The Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep (SCBS), the California Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation and the California Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers are joining forces to replace the flood damaged wildlife drinkers (guzzlers) located near Ship Creek Wash in the Chuckwalla Wilderness. In Spring of 2020 volunteers found that the two existing 2100 gallon plastic tanks at Ship Creek were washed away with pieces of the plastic tanks found downstream from the drinker site.
Three new Raincatcher® 2300 gallon tanks will be hauled into the existing site and installed in the same footprint as the flood damaged system. The water collection dam will need to be dug out and the pipe from the dam to the new tanks will need to be repaired. On the second weekend, volunteers will run hose and pump water to fill the newly installed tanks.
Pre-Project Meeting (April 21)
Wednesday, April 21st: 7:00 PM Virtual Meeting via Zoom or Teams with CDFW and BLM. Tortoise Awareness Training. A link will be provided for all volunteers who RSVP.
First Weekend (April 23-25)
Friday, April 23rd: Volunteers will assemble at “Base Camp” just south of BLM Kiosk on Dupont Road. This is dispersed camping. A volunteer will stay at Base Camp to keep an eye on volunteers’ parked vehicles.
Saturday, April 24th: 07:00 AM, Volunteers will have tailgate orientation and safety meeting. 08:00 AM, Volunteers will load camping gear and work supplies in to designated vehicles to the “Wilderness Camping Area”. Due to the delicate nature of the wilderness and rugged 4x4 route, only about ten (10) vehicles will be allowed to travel to Wilderness Camp. Volunteers will need to pack camping gear to the site. Arrival at wilderness camp is expected approximately 10:00 AM.
10:00 AM, Volunteers will begin packing materials and supplies to the guzzler site, approximately 1.3 miles. At the site, gabions will be constructed for the tank bases and the dam will be dug out. A separate team will work on hauling the tanks up the wash to the guzzler site.
6:30 PM, all volunteers will be back at “Wilderness Camp” Simple camp dinner will be provided and we will rest for Sunday’s work.
Sunday, April 25th: 06:00, Breakfast
07:00 Volunteers will hike back to the work site and continue with work from previous day. 2:00 PM Volunteers will make all materials safe and clean-up then hike back to Wilderness Camp.
3:00 PM, Volunteers will travel back to base camp and head home.
Second Weekend (April 30 - May 2)
Friday, April 30th: Volunteers will assemble at “Base Camp” just south of BLM Kiosk on Dupont Road. This is dispersed camping. A volunteer will stay at Base Camp to keep an eye on volunteers’ parked vehicles.
Saturday, May 1st: 07:00 AM, Volunteers will have tailgate orientation and safety meeting. 08:00 AM, Volunteers will load camping gear and work supplies in to designated vehicles to the “Wilderness Camping Area”.
Designated water haul vehicles will begin transport of water to the staging area near “Wilderness Camp”.
10:00 AM, Volunteers will set up the 3000-gallon flexible bladder tank to receive water from haul vehicles and begin stringing fire hose to the guzzler tanks.
*Any remaining work from previous weekend can also be performed at this time.
6:30 PM, all volunteers will be back at “Wilderness Camp”. Simple camp dinner will be provided and we will rest for Sunday’s work.
Sunday, May 2nd: 06:00 AM Breakfast
07:00 AM complete water hauling and begin pumping operations
10:00 AM conclude water pumping operations. Roll up hose and pack up flexible bladder tank. 12:00 PM pack up wilderness camp and all collected trash and old guzzler debris.
1:00 PM travel back to “Base Camp” and conclude project.
Directions to Base Camp: Exit the I-10 Freeway at Corn Springs Road, approximately 10-miles east of Desert Center. From the freeway offramp, head south approximately 1⁄4 mile to Chuckwalla Valley Road. Turn left on Chuckwalla Valley Road and head east, approximately 7.3 miles to Dupont Road. Chuckwalla Valley Road is paved. At Dupont Road, there is a BLM Kiosk, head south on Dupont (graded but sandy road) to SCBS base camp.
Directions to Wilderness Camp: Take Dupont Road south approximately 5.75 miles to the wilderness boundary. From this point, it is an approximate 6-miles off-road up a sand and boulder strewn wash to “Wilderness Camp.”
These guzzlers were initially installed in 1974 by the then California Department of Fish and Game and the SCBS in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management. They were supported by a number of other groups including the Sierra Club and several other local sportsman's clubs. The original site was constructed with three steel water tanks, but new plastic water tanks were flown in to replace them in 1979 when the whole system was rebuilt. The guzzler location has provided a reliable source of water for bighorn sheep and other wildlife for 46 years and the next closest water source is over 3.5 miles away. Check out the article below which details the original project.