Your San Diego SCI helped sponsor this Thometz Field effort and is listed in article below from The Outdoor Wire. It’s a great example of how our local SCI chapter supports wildlife conservation. Jim Conrad and Robert Smith, San Diego SCI Chapter Board members have been heavily involved in this project over the last several years as has SCI life member, chapter member and current Federation President Gary F. Brennan
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To view the CBS News 8 clip on the project, CLICK HERE.
San Diego County Wildlife Federation, CDFW Dedicate Thometz Field Restoration Project
CDFW Regional Manager and Fish and Game Commissioner Peter Silva Honor the Hard Work of Numerous Sportsmen’s Groups to Revitalize Important So. Cal Wildlife Habitat
Under a sunny Southern California sky this morning, several dozen people gathered at Thometz Field in the Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area to recognize and honor years of hard work and dedication by the San Diego County Wildlife Federation and its member groups, individual sportsmen and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) field personnel. Although they had come together from different organizations and backgrounds, over the years these individuals grew to become partners with a shared goal — to restore this critical habitat and help wildlife by providing much needed food, water and cover.
While work is still continuing on the field named in honor of late Quail Forever member and local conservationist Mike Thometz, there has been much progress to celebrate. So much so, that California Fish and Game Commissioner Peter Silva and CDFW South Coast Regional Manager Ed Pert were among the dignitaries on hand to recognize both the effort and the results to date. Today, the field has a new irrigation system with four separate legs, each connected to an electric valve. Each leg is 900 feet long with 10 sprinkler heads per leg. There are four valves connected to a sprinkler timer in the well house, allowing effective irrigation for roughly nine acres without exceeding the capacity of the well pump. The system was designed for expansion to six lines in the future, which will help restore even more habitat when this phase comes online.
“The field on which we stand is proof of the great things we can achieve when conservation organizations, individual sportsmen and the state work together in a spirit of partnership,” said CDFW South Coast Regional Manager Ed Pert. “Now more than ever, it’s important that we find ways to protect and enhance natural lands such as this, for the benefit of wildlife, outdoor sportsmen and all Californians. I’d like to commend our staff, the SDCWF and all its delegates for the resources, time and hard work they put in to make this possible.”
This irrigation project is ready to provide food for wildlife by delivering much-needed water to seeds planted by CDFW. The plants will also provide cover during the breeding seasons of several species (the field will only be cut after most breeding seasons are over in late August). CDFW has also installed guzzlers in the area to further support wildlife, including a guzzler at the edge of the irrigated field. Mother Nature has done her part, as well, by providing ample rainfall over this past winter to replenish ground-water supplies.
“Our state’s increasing population and land development make the natural areas we have left more important than ever,” said California Fish and Game Commissioner Peter Silva. “This true team effort shows how state agencies and sportsmen can work together to achieve something great. I hope this success story serves as an example for others who may be inspired to take on bold projects in the future with the same level of dedication and energy.”
Getting to this point could never have happened without the financial support and manpower provided by strong, forward-thinking conservation groups and individuals alike. The San Diego County Wildlife Federation (SDCWF) applied for grants for the project and were awarded $3,500 from the San Diego County Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council, $5,000 from the San Diego Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation and $2,750 from the San Diego Chapter of Safari Club, Intl. Ed Marr, a professional landscaper and SDCWF delegate for the San Diego Sporting Dog Club, was particularly valuable to the effort by providing his time and expertise. Equally important was the heroic work of SDCWF past presidents Jim Conrad, Bob Smith and Jack Bransford in keeping the ball rolling despite challenges and an incredible array of setbacks along the way.
“Partnerships such as this between sportsmen and CDFW are vital to conservation efforts and the restoration of important wildlife habitat across California,” said SDCWF President Gary Brennan. “CDFW will likely always be challenged by budgetary and staffing constraints. At the same time, there are several wildlife organizations in San Diego County and a host of conservation-minded individuals who are happy to provide support, leadership and manpower. Projects like this are a win-win for our state and our outdoor tradition. More importantly, it’s a huge win for birds and other wildlife at a time where natural habitat is more critical than ever,” added Brennan.
For more information about the ongoing progress of restoration efforts at Thometz Field and other conservation activities in the San Diego area, contact the San Diego County Wildlife Federation at sdcwf.org.
SDCWF is a coalition of more than 20 local organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation, hunting and the training of hunting dogs, sport fishing and shooting sports. SDCWF doesn’t have individual members but has delegates from each member organization that meet monthly to discuss recent news, their organizations’ events, issues affecting the organizations, and potential and ongoing projects. SDCWF meets periodically with Region 5 and attends California Fish and Game Commission meetings as often as possible, to help provide information to its delegates and relate concerns of the sporting community to the DFW and Fish and Game Commission.
About Mike Thometz and Thometz Field:
Mike Thometz, a local conservationist and member of Quail Forever, first proposed an ambitious wildlife improvement project for this area of Hollenbeck Canyon back in 2003. He donated extensive time and much of the materials to assemble an irrigation system using an existing well on the property. Once the system was operational, DFW planted wheat and milo in the field every spring and cut the crop in August. The field was productive for several years, before a wildfire destroyed much of the equipment and infrastructure in 2007. Thometz passed in 2008 and Quail Forever created and installed a bronze plaque at the field now known by local folks as Thometz Field.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Strike Zone Communications
San Diego County Wildlife Federation