FY2019 Volunteer Projects for the

Wildlife, Fish, and Rare Plant Program

Red Rock Ranger District, Coconino National Forest

Updated March, 2019

There are so many wildlife, fish, and plant projects that wonít get done without assistance from volunteers.† In order to help folks choose a project that suits their interests and time, the table below summarizes the skills needed, the amount of effort, duration of the project, and expected timeframes.† Below the table is more detail for each project.†

For folks already signed up for an effort, Iím assuming you are still interested and Iíll be in touch when the timing is right.† Just let me know if you want your name taken off a project.† Contact Janie via email or phone for questions:† 928-300-0523, 928-203-7507 or† janie.agyagos@usda.gov† and contact Janie via email to sign up for projects.† Thanks much!

 

Project

Skills Needed

Effort

Duration

Timeframe

Peregrine Nest Monitoring

G, H, T, R

M

M

4 visits btw March and July

Agave Population Inventory

G, P, H, R, T

H

M

Year-long

Temperature data loggers in Streams

G, H, R

M

M

Year-long

Four Nerve Daisy Pollinator Monitoring

G, P, H, R

M

M

Weekly from Mid-March through July

North American Bat acoustical monitoring

G, R

L

M

Set out recording units on day one, collect on day five in May and June.

Pollinator photography

P, R

L

M

During blooming season

Adopt An Exclosure

G, P, H, R

M

M

Before livestock enter pasture and during

Adopt A Drop (wildlife waters)

G, P, R

L

O

Flexible

Lehmann Lovegrass monitoring

G, P, R

L

A

Flexible

Johnson Grass eradication at Stagestop

G, W, T, R

M, P

M

Once every week or two during growing season

Yellow Bluestem eradication Boynton Pass Rd Area

G, W, R

M, P

O-M

Aug/Sept before seedheads open

Cedar Flat Tank Fence Modification

F

H, P

O-M

When itís cool and not gnatty!

Wildlife Camera monitors

H, R

L

M

Year-long

eDNA testing in waterbodies

G, H, R

M

M

One visit per locín; various locns

Roadside Weed Inventory

G,

L

M

Weed species would be targeted for mapping during various seasons.

Colonial Bird Nest Monitoring

H, R

M

O

Spring visits

Arizona Toad Surveys and Recording

H, G,

M

M

March and April

Leopard Frog Surveys Red Tank Draw

H, G

M-H

M

May through September

Gartersnake Surveys Oak Creek

H, G

H

M

June through September

Locking/Unlocking Gates for Area Closures

 

L

A

One visit to lock, one visit to unlock

Bat mist netting

 

L

M

Various locations each year

Beetle study Ė office parking lot

T

L

M

Weekly counts

Removal of un-needed range fencing

F

M-H

M

Various locations

Common Black-hawk Surveys in Fossil

H

M-H

O

In May, possibly two days

Inspect and Map House Mountain WL H20s

4, G, R

L-M

O

Whenever roads are dry

Apache Maid Meadow fence removal

F

M

O

Workday in late spring

†††††††††††††††††††††††††

Table Legend

Skills needed: G = GPS, P=photography, H=hiking over varying terrain, C=construction, F=fence repair/building, T=time, W=cutting weeds, B=botanical interest, R=follow-up reporting required, 4 = 4X4 driving

Effort:† L=low, M=moderate, H=high, P=some level of heavy physical labor

Duration: O=one time, M=multiple visits, A= once annually,

 

One Time Projects

 

Remove fences on Page Springs Road by 89A

Less than 0.5 mile of barbed wire fence needs to be taken down and removed.† This is a one day project with 3-6 or so volunteers.†

 

Remove fences near old Apache Maid Ranch House

An undetermined amount of old fencing needs to be removed, particularly around the meadow where pronghorn are frequently sighted.† A pre-visit to gps downed fences would be helpful in determining amount of work required.†

 

Cedar Flat Tank fence rebuild

FOF volunteers GPSed range pasture fences up on Cedar Flat a while ago.† One apparent need is to rebuild the fencing around the Cedar Flat waterlot so that it is permeable to pronghorn.† Thereís a spaghetti network of fencing in this waterlot that serves multiple pastures.† The first effort would be to gps all the fences in the immediate area and note number of strands, and exact heights of each strand.† Range and wildlife staff would then have an idea on whether a total rebuild is needed or if we can just modify the existing fences.† The work then can be completed in phases over various work events.†

Black-hawk survey in Fossil in May††††††

I would like to gather enough volunteers to look for common black-hawk pairs and nest in Fossil in May.† We could turn this in to a several day event and camp down at Homestead.† We would divvy up the creek into manageable sections.† The goal is to hike assigned sections watching for black-hawks and then once seeing them, watch for them to carry food back to a nest.† This project will be possible with lots of volunteers.†

Apache Maid Meadow fence removal

Remove unneeded fence from a meadow south of Apache Maid where pronghorn are frequently sighted.† The downed fence is old and poses an entanglement hazard for wildlife.†

