On June 28-30, the Arizona Elk Society Habitat Project Crew was back at work in Buck Springs. Buck Springs is a sponge meadow that holds water throughout the year. This meadow has Bebb willows in it, and the elk love to come and forage on the younger shoots of the willows. This weekend our task was to take down a dilapidated fence that is not serving it’s function any more to keep the elk out of the meadow. In the coming weeks we will be replacing this fence with a sturdier continuous rail fence. This fence doesn’t block off the whole meadow, just a certain portion. It will still allow the smaller animals to get into it, but keep bigger ungulates out. The elk will still have plenty of places to drink water and browse outside of the fence exclosure. We eventually would like to plant more willows in this area that we are fencing in, along with doing some erosion control structures.

Friday afternoon after setting up camp, 6 of us made our way up to start this job at the far end of the meadow. We were using t-bar pullers and fence cutting kits to start taking down the old fence. This fence consisted of metal, wooden, and fiberglass poles. Within 3 hours of working hard, we had managed to cut the wire off half of the fence and pull all the posts but the fiberglass ones. We stopped for the night, and by the time we got back to camp more volunteers had arrived ready to work hard on Saturday. We grilled up some burgers and got ready for the next day. We had a couple of visitors in the meadow by camp just before dark as 2 young bull elk wondered out to graze.

Saturday morning, we had 15 volunteers ready to work. We had another visitor in the meadow as a long cow elk was grazing early. After a burrito breakfast and a brief safety meeting we got to work. We formed 2 fence removal teams, one wire rolling team, and one auger team to accomplish all the tasks simultaneously. By lunchtime, we had taken all of the fence posts and wire completely down of the ½ mile pre-existing fence line. The auger crew had also drilled 4 of the corner post holes along with all the holes on the south side. During lunch monsoon rains came and cooled the air off. With a light drizzle falling, we went back to work for the afternoon session. We worked until 5 PM and we were able to get all the posts piled up on one side of the meadow, all of the wire fence rolled up and placed on the side of the meadow, all the corner posts dug with the auger along with the north side of the enclosure holes, and had 6 of the 9 corner posts cemented in place. We were all soaked to the bone from the rain, but for a crew of 15 we got a ton of work done! We went back to camp and had a pasta supper, then sat around and had great conversations.

Sunday we got up and were all exhausted, so we decided to pack up camp and call it a weekend after a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, and eggs. The volunteers this past weekend were amazing, and hard working. We are looking forward to the next few weekends at this site to finish up this project. If you are looking for something to do this summer and would like to volunteer, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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