Utah Volunteers Put Water on the Mountain
By Ron Camp, Utah State Chair
Got water? More animals now do in Utah thanks to the efforts of the U.S. Forest Service and hardworking RMEF volunteers.
Utah is the second driest state in America. Although the mountains above Salina may see plenty of snow in the winter, by summer the water in Salina Creek is all but dried up. With the help of more than 25 Utah RMEF volunteers and the expertise of Forest Service biologist Kreig Rasmussen, we installed a wildlife guzzler this past June in a single day. The purpose of the project was to provide a year-round water source for elk and other wildlife near Salina Creek, hopefully enticing the critters to take up year-round residence in this part of the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
So how do you do that? It sounds simple enough. Just put water where you want the animals to be, and that is exactly what we did. We started by removing all the sagebrush above the guzzler location so that we could install a specially-treated fabric that acts as a catch basin for rain water and funnels it into the guzzler. Once the fabric was in place, we placed rocks on top of it and dirt along the edges to hold it in place and protect it from the wind.
Then it was time to install the 1,800-gallon guzzler. First we dug a hole so the guzzler could be buried at a specific height to maximize efficiency. After the guzzler was in place, we installed the plumbing connecting the catch basin to the guzzler. We finished up by constructing a fence of lodgepole posts and wire around the guzzler to keep livestock out. Elk, deer and other wildlife can easily jump over or duck under the fence to get to the water.
This project was the main event during the Utah Summer Rendezvous. Volunteers from all over the state attended. Les Schwab Tire sponsored the event and supplied all the food. The rendezvous allowed RMEF volunteers from near and far the opportunity to get to know each other better and share ideas on improving banquets, recruiting, training and much more. Great times were had in the beautiful mountain setting. Big thanks to Al Gritton and Scott Tycksen for allowing us to use their property as the home base for the rendezvous.
It is not often that volunteers have the opportunity to start and finish a major project in one day. The guzzler is something that will benefit wildlife in this area for years to come. Thanks to all who helped make it happen, because it truly goes to the heart of RMEF’s mission.
We did such a great job this year that the Forest Service has recruited RMEF volunteers for another guzzler project during the 2013 Utah Summer Rendezvous. Bring it on!