High Desert Quail Forever keeping guzzlers filled for all desert wildlife
By JIM MATTHEWS
The High Desert Chapter of Quail Forever members have been busy. As of this week, its volunteer members have added over 5,000 gallons of water to 18 different small game guzzlers, or water catchments, in the Barstow to Hesperia region of the West Mojave.
“The systems have been taking a lot of water due to the lack of rain -- the 6th year straight -- and the late monsoon season,” according to Neil Ringlee, one of the club’s spokesmen. “So far the water hauling crew has provided over 5600 gallons of water in the systems.”
This is an ongoing process, and the club could always use new members/volunteers to continue keeping these important water sources full for desert wildlife and to keep them repaired and in working order. The club’s next monthly meeting is this coming Tuesday, July 17, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Apple Valley Gun Club.
In the club’s most recent newsletter, Ringlee recapped the major volunteer efforts: A new 800-gallon fiberglass tank was installed on a guzzler that had an old steel tank that had been leaking and having problems for years. Another guzzler had a bad water leak that was repaird with and coated with Blue Max sealer, while a third guzzler had a new 400-square foot water collection apron built. Minor repairs were also made to two other aprons to increase their efficiency
Ringlee is also asking that everyone who visits the desert keep an eye on the water source.
“While you are out and about in the desert please report back any information you may pick up concerning our managed guzzlers and springs,” said Ringlee. “Reporting on the water levels are important as well as any damage or other problems with these systems.” Ringlee can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ringlee said that in past “normal” rainfall years, the crews considering hauling 14,000 gallons of water to be average, with most water deliveries done in August and September. This is the sixth year in a row where the crew has hauled at least half that amount well before the months when guzzlers needed to be filled.
LITTLE ROCK RESERVOIR UPDATE: Anglers are reminded that this lake remains closed -- just as it has been for the past three years. It was open two weekends in June (9-10 and 16-17) to allow anglers and other recreation users access. The fishing was excellent those two weekends with crappie to two pounds, bluegill to a pound, and a good number of two to four-pound bass caught.
The Palmdale Water District started construction this month on a grade-control structure to protect the endangered arroyo toads. Building the arroyo toad structure also marks the beginning of PWD’s Littlerock Reservoir Sediment Removal Project, a plan to remove about 1.165 million cubic yards of accumulated sediment from behind the dam to increase capacity at the nearly century-old dam. This project is not scheduled for completion until 2032, with 120,000 cubic yards of material removed a year until the 1.165 million yards of accumulated sediment and debris is removed.
I am looking into if there is going to be an effort to rescue the fish population existing in the lake and relocate them to other nearby waters like Apollo Lake or Jackson Lake. I have also asked if there might be a possibility if anglers could be allowed to fish the lake so the fish aren’t wasted as the lake is completely dried up.
Anglers have been walking into the lake and fishing, catching crappie, bluegill, and bass in very good numbers as the water level drops. While no one has been cited, there is a good likelihood that citations could occur. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
CALIFORNIA DEER ASSOCIATION GUZZLER REPAIR: The High Desert Chapter of the California Deer Association is looking for volunteers to help with a big game drinker repair and trail maintenance on the San Bernardino National forest on Saturday, July 28. Volunteers interested in getting more information and details about this project can attend the club’s monthly meeting 6 p.m. Thursday, July 19, at Georgio & Luigi Pizzeria Sports Bar & Grill, 13680 No. 1 Bear Valley Road, Victorville.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY SUPERVISORS SHOOTING BAN: In a knee-jerk reaction to wildfires, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is considering a plan to end recreational shooting on a popular shooting area on Bureau of Land Management land.
Supervisor Dianne Jacob has proposed the ban on shooting on federally-owned land near Dulzura, where the 2,000-acre Gate Fire burned in May 2017. Jacob asked for the ban in a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior to define the boundaries of year-around shooting closure in the Donohoe Flats area. BLM officials wisely failed to act on her previous requests to prohibit year-round shooting on the property, citing little or no evidence legal shooting was a cause of the problem.
Jim Matthews is a syndicated Southern California-based outdoor reporter and columnist. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 909-887-3444.