Archive for August, 2011

Successful Volunteer Work Party at San Jacinto Wildlife Area

On Saturday, 8/13/11, a group of about 30 volunteers, made up of hunters that utilize San Jacinto Wildlife Area, gathered to assist the staff in getting things in shape for the coming waterfowl season. After a short talk by Area Manager Scott Sewell, Tom Trakes, Wildlife Habitat Supervisor, broke the group up into smaller work groups and we spread out through the refuge to take on our assignments. The weather was great and it was another beautiful day at San Jacinto.

Another beautiful SJWA day!

Some volunteers cleaned out and brushed some of the blinds, others cleaned out the water control structures throughout the area and another group began to build a new handicapped blind at B-3.

The group SoCalHunt started with cleaned out some of the water control structures on the refuge. Some of these had accumulated large amounts of (now dried) mud and had what amounted to earthen dams behind the control boards. We removed the boards, broke up the dried mud and cleaned it out of the structures. This was important work to be done as Tom said they would probably start to flood some of the area on Monday and having the water control structures cleaned out would save the staff about a day and a half of work.

Mud “dam” in the water control structure

While cleaning out the water control structures we checked out the new pit blinds the San Jacinto staff had already placed in Marsh U and W. It was expected that we would be setting these pit blinds on this work party but the San Jacinto staff was able to get slightly ahead of schedule and had been able to set these blinds earlier this week. One of these pit blinds was originally slated to replace the pit blind in Marsh V but it was decided to leave that blind and place one of the new pit blinds at Marsh U instead. These new pit blinds are made from four or five-foot diameter concrete pipe and will have approximately a foot and a half of gravel on the “floor” of the blind for drainage and to provide a stable bottom in the blind. Tom left the adjacent hog wire blind at Marsh U and W to allow hunters the choice of which blind they would like to use if they draw that blind.

New pit blind at Marsh U

After we completed cleaning out the water control structures in our assigned areas we went up to the B pond area to check the work that Tom and the staff have already completed there. The levee between the two B ponds has been taken down and B will now be one big pond. The walkway out to B-2 was also taken down and a new “walkway” (which will actually be underwater when the pond is flooded) goes out to B-2 from the levee to the east, which divides the B pond from the C pond. Tom told us that gravel will be put down on this underwater walkway to provide a stable base for hunters to walk on to get out to the blind.

The levee bisecting B pond gone!

Gravel on hand, ready to be placed in blinds and walkways

The third of the three new pit blinds is now located at B-1. A little more “clean-up” of this blind’s installation will be needed but that was not tackled today.

New B-1 pit blind

Over in C pond blind C-2 was moved to a newly created island to the north of its original location and the handicapped blind in the C pond was moved from blind C-2 to blind C-3. Blind C-1 will be moved to the north and C-4 will be eliminated. Moving of C-1 will be accomplished at a later date. There was a large group of volunteers working on the new handicapped blind at C-3 and we were on hand to witness some very adept tractor work by Tom and Aurelio to prepare the new blind site.

Superior tractor work!

After the work party many of the volunteers met at Casa Mexicana Restaurant for a well deserved and excellent tasting lunch.

Much was accomplished today with a good turnout of volunteers from the hunting community. Today’s work should go a long way towards another successful waterfowl season at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. As of this writing another work party day at San Jacinto is scheduled for Saturday, September 17th. Hopefully we will have as good a turnout on September 17th as we had today and more great things will be done to get San Jacinto ready for all the duck hunters to enjoy the 2011/2012 waterfowl season.

For information on the upcoming work party day at San Jacinto Wildlife Area you can call the refuge office at 951-928-0580 or Scott Sewell at 951-634-4652 or Tom Trakes 951-236-3040.

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