BLM Honors DWU

BLM presents award to Lesicka, DWU

About 475 people were present in Brawley, Calif. to see State Director Mike Pool honor Leon Lesicka and Desert Wildlife Unlimited for their many long-term contributions to the California Desert. Leon and his wife LaValle were presented a bronze buffalo, the symbol of the U.S. Department of the Interior (BLM’s parent agency) and a commemorative framed poster celebrating the 40th anniversary of the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) in honor of the occasion.

Pool noted that DWU is “very deserving of this recognition” because for years they have been virtually the only entity in the southern part of the CDCA that builds and maintains wildlife drinkers or guzzlers. These low-impact, low visibility structures have been found to be essential to maintaining or upgrading populations of desert bighorn sheep and desert mule deer, he said.

Research and land use plans from both the California Department of Fish and Game and BLM have found that artificial waters are essential because human alteration of desert and Colorado River habitats have restricted nearly all these animals to confined areas and cut them off from former natural water sources.

DWU members monitor herd numbers and health, construct and maintain dozens of artificial waters (very sophisticated in design and location), and take weather data over millions of acres. DWU’s membership numbers in the hundreds and the group raises significant funds and contributes substantial labor to assist the agencies in desert wildlife enhancements.

See more photos and information in this January, 2007 News.bytes Spotlight on Partners.