Basin Lake Work Project

The following is a reproduction of a letter from AZ Game & Fish about our BasinLake project in May, 2005.

May 23, 2005

Dear Jim,

The Pinetop Region of the Arizona Game and Fish Department sincerely appreciates the help the Arizona Antelope Foundation Contributed at the BasinLake boundary fence near BigLake on May 14 and 15, 2005.  The AAF had a good turnout of motivated participants, and they all worked hard to accomplish our objective.

BasinLake is a premier wildlife habitat given its proximity to the BigLake road.  Many species of waterfowl and elk utilize this area. A livestock fence surrounded the lake and adjoining uplands, to prevent cattle entry and promote cover for nesting waterfowl.  Approximately 1ΒΌ miles of this fence was built with woven wire.  This design was totally impassable to the pronghorn population, which summers in the grasslands around BigLake.  Portions of the fence were in disrepair, and cattle annually trespassed, reducing the wildlife habitat values.  In addition, the Arizona Elk Society recently purchased the Burro Creek livestock grazing allotment, and the north side of BasinLake was to be retired from livestock grazing.  Our objectives were to remove the woven wire designed fence, and re-build the southern boundary with a wildlife friendly four strand fence with smooth wire on the bottom.

On Saturday all of the woven wire was taken down and folded to facilitate removal, portions of the four strand fence were removed, and two loads of wire were hauled to the dump.  While the AAF crew was working to tear down the fence, a lone antelope stood on a hill immediately above the site and gave his nod of approval, before he ran off to tell all his friends the great news.  Late in the afternoon, a professional fencing crew began construction of the wildlife friendly fence.  On Sunday more four strand fence was removed and another load of wire was taken away. A total of 3,500 pounds of wire was taken down and removed from the site.

Wildlife management activities often involve cooperation from several sources, and this project is a perfect example.  The Forest Service manages the land and they promoted this project with letters of support and participation during the weekend.  The fence installation was funded by a cost share agreement with the Intermountain West Joint Venture, an organization that promotes bird management activities.  The purchase of the Burro Creek livestock allotment by the Arizona Elk Society provided for the retirement of livestock grazing in areas critical for wildlife and sensitive habitats, and only one side of the Basin Lake fence needed re-construction.  The Arizona Antelope Foundation volunteers put in the sweat equity to do the job done.

Again we thank you and the members of the AAF for their unselfish contribution to the wildlife resource.  We look forward to working with the AAF on many future wildlife related projects.


Jon C. Cooley, Supervisor, Pinetop Region

Thanks to the following volunteers:

John & Chris Vassel (Queen Creek), Joe Bill Pickrell (Phoenix), Ken Kerr, Bob Blassingame, Jeremy Edwards (Pinetop), Frank Tennant (Mesa), Al Kreutz, Stephanie Rainey (Lakeside), Don Johnson (Gold Canyon), Scott Anderson & Jennifer Laughlin (Scottsdale), Clay Sarriugarte (Morenci), Chris Kelliher (Fort Thomas), Scott Heap, Sam Turman (Safford), Vicente Ordonez


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