Fences as Barriers to Desert Mule Deer Along Canals in Central Arizona

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Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Issues and Technology in the Management of Impacted Wildlife


O. Thorne


Thorne Ecological Institute

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Water associated with the Central Arizona Project (CAP) and its delivery systems attract wildlife. Crossing structures, alternate water sources, and fences have been built to reduce wildlife mortality associated with canals. Their effectiveness, however, has not been evaluated. I assessed the effectiveness of a woven wire and an electric fence located on the CAP and Tonopah Canals, respectively. The purpose of these fences was to prevent desert mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus crooki) from entering canals. I established track plots to quantify differences in deer use between areas separated by the canals. I used line intercept transects to examine differences in the vegetation between the north and south sides of the CAP. Both types of fences were effective in keeping deer out of the canal. The north side of the CAP had more deer use and more ground cover than the south side. If future offshoot canals are small, they may be left unfenced, if follow-up studies reveal no significant wildlife mortality.


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