Two Days, Two Projects, One Goal
By James E. Lucero, New Mexico State Chair
The week of July 16, 2012, was a busy one for RMEF’s Albuquerque Chapter, with two water projects completed in two days in central New Mexico.
The goal of both projects was the same: to set “collection wings” on a new 3,500-gallon water storage tank that had already been placed prior to our arrival. One was located in Madera Canyon in Socorro County and the other in the San Mateo Mountains.
After we installed the collection wings—which catch falling precipitation—we connected water lines from the storage tank to the tire drinkers, which is where elk, mule deer and other wildlife access the water. We also installed a float ball inside the storage tank that helps set the water level in the tire drinkers. We then back-filled by hand the water lines and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finished compacting with the backhoe.
We completed the Madera Canyon project in 55 minutes, which is the fastest that the BLM can recall. The San Mateo Mountain project also included the removal of a dilapidated 4-acre livestock exclosure fence from around the storage tank. The crew pulled and stacked all of the metal T-posts and removed and rolled the 3-strand smooth wire in record time. BLM plans to replace the old fence with a pipe exclosure in the near future.
Both projects were a joint effort between the BLM, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, National Wild Turkey Foundation and RMEF. We enjoyed partnering toward a common goal, and were impressed by how hard everyone worked and how well we all came together. One of the best parts, other than getting our hands dirty, was walking away with new friends and the sense of making a difference for wildlife in this part of New Mexico.
The Albuquerque Chapter is always looking for opportunities to help with projects like this. We welcome any RMEF members who would like to join us in the field to improve habitat for elk and other wildlife in New Mexico!