Connor Catchment Project • Honoring Michael Bool – April 23-24, 2011
Last September John Dickson, then Wildlife Manager of unit 22 submitted project number 10-606. That project was named Connor Catchment and had cost figures of $48,701.00. The description of need and the potential cooperators and funding sources along with the location came to the attention of the Arizona Deer Association. While attending the Payson Natural Resources quarterly meeting I had a chance to discuss the project with John Dickson and I felt that it would be a great project for the Arizona Deer Association to work with as well as to provide labor for. In December all the deer projects requests were released online and the Habitat Committee from the Arizona Deer Association met over the holidays to review the submissions. The Connor Catchment was a very viable project to fund but it also represented an opportunity for our members to join in on an on-hands basis. We agreed to fund the project and at the HPC meetings, Connor Catchment was indeed funded. The Arizona Deer Association had been looking for a project that would honor Michael Bool, who had passed away a couple of years ago in a tragic accident. The project was perfect for that memorial and we were granted the ability to place a brass memorial plaque at the walk in drinker honoring Michael.
The original time frame for the Connor Catchment to be worked on was in March, but it conflicted with the Arizona Game & Fish Departments Expo. We requested that the day for construction be shifted and the Department agreed and moved the construction to the only week-end that was available….. Easter week-end. During the preceding months, John Dickson had been promoted down to the valley to work out of the Region 6 offices. His replacement, Jarrod McFarlin had taken over as the Wildlife Manager for unit 22 south, and he was the coordinator for the project. Without a doubt, working with Jarrod is always a treat. He is passionate about what he does and is as accommodating as anyone I know to help in the process.
Thursday and Friday the Development team headed by Ed Jahrke dug out the hole for the tanks and started placing some of the fencing that would surround the catchment in place. By Saturday morning when all the volunteers arrived we were able to begin assembling the tanks while others finished placing cement in perfectly aligned holes for the fences. The assembly took place at a very rapid rate and many of the volunteers had worked on other catchments, so instruction and down time was held to a minimum. By the time a well deserved dinner was ready, the complete overlay was in place, the tanks had been sealed together and the pipes leading to the walk in trough had been laid. The trough was placed about ten yards down from the drain pipes and we cemented in the trough with stones and cement. At the head of the drinker we placed the memorial plaque to Michael and cemented it in place as well. We gave the Bool family an opportunity to be part of the project ands we were grateful that they were all there for the final setting of the plaque.
Dinner on Saturday night was a gourmet delight. Scott Streich who had doubled as an expert welder had left the work site about 2 hours before quitting time to prepare a feast for all the hungry workers. Gathering around the dinner table provided a few hours of liquid refreshments and plenty of time to go over the day’s activities. After dinner, many of the workers had to head back to the valley for the Easter Sunday with family. Those that remained were able to head out to the site early and witness all the corrugated steel being placed on the overlay to the catchment. The accompanying photos tell the story of all the hard work and how a dedicated work force can accomplish a tremendous project in a limited amount of time. Now deer and elk can utilize the waters that had been sorely needed. The catchment is not too far from either Payson or Rye, but still a significant distance from the road and nestled nicely in one of the remote draws away from the main traffic areas. Congratulations to all who participated and we will be looking for another such project next year. It should be listed on the web-site by next spring, so hopefully we can have more volunteers for more projects. Thanks to the MSA, the AES, The Coconino Sportsmen as well as the ADA volunteers who all helped make this a great project.