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New Guzzler - Creosote

We did it again!  In January 2019, SCBS and the Marine Corps cooperated to construct the 9th water development within 29 Palms Marine Corp Ground Combat Center.  This is the 7th Raincatcher style system within in the base.  The Raincatcher system has been designed entirely by SCBS to maximize collection efficiency and minimize maintenance.  We hired Diversified Equipment to dig the hole for the 2 tanks saving our backs and allowing our volunteers to concentrate on laying the rainmat and fitting the plumbing.  Many thanks for Rodger Lopez and his son Steven for cooking for the entire crew.  Red got stuck in the sand trying to haul a full load of the rainmats, all the tools, and the tank trailer.  Joe Priess and John Nelson came to the rescue and took over the tank trailer relieving Big Red of that burden.  Otherwise the project was completed without a hitch.  George Sutton, John Maney and Kathleen Daugherty headed up the satellite monitor installation crew so that we can monitor the rainfall and water levels remotely.  Overall we had 56 volunteers from SCBS, WSF, and a local Boy Scout troop plus nearly the entire crew of the Natural Resources department (led by Major Tran) from the base including several conservation law enforcement officers.  They used their military duty “razor” UTV to move the rainmats from Big Red up the embankment for us.  500 pounds on the tailgate – no problem!

Read more …New Guzzler - Creosote

Rainbow Project - Explosive Excavation?

In preparation for our next project, Marine Corps Air Ground CombatExplosives Center EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) personnel have ‘prepared’ the site for our excavation.  It was not deemed safe to allow volunteers to dig with pick and shovel in an area that has seen training activity.  Buried devices could pose a risk if struck with tools.  Also, the EOD group needs to have some training activities to maintain their readiness.  Hence Brent Husung from 29 Palms NREA (Natural Resources, Environmental and Archeology), arranged with the EOD group to conduct a training event and ‘soften’ the group for our project.  Brent Husung has been a great advocate for desert bighorn sheep and it has been a pleasure to work with him for the last 13 years.  Check out this hotlink to the base newspaper, they had a front page article in the printed version.

Here is a quote from the EOD guys: (bold emphasis mine)

“The training allowed us to observe the way the ground moved in the area,” said Sgt. Robert Bouchard, EOD technician, EOD. “Thanks to this, we know that the ground in the area is soft for a few feet then we hit almost solid rock. We are going back out there with more explosives so we can finish the task and prepare the area for heavy equipment to dig out to the depth they need.”Kaboom

A few feet is all we need!  Come on out and help us construct this project – Nov 20-22.  See upcoming event calendar for more details.

[images courtesy of Marine Corps]

Weavernoy Repair

Piece by Piece, Weavernoy is Back in Business

Last year’s summer monsoons really gave our drinkersWeavernoy Missing Pipe a beating (too much of a good thing)  and Weavernoy was hit hard enough to dislodge 20 + feet of intake pipe from the collection dam and scatter it down the wash like a package of pick-up stix.  April 25, 2015 found our volunteers hiking into the Granite Mountains to repair the damage to this big game guzzler.  Notably, this part of the desert has history written all over the landscape – this is Patton Country, where the exact route to this guzzler is puzzling because of all the historic tank tracks left over from George S. Patton’s 1942 training of troops in the California-Arizona Maneuver Area.  This spring was discovered and named around 1969-1970 by Richard “Dick” Weaver and Floyd Vernoy, hence the name “Weavernoy”. The big game guzzler was built Draining sandsubsequently in April 1974.

We were thankful for cooler temperatures than expected as we hiked into the canyon, carrying tools and plumbing supplies. Part of the crew spent a good chunk of time trying to remove dirt that had flowed into the pipes. The dirt was packed in, and the pipes were lengthy. In the end our best solution was patience, gravity, and agitation while several hands manipulated the pipe. Meanwhile, each length of pipe that had been liberated was threaded back into it’s original location. Fortunately, everything went back into place without the need for patch work.  The check dam was dug out and the Johnson screen was in good shape. The day’s Rotor Rooter - manual stylesuccess allowed a dividend of time to be spent preparing the site for future improvements.  Honest and selfless work brings out the best in all of us – SCBS member Dave Smith felt inspired, he wrote the foregoing poem right there in the canyon amidst the clanking of galvanized pipes and sounds of shovels striking sand.

