Water For Wildlife – What The Public Does Not Know

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Raffles and Auctions Pay for Wildlife Survivability

First Published July 2016

Publishers Note: Please Contact Don McDowell (Arizona Dear Association) for information on volunteering opportunities at don@huntingfishing.com.

Superior, AZ Water Station
Superior, AZ Water Station

Each year, Arizona’s conservation groups help raise close to $2,000,000.00 through the auction and raffle tags for all of the big game species in Arizona. There are two tags that are auctioned and one tag that is raffled for each of the big game species. Those lucky tag winners / bidders are entitled to hunt one animal for an entire year. When they harvest that animal, their hunt is over. What the public does not know, however, is where all that money goes.

Habitat Partnership Committees

Through a process known as the HPC (Habitat Partnership Committees), small communities across the state gather together and identify projects that can better habitat for all Wildlife. The location of the projects is determined by the main species that the project is attempting to help. Those projects typically involve either water or habitat improvements.

The photos in this article take you from the beginnings of a project to completion. These projects are funded by those auction / raffle tag monies. The project in these photos was completed last month just south of Superior, Ariz. The Arizona Deer Association sponsored the work project, which meant that we helped the Habitat Development crew from the Arizona Game & Fish Department during the construction process.

Priceless Water

The cost for this project was estimated to be roughly $45,000.00. Not cheap by any standard, but the water that this catchment will hold is priceless in an area that simply does not have a running water supply for Wildlife. The construction typically takes a week to complete but is years in the planning and approval process.

For those who are not familiar with what a “Catchment” is, if you look at the photos, it is a fairly sophisticated construction that captures rainwater on the metal apron. The apron is slightly pitched so that it flows off the apron into a series of pipes that go into the below ground water tanks. The tanks hold the rainwater and based on a leveling system, the “walk –in-trough” allows Wildlife to come in for water to drink. The water never overflows and as each rainstorm or Monsoon brings in new water it replenishes the supply.

Ingenious Application

It seems fairly simple sounding but rather ingenious in application. This catchment had a total of four tanks that each hold 2500 gallons of water below ground. The water held in these tanks will feed the run into the trough and keep water available for Wildlife year round.

You Are Invited To Help

There are many conservation groups in the state that participate in these work projects and all actively invite non-members to come on out and help if you want to get a feel for how we attempt to help Wildlife. I will be more than happy to direct anyone interested to a group that does these on the ground projects if someone is interested in giving a hand.

John (JK) Koleszar
Special Projects Editor

elkhabitat@gmail.com

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Born in Toledo, Ohio circa 1950. I was the oldest of four children and had the good fortune to be inquisitive about wildlife and specifically rabbits and pheasants that were abundant in the area that I was raised in. With later moves to Michigan, I found that exploring the great outdoors was just a short bike ride away and I invested in a Havahart trap at age 11. Raccoons, skunks, squirrels and possum became the choice of prey and that stayed my mainstay until college. I knew that elk were abundant and of trophy class in Arizona so it sealed the deal for relocating here. Since 1986 I have spent as much time as possible learning about elk and trying to become a better hunter.

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