It’s time to roll up our sleeves and do what the Fraternity members do best, which is build and maintain our valuable water projects. So here is an update on what’s going on and what the plans are for this spring.
We have completed our annual project Inspection Flights and as usual we found a few surprises. The good news is we actually have a lot more water on the mountain in our tanks than we expected. Many of the mountain ranges we checked are over 90% of capacity, which is great news for all the wildlife. Overall, we are at 71% capacity on the 85 projects that we flew this year. Since the flights, Clint walked into Jerry in the Muddys and found we had picked up an additional 600 gallons of water from a weekend rain. Craig drove in to Roy in the McCulloughs and checked that project, which is about ¾ full. Bill Halverson and I made the long hike into Penny in the McCulloughs and I am very happy to report that project is completely full and 31 sheep were seen on the hike in which is always a nice bonus.
As I said, we found a couple surprises and by that I really mean problems. One of our most immediate issues for now is the Bare Mountains. We need to replace the plumbing on Bare #2 (which is currently dry) and we are working with NDOW to haul water to Bare #2 and Bare #3. There is a fantastic sheep population in the Bare Mountains so this is a top priority for us this Spring to insure we have water available at these projects.
Our big surprise this year came when we flew into McCulloughs #1 Linda and the apron had been completely ripped out of the ground and tossed 100 yards down the mountain in a wind storm. We have never had this happen in over 40 years of building projects. We will chalk it up to a learning experience. Be assured the replacement apron will be double strong. I believe Shane Rogers worked on that original apron project, so we are just going to let him take the credit for it blowing awayJ
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
MUDDY MOUNTAINS – 5 RAM / SATURDAY MARCH 31ST: This will be an upgrade of the existing project. We will be adding 5 of our new 2,300 gallon tanks as well as a new drinker. Since we are not building an apron, this should be a relatively easy day as projects go. We should be done in the early afternoon. This is a great project to bring the kids and grandkids to, we will all be getting a helicopter ride into the project.
LOCATION: Take I-15 North towards Salt Lake and take exit 75 (Moapa Smoke Shop) to Valley of Fire. Take the hwy toward Valley of Fire past mile marker 11. We will meet in the gravel parking area on the right side of the road just before you drop down onto the switchbacks turns. It will be easy to find with all the trucks and the helicopter. Plan to be there at 8:00AM. Remember to bring a small cooler with cold drinks and lunch, gloves, jacket, sunscreen and hat to keep the sun off your face is always a good idea. It is always a good idea to check the weather forecast just to make sure you dress for the weather.
LAST CHANCE RANGE – GENERAL MAINTENANCE ON ALL 7 PROJECTS IN THIS RANGE APRIL 21ST – The Last Chance Range is located just north of Pahrump. We have a total of 7 projects in the range. Craig Stevenson had a great idea to do all the maintenance on the project in one weekend which will save money and time. We will be breaking up into small work parties and air lifted to the various projects so we can get all the work done in one day. I do not have the location of the staging area or camping area at this time. Once we have that put together, I will get it sent out along with a map.
We are planning this as an overnight camp out. The Fraternity will be bringing out the big BBQ pit and I believe the World Renowned Chef from Italy, Jelindo Tiberti and his sous chefs will be burning some nice thick steaks with all the fixins for everyone that stays for dinner. This is another great trip to bring the youngsters out to, as they will get a helicopter ride and steak to boot.
McCULLOUGHS #1 – LINDA – REPLACEMENT OF THE APRON, MAY 5th – This is the existing project I mentioned earlier that had the apron destroyed in a wind storm. This should be another relatively easy project since all we are doing is replacing the apron. It is only a short drive south of town to get to the staging area. Map and location information will follow.
MARK CALENDAR WITH THESE DATES:
March 31st Muddy Mtn – 5 Ram
April 21st Last Chance Range
May 5th Linda
May 19th – ANNUAL BANQUET AT THE SOUTH POINT CASINO
SPECIAL THANK YOU
I would like to thank Craig Stevenson for all of his hard work compiling all of the information on our projects this year. Craig retired from NDOW last year as most of you are aware and his replacement is not quite in place yet. Craig has really gone way above and beyond the call this year. I would also like to thank Clint Bentley for his tremendous amount of time and hard work this year. As always, Eddie Pribyl and Lynn Stockman have been very busy working on various projects, in addition to Bare #3 project that was damaged in a wind storm. They got this project back on-line and ready for the water haul. These 4 men are the heart, soul and backbone of the Fraternity and they do an incredible amount of work for the benefit of our organization and Nevada’s wildlife. Please shake their hand the next time you see them and thank them personally for all they do.
I hope to see many of you out on our projects this spring. We may end up with one additional project, but we don’t have that yet as we are still working on getting clearance for that complete rebuild through BLM. Don’t forget the banquet will be May 19th.
Thank you all for your continued support of the Fraternity!
Nevada Department of Wildlife NDOW just completes its largest Bighorn Sheep transplant in a single season since the first transplants back in 1968. The total number of bighorn sheep successfully transplanted statewide was 216. This included approximately 102 Desert Bighorn from various mountain ranges in Southern Nevada.
This year’s capture and transplant efforts were planned to meet several objectives. Two of the main objectives were 1) reduce existing herd numbers and density in several mountain ranges that are approaching their bighorn carrying capacity and 2) continue to restore bighorn populations into unoccupied bighorn habitat or augment small resident herds where they inhabit a fraction of the available bighorn habitat.
A total of 44 collars were deployed across all the bighorn release areas, with most of them having a GPS receiver and half of them with real-time satellite transmission, allowing the game biologists to track their movements and survival every other day of the week for up to 2 years.
Several health profile and disease samples were taken from each animal at a base camp where the animals were processed prior to being loaded into a transport trailer. Samples of animals were weighed to compare/contrast differences among mountain ranges that had the same original source stock. Blood, swabs from the nose and throat, and feces were collected to allow for disease/pathogen testing, evaluate trace minerals that are important to their immune system and conduct DNA analyses to evaluate the amount of interaction herds have with one another.
As usual, Fraternity volunteers showed up in force to assist NDOW with handling and releasing sheep. Thanks to everyone that came out to help, I think everyone had a lot of fun and learned more about sheep in the process.
A huge thanks to all the incredible NDOW staff as well as the other agencies staff that assisted with this massive project and worked so hard. The state of Nevada is very fortunate to have such a tremendous team of dedicated professionals working for wildlife.