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Birds, Wildlife and Gardening

Pronghorn Appreciate Fencing Project At Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

American Conservation Experience of Flagstaff provided a 6 person Americorps crew for 12 days in March and April 2021 to replace and retrofit 4.5 miles of boundary fence on the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The fence keeps cattle and illegal access out of the fragile sinkholes and spring habitat on the northwest side of the refuge. Much of the old 5-strand fence was constructed with deteriorated wooden fence posts and braces from the 1950s and was vulnerable to fire. The crew took down and rolled up the old wire, installed steel t-posts, and put up new barbed and pronghorn-friendly smooth wire. Refuge personnel removed the old wooden posts and installed additional t-posts, and a contractor installed new steel braces. Unlike the old 5-strand fence, this new 4-strand fence is wildlife compatible and allows pronghorn to pass under it. Two days after a new section was completed, pronghorn were spotted on the refuge in this section! This tremendous task would not have been possible without the joint collaboration of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, American Conservation Experience, and Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

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