News Release

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge Gets Streaming Video

February 9, 2007

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Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, northeast of Yuma, will soon be installing a new streaming video system in order to capture images of wildlife in their natural habitat. The system is viewed as a way to "bring the refuge to the people." It will focus on a specific watering hole known as Adams Well that is frequented by wildlife such as bighorn sheep, grey fox, mountain lions, mule deer and red tailed hawks. The ultimate goal is to provide the public with a surreptitious view of one of the most frequently visited wells by wildlife in the area via the Internet.

The refuge has established a formal partnership with a local amateur radio group called Yuma Auxiliary Communication Service (YACS). Under formal agreement, the group will be responsible for designing and installing the system. The YACS will also be in charge of maintenance on the system once it is operational. "Without their knowledge and expertise, the project would have been exceedingly more expensive to complete and its a great opportunity to partner in the local community," said Paul Cornes, Refuge Manager. "YACS and their membership are very excited about the project and see it as a very unique and challenging opportunity for their organization."

To test the system, a laptop computer will be connected via satellite to a demo camera temporarily located on top of Telegraph Pass in the Gila Mountains adjacent toYuma. The camera will provide a view of Dome Valley, the Gila Mountains and the Yuma skyline. The camera will replace an existing research camera already located on the refuge at Adams Well once the lambing season for bighorn sheep ends in April. The public will eventually be able to view video through the refuges website. They will be able to observe pre-recorded events as well as live feed.

The first test of the system will occur during the Third Annual Yuma Ham Expo that is being held February 16-18, 2007. The refuge will demonstrate the system as part of refuges outreach effort through the entire event. In addition, Refuge Manager Cornes and Adminsitrative Technician, Debbie Pike and YACS representatives will conduct an hour-long seminar on the project at 3:15 PM in the comers building on Saturday, Feb.17. This demonstration will allow participants to view and experience the system for themselves. The Expo will be held at the Yuma County Fairgrounds, 2520 East 32 St, Yuma, Arizona.

It is hoped that one day the refuge will have more cameras set up at different high interest spots, bringing the refuge and its wildlife to those who may never get a chance to see it for themselves. As the project expands, the YACS will continue to be an important partner in this project. "Working together on projects of mutual interest help to better connect the refuge to the surrounding community and those we serve," said Cornes. "It is also my hope that this partnership would be a model for other refuges where similar systems are being considered. As per the current agreement, the system has been established for about one-fifth of the cost of a similar commercial system. Getting the job done while saving money means we have to be creative."

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge encompasses 665,400 acres of pristine desert that is home to the desert bighorn sheep and the California palm, the only native palm in Arizona.Two mountain ranges dominate the landscape--the Kofa Mountains and the Castle Dome Mountains. Although these ranges are not especially high, they are extremely rugged and rise sharply from the surrounding desert plains, providing ideal bighorn sheep country.

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