Sitka Gear
NM Habitat Stamp Program
New Mexico
Contributors to this thread:
mrelite 26-Jun-21
earlyriser 27-Jun-21
smarba 28-Jun-21
mrelite 28-Jun-21
mrelite 29-Jun-21
Oryx35 04-Jul-21
mrelite 05-Jul-21
Red Sparky 05-Jul-21
mrelite 05-Jul-21
From: mrelite
I am on the CAC (citizen advisory committee) of the Habitat Stamp program. The CAC prioritizes the projects for funding which includes maintenance on water catchments.

If there is a particular water catchment that you have seen that needs attention please PM me the details. Be specific with location, water level, fence condition, any issues! and date that you last saw project. The reason I would like the info is that we are trying to reign in maintenance issues, these projects are owned by the BLM and USFS and they are the ones who tell us what is needed. The BLM and USFS are the ones doing inspections and maintenance, they also want to have funds that are a lump sum or "slush fund" so they can do what they feel needs to be done without oversight. This is not acceptable to me, without getting to in-depth I want to see all maintenance funds be site specific and for specific repairs. So the more info I have the more I have to work with, this is about what the BLM and USFS says they need and what funding we say they can have and how they can spend it. I've been getting out and looking at catchments but I can only see so many, again, any info could be helpful if it is specific enough, good working condition is also good information. Don't worry about disclosing the location, I know where almost all of the projects are.

You can air your grievances about the program if you want, I am all ears and I really do want to hear anything, I hope this thread goes on and on with good and bad comments.


From: earlyriser
I have seen many of these over the years. Most have been in pretty good condition. A few have not. I will think about where they were and let you know.

From: smarba
Thx JP, I too was involved with the HSP several years ago albeit informally. At that time I posted a similar request as you on Bowsite. I was reporting broken drinkers to a Dale Hall at NMDGF who was in charge of the HSP program but since retired. I suggested people report to him directly, but don't recall generating much interest.

It's been my experience that A LOT of those drinkers are broken/rusted out/vandalized and don't work. At the time Dale told me it was also useful to them to know about drinkers that were working fine, as it saved staff making a trip and spending funds just to check the status.

It's also been my experience that most people have no idea how the catchments work and that they operate on a delicately adjusted float valve similar to a toilet tank (which again probably most people have no idea as to that "magic"). I've seen a lot of drinkers over the years that people have broken open or damaged in what appears to be an uneducated attempt to "turn them on". Maybe some sort of diagram and information in NMDGF newsletter that describes their purpose, function, operation and how to go about reporting issues to NMDGF would be helpful.

Finally, with regards to disclosing the location, even though I assume NMDGF has a database of the locations, I suspect many who "discover" one far off the beaten path are loathe to report whether it's working or not simply because there is a perception that telling someone "hey this remote drinker is working great" will bring undue attention to the location. Not sure how to change that mindset.

Finally, one recurring problem I see with more recently-installed drinkers is they are understandably constructed close to roads because the materials need to be hauled in. But being close to roads means people drive by them all the time and make them more subject to vandalism (bullet holes are the most common issue I see in that regard). I'd like to see them constructed on side roads or dead-end roads and then the road completely blocked off afterward. Doesn't need to be FAR from a road, even a couple hundred yards would be fine, just so there is no DRIVING access to them. There are some close to ABQ that people have crashed trucks into and torn off the umbrella supports, shot holes into, etc. and that would probably be reduced if idiots weren't able to drive right to them.

From: mrelite
Great comments Carl and correct on all counts!

Being on the CAC has given me an open door look at the program and I'm on the committee for a 5 year period so hopefully I can help facilitate some positive things. The first thing I think that needs to be addressed is how the money for the maintenance of these catchments is distributed and how it is being used, this issue is crazy important seeing that it eats up a huge part of the HSP budget and it is what keeps the drinkers functional, we can't keep putting new catchments on the landscape without dealing with old projects. It would take me too long to type everything about this issue but I need specific info on catchments because I am cross referencing projects that were submitted by the BLM and USFS for maintenance funding, let's just say that many things don't add up and chances that a project someone has seen is on this list, is pretty good.

Gotta run be back later

From: mrelite
People that think they shouldn't let members of the HSP program know the condition of catchments are definitely not thinking straight, we know where all of the projects are whether they are close to a road or not, also letting the HSP know information is not like they are typing it up on the internet. How to change the mindset? I am not sure you can! you are either a left side thinker or a right side thinker................

Even if a catchment is working doesn't mean that it isn't in need of maintenance and the data is still needed to make sure it doesn't stop working, the data also helps to replicate projects that work and have longevity which is extremely important when implementing new catchments, fences and locations.

I've been to about a dozen catchments in the last month and was pleasantly surprised with some and frustrated with others, everyone that hunts and fishes pays for these habitat stamps and they should want to give info on what they see so that their money isn't wasted on generic redundancies, discrepancies, lack of data, inadequate financial breakdown and foresight to curb future maintenance spending. Maybe that description is a little extreme but it's the point I am trying to make.

From: Oryx35
PM sent, and a bump for attention.

From: mrelite
I sent you some info on the projects you mentioned, thanks for the reply!

From: Red Sparky
I like the idea of closed roads. There was one in the Gila that someone threw rocks into the catchment off the apron, basically putting a stopper in it. The apron sits on the ground with a 2' diameter pipe about 2' deep that fills up and feeds a 2" pipe underground to two above ground tanks. I fixed it and it was down a road you had to walk about 1/2 mile down due to trees fallen across the road. FS went and opened the road by removing all the fallen trees. Now anybody can drive to it and you have everybody driving to it. During hunting season only a few would walk to it and we had a system to let other hunters know if someone was down there. Now you will be hunting the first archery hunt at "prime time" and have rifle, second archery, and muzzleloader hunters coming down to scout for their hunts. Ease of access makes it more likely for vandalism.

From: mrelite
I totally agree that projects should not be visible from a road or have a road to them, the best I can do is express that concept when any new projects get proposed. Also, if the project gets vandalized repeatedly I can suggest to decommission it because we aren't likely to prioritize the project for maintenance and waste the money fixing it year after year anymore. I personally would like to see a moratorium on new catchments until they clean up and organize what we have, maintenance is a huge financial burden on the future and we need to be efficient and precise with maintenance funding.

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