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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 292

Answer the Call Outstanding Service Award

Quail Unlimited and the BLM have awarded the 2006 Answer-The-Call Award of Excellence to Shelley Ellis, a Wildlife Biologist from the Ridgecrest BLM Office. Shelley has been working with Dave Fischer and other members of the Ridgecrest Chapter of Quail Unlimited (QU). Dave received the Answer-The-Call Volunteer Award of Excellence.

Shelley Ellis and Dave Fisher

Shelley worked hard with the local QU Chapter to further conservation of desert wildlife. She and her co-worker, Bob Parker, were instrumental in acquiring a Challenge Cost Share Grant that allowed Quail Unlimited to construct wildlife waters. Some of these sites were hazardous to humans and wildlife -- they were converted into safe, useable water sources for resident birds. One type of project involved the plugging of existing water-filled shafts with material and providing a pipe to pump water out to storage and a trough. Historically tortoises and other wildlife have fallen into the shafts and perished.
Quail Unlimited also used the funding to upgrade existing artificial waters to make them more efficient, as well as to make them safer for wildlife. The desert tortoise, a federally threatened species, can walk down the ramps for shade and water.  If the ramps are too slippery, the tortoise may become trapped in the tank. QU, with Shelley’s guidance, is replacing and upgrading the ramps to allow tortoises and other wildlife to escape. QU has access to materials and equipment that make this possible. 
Shelley has been creating a data base for all the artificial waters in the area managed by BLM's Ridgecrest Field Office -- including photographs, locations, maintenance needs, wildlife use, and other pertinent data. She regularly goes with Dave Fisher and other members of QU into the field to locate and inspect guzzlers (artificial water sources for wildlife). She has conducted a Consultation with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to come up with measures that would reduce the chances that a tortoise might be harmed while using a guzzler. She is coordinating the development of an environmental document to cover the maintenance of the artificial waters in both wilderness and non-wilderness areas. Wilderness specialists will be providing recommendations for managing the waters in wilderness areas. Quail Unlimited is a designated "agent" of the California Department of Fish and Game. Shelley and other BLM staff are working with QU to develop ways to maintain guzzlers in wilderness areas, while managing the wilderness as prescribed under the federal Wilderness Act.
- R. Parker and BLM Ridgecrest Field Office, 7/18/07
BLM California News.bytes, issue 292

BLM California News.bytes, issue 292

Last updated: 08-02-2007