned to maintain a pool for a longer period of time.  The dam was to be constructed at the ‘Great Salt lake Minerals’ bridge, which would dam water towards the upper reaches of Bear River Bay and Willard Spur.  While any such concept has long been ‘off the table’, Compass Minerals sill has rights to the mitigation water right, which provides for up to 8,000 CFS of water annually.  The water right needs to be put into beneficial use prior to June 2020.

In light of this requirement and schedule, Compass Minerals reached out to Friends of Great Salt Lake in 2013 to start the discussion of how best to protect, apply and utilize this water right.  The participants in the conversation have grown dramatically, including stakeholders from US Fish and Wildlife, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah Division of Water Rights, staff from the State of Utah Governor’s Office, and Utah Division of Water Quality.  We continue to vette alternatives to maximize the utility and value of this water right, and are pleased that the discussions and analysis of possible uses has been wide ranging, and potentially valuable.  Alternatives considered generally involved  moving the Place of Use of the water right to one or more of the  various State and Federal Wildlife Management Areas adjacent or in Bear River Bay, including Salt Creek WMA, Harold Crane WMA, Ogden Bay WMA and Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.  In our analysis, we determined the current water rights held by these areas, latent capacity to receive more, and juxtaposition to Compass Minerals water right; We need to be careful not to ‘leapfrog’ intervening water rights positioned between current Point of Diversion, and potential receiving areas to avoid impairment of the intervening water rights.  While we are still working towards a solution, the leading solution points to utilization at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, and have discovered that the water right may provide a solution to the current initiatives to protect water flowing to Willard Spur to protect current wildlife utilization of this valuable sub-basin within Bear River Bay.  While all potential uses are valuable, Compass Minerals and other GSL stakeholders are pleased at the prospect that the effort will result in the staking claim to this water that will ensure continued flows to the GSL basin.

This talk will illustrate elements of this opportunity, highlight the value of powerful and  positive collaborations, identify bottlenecks and opportunities, and the importance of other potential efforts that culminate in ensuring continued water delivery to the GSL.