Southeast Sonoita Plains Pasture Fence Projects
By Glen Dickens, VP/Grants/ Projects Coordinator
Another successful AAF project was completed by 39 volunteers and Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) personnel in southeastern Arizona on April 13-15, 2018. On Friday we modified and repaired a quarter mile section of fence that is an entrance into a newly identified 320 acre “Fawning Pasture” as well as modified a 500-foot section of fence on the south end of the Upper Elgin Road allowing access to a 2,400-acre pasture. We removed the bottom strand of barbed wire, replacing it with a single strand of smooth wire at a height of 18 inches and replaced all fence stays and posts as needed. Within just 2 weeks of the fence modification 17 pronghorn were observed in the 2,400-acre pasture and in early June a fawn and mother were observed in this newly accessible pasture. Success!
On Saturday we modified 2 fences both approximately .75 miles in length that bordered a horse pasture to the northeast of the 2,400-acre pasture. This permits pronghorn to pass through the horse pasture to the south as well as gives them access to a permanent water that they could not utilize previously. This modification improved pronghorn access to another 3,000 acres of habitat. Fence modifications were similar to those listed previously.
The really good news! All 4 of these fence modifications have been caused by the increased herd in this area (now 120 animals minimum, up from 17 in 2012) utilizing and pioneering suitable habitat areas previously unoccupied by Pronghorn. This project is likely a final “Capstone” effort and will complete free pronghorn access in the southeastern portion of the Santa Cruz Plains pronghorn corridor improvement project. Everyone who worked on both days enjoyed multiple sightings of the resident pronghorn.
All fence materials for this project were purchased with National Fish and Wildlife Grant funds and this effort benefits the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant in that all labor hours, materials and mileage from this project will be used to match the AAF’s $430K 7-year grant for our “Southeastern Arizona Grasslands Pronghorn Initiative”. The grant has a goal of improving up to 100,000 acres of “Pronghorn habitat connectivity”. This project put us over that magic mark!!
Camp was located at the Rose Tree Ranch Corrals. Thanks, as always goes to Bill Brake and Al Wilcox for again agreeing to host our camp site. Dinners were served on Friday and Saturday nights provided by Mary and Bill Keebler and they hosted Saturday and Sunday morning breakfasts as well, thanks Mary and Bill!
Thanks go out to several groups of folks that contributed to this successful project;
-Representing the AAF Board: Al Sue, Ken Meadors, Kara Jensen, Terry Schupp Connie Taylor, Gary Boyer, and yours truly.
-Other AAF members and volunteers: John Millican, Joe-Bill Pickrell, Dave Laird, Richard Roller, Colin Hurkett, William Gray, Tyler Mayberry, Dave Cruce, Bill/Mary Keebler, Betty Dickens, Warren Adams, Ray Blanchard, Jay/Connie Leadabrand, Rene Dube, Sherry Kapaldo, Ray Emmerich, AE Montiel, Bill McClendon, David Breeden, Johnny Johnson, Jason Angell, Darrel Wood, and Robert Velasco.
-University of Arizona Wildlife Club; Ben Morrison
-AZ Land and Water Trust; Cameron Becker
-Game & Fish personnel: Brad Fulk, Rana Tucker, Troy Christensen, Jered Ellingson and Brittney Olsen
Thanks, everyone for your efforts!