MDF Water guzzler

September 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Conservation

WA Guzzler – FINAL

By Kari Dingman––Assistant Wildlife Area Manager with Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area Guzzler

The mule deer that call the Blue Mountains of southeast Washington home, are a popular big game species with both hunters and wildlife viewers alike. While the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has spent considerable time and money in habitat restoration to increase mule deer numbers, MDF chapters have proven to also be an important avenue of support and funding for the projects that benefit these mule deer.

before_installationBefore guzzler

The W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area (WLA) consists of 16,000 acres located south of Pomeroy, Washington. The WLA ranges from an elevation of 2,000 feet in the river bottom to 4,300 feet on the highest ridges. Steep, rocky slopes characterize the terrain, with mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, forest grouse, Hungarian partridge, and pheasants all calling this special place home. In addition, the Tucannon River, which runs through the middle of the WLA, houses chinook, steelhead, and bull trout.

after_installation-1After guzzler

A majority of the WLA was covered with coniferous forest until the School Fire in 2005 and the Columbia Complex Fire in 2006 burned the entire WLA. The WLA was logged for salvage timber and to remove standing debris in 2007 and replanted with nursery-grown seedlings in the Spring of 2008. The WLA is now very open with stands of conifers in areas that were not heavily burned. The understory vegetation has now come back and is doing well since the fires.

guzzler_and_trough-1Water guzzler installed

However, with few or no water sources on the ridge-tops of the WLA, the MDF partnered with Safari Club International (SCI) to purchase a 750-gallon wildlife guzzler (water retaining structure) and WDFW contributed the manpower and equipment to install the guzzler. The guzzler was installed on the ridge overlooking the Hartsock Unit of the WLA in April 2009.

muley_herd_on_way_to_guzzlerMule deer heading to guzzler

The installation of the guzzler provided water in an area that was previously devoid of any, and the chosen guzzler location is now receiving a great deal of use by mule deer traveling between forage and shelter. The guzzler will convert the area to a more useable habitat for mule deer as well as the other wildlife species in the area. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife would like to thank the Mule Deer Foundation and all of its members, staff, and volunteers for their past support and assistance. We look forward to working with this great organization in the future.


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