|With 10 months of drought still exerting its influence as well as insufficient monsoon moisture, rural Arizona is reeling.
Arizona Game and Fish Department officials said that many organizations and individuals have rallied to assist with water hauling to drought-stricken wildlife in southeastern Arizona's parched deserts.
Many individuals and organizations have assisted but there are some who deserve identification.
The ranching and farming communities have been hugely impacted in their operations from drought effects, yet have rallied immeasurably to assist with the provision of water for wild critters.
In the Eloy area, Wells Farm's owner Ken Wells has spent at least four days hauling water to wildlife catchments in the Sawtooth Mountains northwest of Tucson to support resident bighorn sheep. He has been uncompensated for his work and using his own farm equipment, too.
The Arizona City Fire Department has provided water to hauling trucks as well as fire hoses to fill Game and Fish portable tanks and the water trailers of others.
The Red Rock Feed Lot, operated by Dave Cook, provided water without restriction to water hauling trucks responding to dry catchments in the Samaniego Hills and Silverbell Mountains.
Tucson Electric Power Company has hauled 30,000 gallons of water in 20 trips to areas surrounding Tucson to fill dry water catchments in the parched desert that support desert wildlife.
The Rose Tree Ranch near Elgin, owned and operated by Bill Brake and Al Willcox, has unselfishly pumped water to wildlife. These critters, including deer, antelope, and other smaller animals, were left on an island of unburned habitat after two large wildfires burned thousands of acres of surrounding lands this spring. Area wildlife was left with few unburned acres on which to live until summer rains provided renewed growth of forage. Thanks to the efforts of these two men, most of the animals have survived to date.
The local Tucson chapter of Safari Club International has unselfishly given funds to purchase tanks to haul water as well as money for pumping costs to benefit the area's wildlife.
The list of assists for Arizona's wildlife goes on endlessly. In this space it is difficult to recognize everyone, but there are many.
Next time you visit the outdoors, remember to say a bit of thanks to those who make their living off the land and other organizations who have so unselfishly contributed their time, energy, resources, and equipment toward ensuring Arizonans have abundant wildlife to enjoy.
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