Volunteers redevelop wildlife water source in Picacho Mountains - Tucson News Now

Volunteers redevelop wildlife water source in Picacho Mountains

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Volunteers finished the bulk of work for a new water catchment in the Picacho Mountains Saturday.

At least 65 volunteers with the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, including some teens who traveled from the Midwest, helped renovate the aging reservoir.

The original catchment was built in 1966, followed by a restoration in the 1970s.

Volunteers installed a new fiberglass tank and laid the foundation for an apron structure that will guide rainwater into a drinker.

"There have been a lot of changes to the desert since humans really started being here in higher numbers. We changed the courses of water systems and in the current drought, these waters are really important to the wildlife," said Arizona Game and Fish Wildlife Manager Diane Tilton.

The source will provide water for all walks of wildlife in a portion of the Picacho range -- from javalinas and deer to mountain lions and some Bighorn sheep, which have recently been sighted in the Picachos. Arizona Game and Fish said there have been sightings as recent as April 2013 in the Picacho State Park.

"It's a little bit small to hold a population but they definitely can move through here," Tilton said.

The Desert Bighorn Sheep Society participates in redevelopment projects not only on behalf of Bighorns, but for a diverse group of wildlife in the Sonora Desert.

"Like right now we're going 60, 70 days without water and these animals out here, not just the sheep but the deer, the javalina, the birds, quail, you pick anything there is out there," said Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society Past President Chad Jones.

As with all Arizona Game and Fish projects, the new water catchment is funded by hunting license sales. Crews will resume construction on Sunday.

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