 

Projects Requiring Multiple Visits

Continue peregrine falcon monitoring with volunteers

Monitoring for falcons begin as early as March and goes through June/July.† Four visits are recommended either at first light or before dusk.† I have a scope and tripod and binos that can be checked out for the surveys.† This is a continuation of years of volunteer-led peregrine monitoring.† I will provide training and maps for the various sites.† Volunteers who want to keep their previous sites, great!† If not, I can reassign and I have a few new sites.†

 

Treat Johnson grass in Dry Beaver Creek riparian

Johnson grass is a highly invasive non-native that began appearing along the wetter roadsides.† It has now spread into riparian areas and is devastating the plant diversity in places.† This project involves repeat chopping of Johnson grass stand in the Stagestop riparian area along Dry Beaver Creek.† Pete Malmgren has been tackling this effort once every other week or so.† We want to continue so that what few seedling and sapling trees donít get chocked out.† This would involve up to 5 entries during the growing season (March - October).† Any seed heads are bagged and then solarized before disposing. The rest of the material is left on site.†

 

Treat newly introduced yellow bluestem grass

This project involves cutting the seed heads off of this newly arrived non-native grass out in the Boynton Pass area.† This would augment and catch plants surviving an upcoming herbicide treatment.† Seed heads are bagged and then solarized before disposing.†

 

Photograph and GPS Aquatic Organism Passages (AOPs)

This project involves GPSing and photographing all the AOPs (bridges, culverts, low water crossings, natural waterfalls, etc) that impede passage of aquatic organisms from upstream to downstream.† We can break this effort up by streams to make it more manageable.† FS would provide a list of known AOPs to document.

Folks I know are interested are Jack Evans

 

Spring Creek fish barrier gabion installation

Flood flows over the Spring Creek fish barrier are eating away a soft bank, contributing to sedimentation (and poor water quality) to Oak Creek, which is an Arizona Outstanding Water.† The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) is funding some AZCC/ACE labor and materials for installing gabion baskets just below the fish barrier..† Matt OíNeill (our new Forest Fish Biologist) and I are looking for good construction/engineering expertise to help Matt with the basket installation.† ACE/AZCC crew will be the labor for filling gabions with 5-8Ē river rock and Backcountry Horsemen will be packing in the rock.† BOR will meet ahead of time to go over engineering specifications.†

 

Arizona Toad Monitoring

In March and April, conduct 3-6 repeat surveys along riparian areas to listen for AZ toads calling after dark.† Some of these areas may be accessible by vehicle; others require hiking next to the stream.† Toads can be heard up to 500 meters away, so itís not necessary to walk right along the stream.† An example would be to hike the Bell Trail listening for toads calling from Wet Beaver Creek or to drive to each of the rec sites in middle Fossil and just listen from near the vehicle. Volunteers to help set out and then retrieve three recording units in remote riparian areas.††

 

Lowland Leopard Frog Monitoring in Red Tank Draw

Surveys involve walking along the waterís edge looking for frog egg masses, tadpoles, and frogs that jump into the water.† Crossing of the creek is required but getting wet can likely be avoided.†† Surveys generally are 6 hours and can occur anytime between April and September.†

 

Narrow-headed Gartersnake Monitoring

Interested folks join NAUís monitoring crew walking in and along Oak Creek (very slippery!) looking for gartersnakes and grabbing them.† If you are afraid of grabbing a snake, this job is not for you!† Very intense work due to the slippery substrate in Oak Creek.† Erikaís crews also set out minnow traps and check those. †Days are long.†

 

Bat Mist Netting

I occasionally need help with setting up mist nets and recording data once bats are processed.† No handling of bats is allowed unless folks have a current pre-exposure rabies vaccination.††

 

Roadside Weed Inventory

Need a 3 person crew; one to drive, one to GPS, and one to take notes.† Crew would drive highways and main roads documenting target species.† One plant species will be monitored at a time and plant identification training will be given.† Crews will work from vehicle (for safety sake, no stopping or walking along right-of-ways).† Some species are visible in summer, some in fall, and others in winter.† Surveys occur when species are most visible.†

 

Beetle Study

The lights in our parking lots attract many beetles which then fly around until they die of exhaustion.† I would like to trade out the bulbs from white to a lower spectrum yellow (which is proven to be less attractive to inverts).† But first, I would like to do a weekly count on the number of beetles killed during one season (spring, summer, early fall) before changing out the bulbs.† This count would only be conducted in the employee parking area (not the visitor or the warehouse parking).†† I would then like to repeat after new bulbs to determine if thereís a difference.† If thereís a significant difference, we would invest in changing out bulbs in all our parking areas and publish the results.†

 

Landsnail Surveys

We have a rare species of landsnail (Oak Creek talus snail) and likely other species.† When we get moisture and itís not freezing, Iíd like to conduct some searches for land snails.† This involves looking under rocks.†

