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spectr17
05-09-2003, 06:43 PM
Arizona Wildlife Field Reports

AGFD

4/28/03

GOULD'S TURKEY RELEASE: Thirty-nine Gould's turkeys that had been captured in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico last month were released into the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona on April 16.

Fifteen of the turkeys were fitted with standard telemetry transmitters and two carried experimental Ground Positioning Satellite (GPS) transmitters.

This release was a culmination of efforts by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the National Wild Turkey Federation, local ranchers, Wingshooters Lodge in Mexico, USDA APHIS-Wildlife Services, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Customs.

Prior to the release, the turkeys had been kept in quarantine for 30 days and tested for possible disease, including Exotic Newcastle Disease.

LUNA LAKE FISH KILL: Gill netting at Luna Lake during the week of April 4 resulted in catching only two trout: one a two-pound adult male rainbow and the other a sub-catchable rainbow trout.

Spring gill netting surveys at Luna usually involve sampling more than 100 trout. The ph-related fish kill that occurred in Luna Lake last summer was evidently more serious than first believed.

Although catchable rainbow trout were stocked recently, it will probably take a year or more for the trout populations to recover in numbers and distribution of size classes that existed prior to the kill.

DESERT TORTOISE SAMPLING: The department's Heritage-funded Desert Tortoise Project held its first reproductive sampling trip this year to Sugarloaf Mountain in the Tonto National Forest near Fountain Hills.

Terry Christopher from the Smithsonian Institution provided ultrasound equipment and performed sonograms on all female tortoises brought into camp. There are currently 14 female desert tortoises fitted with radiotelemetry tags at Sugarloaf Mountain.

All 14 females were accessible and brought in for processing. An unmarked adult female was also brought in. A telemetry tag was attached to her, and she has been added to the project. Fifteen female tortoises were sampled and 11 of those had mature ovarian follicles. Depending on forage availability this spring, these follicles may develop into eggs to be laid this summer.

PRIMITIVE AREA TRAIL WORK: The department's Alpine Habitat Partnership Committee work project April 5-6 involved maintenance on approximately four miles of the Lamphier Trail within the Blue Range Primitive Area in Game Management Unit 27.

Trail work involved removing deadfalls from the trail using turn-of-the-century, two- man crosscut saws as well as doing water-bar and drainage improvements. The work project provided a volunteer labor cost-share component to a Heritage access grant for improving several trails in the Blue Range Primitive Area.

There was also an added bonus during the weekend work project. The 14-member volunteer force pitched in to help the livestock permittee, Bill Marks, peel pine logs for rebuilding a wilderness cabin at Franz Springs. By spending approximately two hours debarking pine logs, the Alpine Habitat Partnership Committee work group helped the rancher finish a job that would have taken him several days.

HORSEBACK PATROL: Two Game and Fish Department officers patrolled the upper Verde River on horseback. They report that highly motivated beavers continue to build new dams on the upper Verde just below Granite Creek. These dams have impounded a significant volume of water in several large ponds.

Continuing downstream, the officers observed approximately 24 domestic cattle grazing the riparian area between Granite Creek and Burnt Ranch. Recreational activity was very light, probably due to inclement weather.

At Burnt Ranch, the officers found severe riparian damage caused by heavy off-highway vehicle traffic. At the north end of the property there was fresh sign of a large party. A large quantity of hazardous trash including glass beer bottles was scattered in the riparian area.

DEER ANTLER MASQUERADE: A department officer responded to an Operation Game Thief call north of Prescott where an individual allegedly had a bull elk in the back of a truck. Investigation revealed that the person, who is a Forest Service employee, was actually transporting an old set of deer antlers mounted on a wooden plaque.

GOULD'S TURKEY SURVEY: Game and Fish Department biologists participated in the Gould's turkey survey in the Huachuca Mountains. One biologist counted 36 birds in Ramsey Canyon alone. Current estimates for this population are about 200 turkeys. A similar survey in the Galiuro Mountains indicated that turkeys are still in the mountain range based on feathers, tracks and anecdotal observations in the area.

VERDE RIVER FISH SURVEY: Wildlife Manager Tom Bagley assisted the U.S. Forest Service with electro-fishing studies on the Verde River near Perkinsville. Species sampled included desert sucker, longfin dace, green sunfish, yellow bullhead, smallmouth bass and red shiner.

KANAB AMBERSNAIL SURVEYS: Game and Fish Department biologists and volunteers from various agencies sampled the Colorado River in early April on the first of two river trips this year.

GILA TOPMINNOW SURVEYS: Game and Fish Department biologists joined with a Forest Service biologist in mid April to survey some streams in the Tonto National Forest for Gila topminnows. Topminnows were found at Unnamed Drainage, Hidden Water Spring and Kayler Spring. Longfin dace and lowland leopard frogs were found at Hidden Water Spring and Kayler Spring. Non-native mosquitofish and crayfish remains were found at Kayler Spring.

BAT CONSERVATION EFFORTS: The Game and Fish Department hosted the Arizona Bat Conservation Partnership Workshop at the Phoenix Zoo to discuss management and conservation activities for bats statewide.

There were 65 participants from 13 state and federal agencies and 13 non-governmental organizations attending. This landmark workshop also identified and prioritized projects and actions across the state and identified possible funding avenues.

GENETIC SAMPLING OF FROGS: Game and Fish biologists joined with University of Arizona biologists to conduct genetic sampling of Chiricahua leopard frogs on April 8 from Gentry Creek, Bottle Spring, Crouch Creek and Carroll Spring. No breeding activity of Chiricahua leopard frogs was found.
Genetic sampling is part of a study to determine the appropriate taxonomy of Chiricahua leopard frogs and Ramsey Canyon leopard frogs.

Biologists also continued the genetic sampling of Chiricahua leopard frogs by conducting daytime surveys in the San Rafael Valley. No leopard frogs were found in any of the sites surveyed in this valley. Bullfrogs were observed in two springs surveyed along San Rafael Ranch Natural Area's southern boundary. In the Huachuca Mountains, biologists were successful in obtaining a sample from a frog in Ash Canyon.

CRAYFISH CONTROL: Game and Fish Department biologists surveyed and removed crayfish from Garden Canyon on Fort Huachuca to assess the potential for reintroducing Ramsey Canyon leopard frogs (Rana subaquavocalis).

APACHE TROUT EGGS: The Game and Fish Department has received its second and third shipment of Apache trout eggs from the Williams Creek Hatchery on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. These eggs were from three-year-old females and two-year-old males. The department hatchery experienced an 86-percent hatch on the second batch and is waiting on the third.

WIND-BLOWN TROUT: While stocking Becker Lake recently, the wind was blowing so hard it kept blowing the fish up on the shore. It all went well but was a unique experience.
As a side note, Lynx Lake has received more than 7,000 catchable brown trout. One more load will be stocked later and the rest will go into Santa Fe and Cataract lakes. Three thousand catchables are being stocked into Concho Lake.

GIANT SALVINIA CONTROL: The Giant Salvinia Task Force met in Blythe, California recently. Giant salvinia is an exotic plant species that can cause havoc on waterways.

Due to the mild winter, salvinia did not die back as much as in previous winters. However, the plant has been eradicated from the upper 12 miles of the Palo Verde Drain, which is the primary source of downstream migration and salvinia infestation. This eradication effort has resulted in a decrease of salvinia floating downstream under the 35th Avenue Bridge from 2,000,000 plants per day to 100,000 per day, a decrease of 95 percent.