The team: Tom Barton, Mike Morgan, John Roy, Steve Marschke, Debbie Miller Marschke, Dave Smith, Glenn Sudmeier, Gary Thomas, Zach Thomas, Bill Tuck, Adam Murschal, John Voght, Darryl Williams, Joe Preiss, Jerry Mulcahy, and Ross Garret.  Linda Roy maintained a presence at Base Camp. Encore performance by Gary Thomas, who cooked meals for us – Thanks!   - D.M.


p.s. Joe and Steve used some of the plumbing supplies (and ancient band experience) to form a makeshift band.  Goodbye brass - hello rubber!  One tuba and one didgeridoo.Brass Band?

Faydee Repair Project

Fay Dee guzzler in the Orocopia mountains repairCustom Cart was tough. The team winched over 3000 pounds of materials and tools using a custom 4ft x 6ft cart. Over 2 weekends for a total of 5 days, the team moved material up 350 yards at a 50 degree angle slope using 1200 feet of rope. All this effort resulted in replacing a 70ft x 60ft rain mat, plumbing, 2000 gal water tank with a 2500 gal water tank at a total cost of $7000.00 and 65 volunteer man days to accomplish the complete project. We were blessed with rain the day after the project completion resulting in a 600 gal water collection. Always great to validate that all this hard work has the positive result we are planning for. 
Thank you to all the volunteers that came out to complete project and to Tammy for cooking for those that stayed with us at our home.

(FayDee Crew) I apologize if I misspelled anyRolling a New Tank of the names: Terry Anderson, Rob Yates, Ron Yates, Steve William, Terry Thomas, Rich Saxfield, George Sutton, Clint Humphreville, Luke Humphreville, Tom Humphreville, Tim Humphreville
Clay Gilbert, Marty Scottsdale, John Maney, John Maney, Steve Hart, Travis Spidle, Andrew Pontious, Nino Vanillo, Zack Mullins

Editor’s postscript to FayDee story– According to Glenn Sudmeier, FayDee BGG was built February 1983. It was named by Department of Fish and Game Habitat Crew Leader Lester Coombes, and he decided to favor the BLM Biologist that approved the site and memorialize it in her name Faye J. Davis ~ F A YE J. DAVIS = the name “FayDee”. Terry Anderson told me that, Finished Rainmatdespite the many days he spent working at the guzzler site, he turned right around and went back after the rain stopped. “I just HAD TO go look…”  

OMYA Work Project

New Water Development at OMYA Mine, Part 2

 On December 6, 2012 SCBS volunteers graded dirt and installed the first segment of a Hypalon rainmat.  The tanks had been installed and partially buried in September.  This is the first field installation of the new custom designed SCBS Rain Catcher tanks.  Jeff Crouse and Jenny Hinojosa had been hauling water during the summer months as the nearby Brown Tank development had only one tank and runs dry frequently.  This system gets considerable use by bighorn as it is one of only two reliable water sources in the South Bristol Mountains.  On Friday, we finished burying the tanks and graded for the rainmat.  Very coarse grading had already been done by the mine operators but with their giant skip loader they did not have the necessary finesse and left a big task for SCBS volunteers.  Due to the elevation of the tanks and the surrounding area, much fill was required to bring the rainmat surface to the proper grade.  Neil Ringlee generously donated the use of his Yanmar tractor and the several others of the crew were busy with hand tools.

 The remaining half dozen volunteers were occupied with filling the DFW 1-ton stakebed truck with calcium carbonate fines from the lower elevation of the mine and hauling it up to the work site.  Each trip the truck bed was ringed with filled sandbags.  Much shoveling and raking ensued. 

We finished for the day and Bob Burke cooked his specialty, “Low Country Boil.”  If you haven’t had this you are really missing out.  Bob spent many years in Georgia perfecting his recipe and it’s actually quite interesting to see him throw everything into the pot in order so that everything is done at the same time.  Potatoes, carrots, corn on the cob, sausage, shrimp, special spices, beer broth and probably some other items that I missed were included.  When it’s ready he pours it out on a table lined with butcher paper and everybody digs in.

Breakfast was no frills stick-to-your-ribs biscuits and gravy by Gary Thomas and was gobbled up quickly.  We quickly moved back up the hill to the work site and resumed with the grading, raking and sandbag filling.  Approximately 8 truckloads of fine material were used, all loaded by hand.  At the end of the second day, the rainmat surface had been completely graded, lined with sandbags (nearly 250!) and the first segment (30x50 feet) of the rainmat was installed and weighted down with rocks.  I think it is safe to say that everyone was used up by the end of the day.  We will return again in the future with more Hypalon to finish the project. We will need your strong backs to move rocks when the time comes so be looking out for the work project annoucement.


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