News

  • 6 Feb 2018 4:36 AM | Kara Jensen (Administrator)

    Yes, it’s true. I’ve been on the AAF Board now for 8 years and this is our 1st recorded “Fence Building Project” during my ten- ure. The good news we had 35 volunteers that made the long drive to Ajo and another 9 miles northeast of there to the desig- nated desert camp-site. The project work date was another 1st being held in the middle of the winter on January 27, 2018.

    So why this location and why build a new one-acre live- stock/burro proof fence around a seasonally filled livestock tank? Presently when full it attracts feral cattle and horses from nearby reservation lands onto the eastern edge of the Son- oran Pronghorn habitat as well as resident burros. This fence construction project will permit access to the water by all wild- life but prevent access by trespass feral livestock and burros.

    This project was identified by the Bureau of Land Management as very high priority need and the BLM not only provided all the materials but set all five corner posts in concrete the week prior to our work date. Thanks Mike Daehler, District BLM Wildlife Biologist!

    How does this improve the habitat for Pronghorn? This effort is located on the eastern boundary of histor- ic endangered Sonoran Pronghorn

    habitat. The BLM has a long-term plan of removing up to 54 miles of un

    -needed livestock fence in this zone as to make it more attractive to Son- oran Pronghorn. This was the first of at least two projects and likely more we will be doing in this zone. Next January 2019 we will begin removing fence but more centrally south of Stanfield and Interstate 8 east of Gila Bend.

    The fence was constructed of metal posts just 10 feet apart and was the usual wildlife standard fence with a 42-inch top and an 18-inch smooth bottom wire. It was solidly supported by dozens of stone tie downs where appropriate. In addition to the fence construction all the old wire on the ground from the previous fence was

    removed and rolled up. Time will tell if it has the desired effect of reducing livestock use in this area of Sonoran Pronghorn habitat.

     

    Getting to the work site some 9 miles from camp was another challenge or as some drivers stated, “a real Adventure.” We carpooled and caravanned in high clearance 4WD vehicles only and it took over an hour to progress the 9 miles of which 3 miles was in severe climbing and rock rolling conditions. But no flat tires oc- curred, and we finished the entire project with no injuries by 3:30.

    Dinners were served on Friday and Saturday nights with the sides provided by Mary and Bill Keebler andthey hosted Saturday and Sunday morning breakfasts as well. Thanks Mary and Bill!

    Thanks also go out to several groups of folks who contributed to this successful project:

    -Representing the AAF Board: Al Sue, Connie Taylor, Gary Boyer, Joe-Bill Pickrell, Ken Meadors and yours truly.

    -Representing the Mule Deer Foundation:  Sherry Kapaldo

    -US Air Force: Jake Vincent, Humberto Morales and Curtis Brown

    -ASU: Barbara Faultner

    -Other AAF members and volunteers: Betty Dickens, Mary and Bill Keebler, Marsha Sue, Paul Pavlich, Jamie and Deana Watkins, Dave Laird, Johnny Johnson, Rita and Rob Rutledge, Ray Blanchard, Keith and Diane Azlin, Darrel Wood, Ken and Kathy Cook, Larry Thowe, Dino Cerchie, Tyler Mayberry and Charles and Mark Wilmer

    -Game & Fish personnel: Troy Christensen

    -BLM: Mike Daehler


  • 1 Jan 2018 5:33 AM | Kara Jensen (Administrator)

    Our two-grant funded half-time contract personnel, John Millican with 34 years’ pronghorn experience in SE AZ as our on the ground “Field Manager” and Rana Tucker with 10 years GIS experience as our GIS Specialist continued their hard work. The AAF conducted 2 volunteer fence removal/modification projects one on HW 83 South in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Transportation on the southwestern portion of the Sonoita Plains 3.2 miles as well as 3.0 in the West pasture, and one north of the High Creek county roadway near Bonita Arizona on 3.5 miles. 

    We conducted multiple and extensive landowner and agency contacts/education and project definition through our Field Manager and Grant Managers efforts.  We continued to build our extensive geo-data base with key layers in pronghorn occupied habitats in SE AZ making 3rd year progress on the Bonita/Allen Flat/San Bernardino herd zones. As of 2015 we have completed 100% of the GIS work for the Las Cienegas grasslands and Sonoita Plains complex. Coyote control was utilized for the 2nd year in the Allen Flat and Bonita areas northwest of Wilcox. For the 5th year in a row we conducted a fawn “saturation survey” on the greater Sonoita Plains with reduced fawn numbers noted due to winter drought we counted a minimum of 243 animals. No grant caused acres of grassland habitat were restored in this reporting period. 

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