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San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge Installs Two Wells to Benefit Endemic Species on Private Land
Southwest Region, December 16, 2011
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Using money funded to the refuge from the Department of Homeland Security as part of the mitigation for the installation of tactical infrastructure along the International Border with Mexico, San Bernardino NWR has placed two wells, one on the refuge and one on private land, to supplement water on Slaughter Ranch, a privately operated National Historic Landmark adjacent to the refuge. The first well will be a shallow well used to provide habitat for the endemic San Bernardino springsnail. The springsnail is small, less than 2 mm, and occupies one site on Slaughter Ranch and three sites in Mexico. Historically this springsnail was found at eight locations on Slaughter Ranch. Until recently, the San Bernardino springsnail was on the candidate list to be provided protection through the Endangered Species Act, because of the loss of many of the populations on Slaughter Ranch and the unknown relationship of the populations in Mexico. However, a recent survey showed the springsnails in Mexico to be genetically identical. Even though the San Bernardino springsnail is no longer a candidate for federal listing, it remains a species of concern for the state of Arizona. The new well will provide water to a location previously known to have springsnails, but that had dried up in recent years, allowing refuge staff to introduce the San Bernardino springsnail back into historic habitat and limit the possibility of a single event wiping out the only known population in Arizona.

 

The second well, a deep well, will be used to supplement water into House Pond, a 100-year old impoundment on the Slaughter Ranch. House pond provides habitat to three Federally-listed species of native fish; Yaqui chub, Yaqui topminnow, and Yaqui catfish; as well as providing water and habitat to numerous other wildlife species. The need to supplement the spring and runoff fed House Pond is due to its use for irrigation of the lawn at Slaughter Ranch and several pastures used for a small number of livestock kept on the ranch. The ongoing draught in the southwest has drastically reduced the amount of groundwater available to fed springs and seeps and runoff from summer monsoons is unreliable with localized storms. This new well will allow the ranch to continue to use water from the pond for irrigation as well as ensure that there is enough water to support the fish and other wildlife that rely on the pond.

Contact Info: Christopher Lohrengel, 520-364-2104 x.106, chris_lohrengel@fws.gov



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