County Approves Funds To Restore Wildlife Water Sources -- May 12, 2015

Los Angeles County officials approved funds Tuesday to help restore Santa Clarita Valley water sources in the Angeles National Forest destroyed by the Powerhouse Fire.

Some of the water sources have needed restoration for years, after about six decades of use, officials said.

A Fish and Wildlife Propagation Fund Grant request from the Santa Clarita Valley Chapter of Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation was approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to restore three “wildlife man-made water sources” called “guzzlers” in the Los Angeles National Forest, officials said.

“Especially now, with the drought, we have animals that are dependent on water,” said John Nelson, habitat coordinator with the Santa Clarita Valley Chapter of Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation. “The ‘guzzlers’ we were working on recently were put in during the 50s and have been out of service for years and years.”

The group is concentrating on the “guzzlers” that were destroyed in 2013 during the Powerhouse Fire, Nelson said.

Funds of $7,700.42 will go to the Fish and Wildlife Guzzler Restoration Program. The Los Angeles County Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the request in January.

Other funding for the project may come from organizations including the California Rifle & Pistol Association, Safari Club International and other sportsmen clubs, according to the agenda.

The fire burned 30,275 acres on May 30, 2013 and destroyed dozens of homes and structures, leaving many homeless. The fire was fully contained on June 10, 2013.

The Santa Clarita Valley Chapter of Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation was established to maximize the recovery and restoration of the wild quail and other Upland species through critical habitat management, according to the agenda item. Members of the chapter are working on habitat improvement projects including installing wildlife water sources “guzzlers,” planting tree seedlings and native vegetation in fire-ravaged areas and repairing roads and fences near designated habitat projects.

In January 2014, SCVQUWF, Department of Fish & Wildlife and volunteers, including Boy Scouts, surveyed, located and GPS mapped 28 or the reported 45 guzzlers, according to the agenda item. Of the 28 guzzlers found, three had the capability of holding water.

“We’re trying to prioritize which ‘guzzlers’ need to be done first,” Nelson said. “They provide water for all game — some are for larger animals like deer, but most are for anything from a  coyote, to birds, rabbits and mice. It’s going to be years before we get to all of (the guzzlers)”

While most of the guzzlers are concrete and just need more water sealant to be applied, the fiberglass ones were destroyed, Nelson said.

The guzzlers that are expected to fixed with these funds include one in Texas Canyon, Bouquet Canyon and Spunky Canyon, according to the agenda.

“Our volunteer workforce is ready to get to work to improve habitat for wildlife,” SCVQUWF officials said. “Our volunteers have been working together for over twenty years and we look forward to getting our hands dirty. We have the manpower, the tools and the guidance of the USFS.”