Arizona: Remote Water Measuring Sensor Saves Bighorn Sheep

Arizona: Remote Water Measuring Sensor Saves Bighorn Sheep

In July, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) received an alert from one of its solar-powered remote water sensors, located in the Chocolate Mountains near Yuma, indicating that a wildlife water catchment – critical to wildlife survival – was dry.

The sensors, developed and installed by the United States Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG), deliver timely, remote notifications of significant water loss.

Concerned for the well-being of the animals, an AZGFD team hiked nearly 2 miles of steep terrain to assess the situation. Upon arrival, the team discovered the empty water catchment…and 15 bighorn sheep standing nearby. A broken pipe was responsible for the water shortage. The team mitigated the problem by turning on a back-up water system.

Without the real-time data from the electronic water measuring system, AZGFD would have not found the failure for weeks, which could have resulted in the death of bighorn sheep and other wild animals. In total, YPG has developed and installed four remote sensors on its property, where AZGFD manages several water catchments.

“Rain is unpredictable in southwest Arizona, and this requires innovative approaches and partnerships to protect wildlife,” said AZGFD Yuma Regional Supervisor Mike Sumner. “By continuing to foster our relationship with our partners at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground – who adapted existing range equipment to monitor these water sensors – we can develop affordable solutions to protect wildlife and provide them with the water they need to survive during dry periods.”

Arizona Game and Fish also provided a brief video clip of the sheep at the water catchment.

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Don McDowell, Arizona native, is an avid outdoorsman and has been an active bass pro fisherman for over 16 years and in the past 15 years has developed his own radio show promoting bass fishing and conservation efforts for bass fishing that escalated to nominations with several bass groups and organizations. In the past 12 years, Don has pursued his conservation agenda through AZBFN-TBF as Conservation Director and with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in the spring of 2014 redesigned his website to include those efforts highlighted below and has increased the AZGFD exposure, public education of the AZGFD and Commission issues on his radio show and website soliciting local and national support for Arizona. 2014 has seen the founding of SRT Outdoors, Inc., 501 C3 organization, “Not for Profit, for Conservation” which is concentrating on grants for mitigating the effects of Gizzard Shad on Roosevelt lake thorough habitat enhancement, Florida Strain Bass stocking, lakes bottom mapping, etc. and feral hog research.

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