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By John Koleszar
JK Koleszar Special Features Editor 

Walk-In Water Troughs


January 1, 2016

Finished Apron

Each year the Arizona Deer Association works with the Arizona Game & Fish Department Development Branch on worthwhile projects designed to help all wildlife but in particular, deer. The photos that you see are really the culmination of years of activity prior to the actual production of this walk-in water trough.

For those who are not familiar with it, this article is a primer on how things get done.

Every year HPC (Habitat Partnership Committee) groups meet all across the state. Water happens to be a key component, one that is in fairly short supply all across Arizona. These groups meet with the single purpose of determining how we can improve habitat and water sources for wildlife all across Arizona.

Projects Proposed

With the help of ranchers, concerned citizens, conservation groups, wildlife managers from the Arizona Game & Fish Department and anyone else interested, a number of projects are proposed. These projects then have to be reviewed by the corresponding state or federal agencies for appropriate clearances. Those clearances include such things as Endangered Species, historical archeological sites and a host of other items on the checklist.

Once the clearances are all obtained, the projects are submitted each September to the Arizona Game & Fish Department for review. Monies for these projects are raised through the various tags that are auctioned or raffled each year by the conservation groups. Last year alone, we managed to raise almost $2 million dollars for projects.

Pecking Order Established

The projects submitted to the Arizona Game & Fish Department are then reviewed and given a pecking order of importance by region. That list is then sent to all of the conservation groups for their review and rankings. Finally, in January of each year, a meeting is held whereby the monies are allocated for those lucky projects that have been deemed ready and accepted by the groups all across the table.

Once the final approval has been established, the list is turned over to the Development Branch of the Arizona Game & Fish Department and scheduled for implementation. Some of the projects that I have worked on have been as long as five years in the process. Once the projects are scheduled, the conservation groups work in conjunction with the Development Branch for coordinated work on many of these projects.

Put Into Motion

Production Of Apron

The last thing that happens is work projects are put into motion. Whether they are controlled burns, tree thinning or water tanks, the projects need help for completion.

The pictures here are from the Twin Buttes Catchment that was installed in the spring of 2014. The catchment is located north of Roosevelt Lake and was deemed critical to mule deer, javelina , bear and various other species.

Water does not magically stay in Arizona without human intervention. This water happened to be critical for an abundance of wildlife and the Arizona Deer Association was happy to be a part of this process.

Dedication Of Volunteers

The next time you see one of these creations out in the middle of a forest, you can understand the complexity of the process and the dedication of the volunteers who made it happen.


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