Elk NetworkNorthern California Volunteers Give Wildlife a Drink

Volunteer News | September 21, 2022

Northeastern California wildlife have been affected by drought and wildfires for years.

On July 30th, 2022, seven RMEF volunteers met in the Shasta Trinity National Forest with Harold Duchi (Siskiyou County Guzzler Rehabilitation project coordinator) and Bernie Paul (the backhoe operator) to install three essential BOSS Guzzlers in new and replacement sites that were evaluated for their benefit to elk and wildlife by a district wildlife biologist, and our Siskiyou County Fish and Game Guzzler Project Manager, Harold Duchi.

Prior to the RMEF volunteers meeting, Harold had staged all the guzzlers at each site for installation.

With the help of Paul, RMEF volunteers assisted in the guzzler installation by helping to level and grade the ground beneath the guzzler. Once the ground under the guzzler was level and smooth with the help of the backhoe, we would move the guzzler in to place. Volunteers would then do the final grading and back filling of the dirt around the guzzler.

After all the work was finished for the day, volunteers enjoyed a nice BBQ and reveled in the success.

To watch this project come together with all the hard work that happened prior to the installation was inspiring. It was over 100 degrees that day, and the original plan was to install two guzzlers, but the volunteers were energized and pushed through the heat and were motivated to get all 3 guzzlers installed.

In the days following the instillation, volunteers filled each guzzler with more than 600 gallons of water.

There are close to 238 guzzlers in the Eastern Siskiyou area, and 99% of them are on US Forest Service Lands. Duchi, who had been working to maintain the guzzlers within Siskiyou County, stepped up his work with biologists from the Goosenest, Doublehead, and McCloud Ranger Districts in 2021 to identify a list of high priority guzzler sites that needed to be repaired and those that needed to be replaced.

The Siskiyou County Fish and Game Commission applied for and received a grant from the RMEF for $22,500 to purchase and install three 1,800-gallon BOSS guzzlers in 2021. The guzzlers were purchased from BOSS guzzlers in 2021. BOSS Guzzlers are an 1,800 gallon, high-density, crosslinked-polyethylene wildlife water catchment system. It can store and collect water in freezing temperatures and weigh nearly 800 pounds. Crosslinked polyethylene is a strong, flexible, lightweight material with ultraviolet inhibitors for superior field longevity. After a review of several guzzler types, these were selected for use to benefit elk and wildlife.