Cabeza Prieta Work Project
January 22, 2005

   If you haven’t seen a Sonoran sunrise on the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge, you should try it sometime!  Our first AAF project of 2005 took us to the Cabeza to do some pipeline work related to an irrigation set up for the Adobe Well forage enhancement site.  This project will help establish another forage plot and water source for the endangered Sonoran pronghorn.  We had an excellent turnout for the work project, with folks from Ajo to Alberta joining us in this venture!

     Mixed weather predictions turned out wrong, as the last sprinkles ended on the windshield north of Ajo, and the sun began it’s ascent on the Cabeza.  For the work at hand the day was going to be almost too nice!

     There were a few camps at the Adobe Windmill when we arrived early Saturday morning.  At 8am, we were hoping for some more hands, as the small group of campers wasn’t the turnout we hoped for.  By mid morning however, we weren’t disappointed, as we had on hand 24 hard working volunteers.

     Six thousand feet of 4“ water pipe lay in stacks near the windmill.  At 20 feet long, we were looking at 300 sections of pipe. This wasn’t going to be your run of the mill fence project!

     The plan was to lay out the pipe across the desert floor from an established well, and build a freestanding water and irrigation system with laterals to provide additional food plots for the antelope.  Although we didn’t have all the material to complete the work, the goal was to get the pipe laid and connected from the water hole back to the well with the pipe at hand.

     Each pipe had to have a coupler attached and secured with “tie”, restacked, and then hauled out to the location of the line.  The pipe had to be soaped, the coupler slid on and pounded into place. Then the “tie had to be inserted into the groove of the pipe to hold it in place.  This took the better part of the morning, and quite a few bottles of dish soap! 

     After lunch we completed the hauling at 50 pieces per trailer load.  The pipe had to be stacked and loaded on the trailer, hauled out to the line, and pulled off the trailer and carried to the site.  As the trailer would ferry the pipe, we pulled the pipe off piece by piece and went back for more…

     While this was going on, a crew was beginning to connect the pipeline piece by piece along the designated route.  Each piece had to be “popped” into place at the coupling, and another “tie” inserted to secure it in place.  By mid afternoon, the “connecting crew” was keeping up with the “hauling crew” almost piece by piece, and by 3 pm, all the work we could do was completed!

     Sunday saw a small remaining group of volunteers complete additional work on the underground storage tanks and line work and completed most of the remaining work possible.

     At sundown they saw the enclosure and watched the 7 Sonorans that occupy it.  A satisfying end to a great project!    Thanks to all the volunteers, about half of the group AAF members, with the rest made up of G & F staff, F & WS staff, and four winter visitors, one from Idaho, one from Montana, and a couple from Alberta.

Dave Laird, Sue Foote, Dustin Lockmanese, David Brown, Ryan Wilson, Jim & Tracy Unmacht (all from Phoenix), Art Boswell (Tucson), Jim & Joyce Sivley, Scott Anderson, Jennifer Laughlin, Haley, & Allison Daugherty, (all from Scottsdale), Thomas Hulen (Tempe), Hazel & Ron Boothman (Alberta, Canada), Dave Daniels (Blackfoot, Idaho), Lee Alt (Billings, Montana).  The following G&F and US Fish & Wildlife employees led our team:  Dan Nelson, John Hervert, Allen Zufelt, Jill Bright, Terry Henley, and Mike Coffeen..

Click here to see Work Project Photos


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