July 26-27, 2008
By Dave Cagle, AZ Game & Fish
The AAF had a great turnout of 35 motivated participants for this project, and they all worked hard to cut pinyon and juniper trees that were invading pronghorn occupied meadows.
The project area is critical elk winter range and is also utilized year round by a transplanted pronghorn population. The pronghorn source stock was from Utah, and two
releases occurred on the nearby Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area about ten years ago. Approximately 30 pronghorn currently occupy suitable habitat surrounding the wildlife area. Most of the
openings are prone to pinyon and juniper encroachment, and routine small tree removal efforts can only increase the long-term survival of this pronghorn herd. The Department previously recognized
the need to rehabilitate meadows in order to retain and enhance grasslands habitats. In 2006 and 2007 we hired summer interns with a primary task to mechanically clear meadows on and immediately
adjacent to Sipe Wildlife Area, located about three miles south of the AAF project site. The AAF project completed on this weekend meshes well with the meadow restoration work efforts previously
conducted by the interns.
During Saturday and Sunday, approximately 120 acres of meadow was treated with chain saws, pruners and hand saws. Mid-sized and small trees were removed in several
meadows experiencing noticeable tree encroachment immediately adjacent to camp. The results left a more savanna appearance where large trees were retained, and removed smaller trees will allow for
more release of grasses and forbs. Another large meadow was attacked, mostly with hand tools. That meadow was first cut by the AAF in the late 1990’s, and knee sized trees were widely
dispersed across this old project site. The removal of theses small trees confirms the need to periodically revisit old project sites to retain the Plains Grasslands habitat characteristics required
by so many wildlife species.
Many thanks to the following volunteers:
From Northern/Eastern Arizona:
& Mary Keebler, Bob Blassing, Ken Kerr, Jim Glover, Dan Fadden, Bill & Johanna Bolt, Ladon Warner
From the Phoenix Area:
Pat McFall, Mary Love, Bob Krogh, Scott Anderson,
Al & Marsh Sue, Tice Supplee, Neal Brown, Whitney White, TJ Slezak, Mark Boswell, Kyler & Zachary Boswell, Jim & Tracy Unmacht, Cecil & Carlota Schmitz, Jim Plos, Aaron Krone, Elizabeth
Stewart, Ken Langford, Kirk Parker
From the Tucson Area:
Art Boswell, Warren Adams