The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are offering an opportunity at Woods Canyon Lake for the public to learn about nesting bald eagles and osprey, and help these majestic raptors at the same time through a lake cleanup.
Wildlife biologists are asking any interested volunteers to meet them at the lake on Saturday, June 6, to assist in removing shoreline garbage and monofilament fishing line that can end up in nests and fatally entangle chicks and adults.
“This is a great opportunity for people to get outside and do something worthwhile for wildlife, while enjoying one of the most scenic areas in Arizona. As an added bonus, June 6 is National Free Fishing Day, so volunteers can bring their angling gear along and pursue some trout after the cleanup project,” says Dan Groebner, non-game biologist in the department’s Pinetop regional office.
The cleanup will begin at 9 a.m. at the Woods Canyon Lake store. Participants will be provided garbage bags and areas of shoreline to cover.
Volunteers should bring water and sunscreen. As an added feature, biologists will also present a bald eagle and osprey natural history program starting at 1 p.m. at the Woods Canyon Lake amphitheater.
The lake is situated atop the Mogollon Rim in central Arizona, about 30 miles east of Payson on Highway 260.
“People should bring binoculars and a camera as there will likely be opportunities to view osprey and eagles, as well as other native wildlife,” says Groebner.
“We will not approach any nests, as this is a very sensitive season for the birds, but sometimes they show off their excellent fishing skills in front of frustrated anglers.”
Funding for this program is made available through the department’s Heritage Fund.
Started in 1990, the Heritage Fund was established by Arizona voters to further conservation efforts in the state.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department uses Heritage Fund dollars to manage more than 800 native wildlife species, including threatened and endangered species; to help urban residents coexist with wildlife; to educate children and the public about the environment and wildlife conservation; and, to create new opportunities for outdoor recreation like wildlife viewing.
The Heritage Fund provides critical funding to the department and benefits communities statewide.
For more information on the cleanup, contact Groebner at the Pinetop office, (928) 367-4281.