 

Projects that Occur Annually

Mesquite bosque restoration experiment

In order to more effectively restore historic mesquite bosques, we will choose three large and similar mesquite trees in the Cornville bosque.† Weíll conduct an inventory of all plant species under these three mesquites this spring and summer to capture baseline.† Next winter/spring, weíll remove the non-natives from under the three trees and broadcast native seed under one, plant seed balls under a second, and leave the third as a control.† Weíll then check for which species become established.† Weíll use the results to drive how to continue with bosque restoration efforts.† So, a botany-minded volunteer is needed.†

 

Monitor Lehmannís lovegrass in Bill Gray grasslands

Lehmannís lovegrass is a non-native grass that is quickly spreading across the district.† It has been advised to choose the demarcation where Lehmannís is approaching out in the Bill Gray area, mark with a repeatable point (rebar, t-post, landmark) and photo document every 2-5 years.

 

North American Bat acoustical monitoring

A volunteer is needed to deploy two bat acoustical recorders in one or more geographical locations on the district for a four night period during the summer.† This nation-wide effort is to obtain a good baseline of information on bat activity levels and species richness in areas that are otherwise unsurvey-able across the U.S.

 

Continue Adopt-an-Exclosure program and exclosure maintenance

This involves checking fencelines and the area within the exclosure for breaches to livestock, vehicles, etc.† Each exclosure has a different purpose so site-specific details will be supplied.† Volunteers who want to keep their ďadoptedĒ sites, great!† If not, I can reassign and I have a few new sites.†

Exclosures that need an overseer: Jackís Canyon behind station, Verde/Wingfield Mesa, West Clear Winter Pasture (a bit of a hike) and Walker Creek above Roco Ranch.†

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

Adopt A Drop

Volunteers would adopt a wildlife trick tank to check on and report maintenance needs.†

 

Wildlife Camera Data Management

Two cameras have been installed at the troughs at two wildlife waters.† We already have volunteers managing these cameras but may need additional help if we obtain more cameras.†

 

Colonial Bird Nest Monitoring

AZGFD needs good birders to help find rookeries of colonial nesting birds and monitor once a year in the spring.† This is done following AZ Game and Fishís methodology and using their data form.† Known sites needing coverage: Cave Springs, Oak Creek by Windmill Park, Rimrock near golf course, Bates Rd Cottonwood, Verde River @ Mingus bridge.

 

Locking/Unlocking Area Closure Gates

The Ladderís Bald Eagle Closure gate on FR500 is locked on Dec 1 and opened June 30 (unless nest fails and closure is opened early).† A few gates along Stoneman Lake Road are locked on Aug 15 and opened on December 31.†

 

 

Projects Requiring Many Visits

Four nerve daisy blooming period monitoring

A rare daisy, only found on four hilltops in Camp Verde was recently petitioned for listing.† The Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service are doing various things to protect this plant.† One thing we are doing is collecting some seed for off-site propagation.† So little is known about this plant including when it blooms.† We need a volunteer to visit one of the populations weekly to watch for blooming, which we think is in March/April and is in response to rain.† Bloom checks would start in February and continue through June.† Itís about a mile hike down a hill, across a wash, and back up another hill, from FR618 down by Hwy 260.†

 

Mapping and photo documentation of domesticate agaves

In the central and southern portions of the Verde Valley, all agaves are one of four rare domesticate species that were tended and propagated by indigenous people.†† These agaves are important both biologically (they are all sensitive species) and culturally (they are often associated with ruins).†† Now that there is no longer any tending of the plants, the populations are starting to decline.† We would like to map and photograph (for identification to species) the various agave populations.† We can break up the Verde Valley into manageable pieces so there is no accidental overlap by volunteers.† Folks can go out at their own convenience, any time of the year.†

 

Dowloading data from temp loggers in various streams

This involves downloading data from that temperature data logger (installed in streams) once per month.  FS will train vols on how to download data.  We donít yet have these loggers installed, but will soon. 

 

 

Projects That Can Be Worked On Anytime

Photographing pollinators

Hereís a simple project that anyone can informally help with.† I am looking to document pollinators on plants. If folks can get a very clear and up close photo of a pollinator (remember it can be flies, beetles, bugs, spiders, native bees, wasps, etc), then Iíd also like a few photos of the plant so we can identify the plant.† The photos would emailed to me.† The pollinators and the plants will be identified and added to a database to track pollinators (which are declining and may be why some plants are not doing so well).† If a volunteer wants a specific location to go to, I can assign that as well.†† Itís important that the photographs be of great quality for identification purposes. I can provide training on pollinators for those interested.†

 

Upcoming Projects Not Yet Scheduled

eDNA testing

This involves pumping a couple of liters of water through a pump and filter to obtain aquatic speciesí DNA from various streams.  The filter is removed and sent off for DNA testing for rare fish and gartersnake species.  This is new technology and is a non-invasive way to inventory for species presence.