THESE LAST FOUR YEARS OF DROUGHT in California have not only been very hard on our deer herds but all wildlife throughout the entire state. As a result, the California Deer Association has been focusing on funding wildlife projects that not only provide a year-round source of water, but sources that are also wildlife-dedicated. We feel that these types of projects can and do make a difference for the state deer herds and other wildlife. As you are reading this article, these types of projects are being worked on right now. We are installing water drinkers in Northern California, wildlife-friendly water troughs in the Carrizo Plain Ecological reserve, and performing restoration work on guzzlers and springs in the Mojave National Preserve. We are working hard throughout the state with several agencies and organizations to put your hard-earned money to work for the deer and all wildlife. Several of these projects I would like to share with you are just being completed and are located in the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve. These projects are the 3-Gates and the Rattlesnake Canyon Year- Round Deer Water Projects. What makes these projects worth talking about is the use of a specially designed water trough that is wildlife-friendly (ground level), has very little water evaporation, and is bear and pig proof.
The 3-Gates year round deer water project is located on the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve, Chimineas Ranch Units. The Chimineas Ranch Foundation along with the CDFW are working together to provide a reliable year- round water source that has not existed for years in this area. This project was funded by the CDA Project Committee in 2014 and consists of the placement of two 5,000-gallon water tanks, over 4,000 feet of pipeline, and two wildlife-friendly water troughs which will be installed for wildlife use only. Not only will the deer and other wildlife on the Chimineas be directly impacted by the installation of these water sources, they will greatly benefit deer on the adjacent lands (USFS). Volunteers from the Paso Robles CDA Chapter, the RMEF, the Santa Maria Valley Sportsmen’s Association, and the Chimineas Ranch Foundation Board members have put in hundreds of hours for site preparation and installation. In addition, matching funds include 100 hours of paid CDFW staff time. This project is 90 percent completed and will be up and running in July of 2016.
The Rattlesnake Canyon year-round water project is also located on the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve, which consists of over 30,000 acres. This project consisted of one 5,000-gallon water tank, over 1,000 feet of pipeline, and one wildlife-friendly water trough which is dedicated for wildlife use only. This project is located on the North Chimineas part of the reserve, which has not had a steady year-round source of water for a long period of time. Deer, Tule Elk, Pigs, and Antelope will be using this water source now that it is up and running. This project was approved in 2015 and completed in May of this year.
The local CDA Chapter (Paso Robles) and the Chimineas Ranch Foundation will monitor the projects through regular site visits and the use of trail cameras to assure that the projects are maintained and working throughout the years. Additionally, we will evaluate the use of these wildlife-friendly water troughs by all wildlife. This information will be collected and made available to other agencies and organization interested in improving wildlife in their areas.
In July, 2016 the CDA Project Committee will meet and go over this year’s project proposals which have been submitted to us for evaluation and approval. We have some very good projects submitted and are eager to continue putting money on the ground for our deer herds of California. In our next CDA publication, we will have a recap of all projects approved at this July meeting and will recap the status of all projects which were approved in 2015.
For those of you interested in checking out recreational use, other wildlife projects on the reserve, or wishing to visit the Chimineas Ranch, you may do so by logging onto: www.chimineasranchfoundation.org.