Canal Lining Causes Imperial Deer Deaths

The concrete lining on parts of the Coachella Canal along the foothills of the Chocolate Mountains near Niland in Imperial County, along with hot and dry weather, has led to the death of at least six burro deer in the last three weeks, according to Steve Rebik, Imperial County fish and game commissioner. Five other burro deer are also feared dead.

The burro deer, a subspecies of the mule deer, are drawn by thirst to the canal and some fall in. The deer try to climb out but are unable to get a foothold on the concrete and die of exhaustion.

Burro deer can be found only in one small section of California, and the yearly take during hunting season is only about 20.

Fish and Game Department officials are moving watering troughs into the area in an effort to keep the deer away from the canal.


Flooding on the Colorado River over the last two years has greatly benefited the area’s fisheries, according to Jim Burton, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s habitat evaluation coordinator.

Nutrients carried by flood waters have enriched both Lake Havasu and the Colorado River below Parker Dam. “Our department expects a significant increase in fish productivity,” Burton said. “Fish will be be healthier and fatter and more will survive to be caught.”

The southern sea otter has received permanent protection from certain gill and trammel nets in parts of Northern California with the recent signing of Senate Bill 89 by Gov. George Deukmejian.

The law replaces a temporary emergency closure adopted by the Department of Fish and Game January 27. Under the new law, gill nets and trammel nets with mesh sizes larger than 3 1/2 inches in length cannot be used in waters 15 fathoms or shallower.


DFG estimates placed the number of the federally protected otters accidentally killed by nets at 80 a year over the last two years, a significant factor contributing to the lack of population growth among otters in California waters during the last 10 years, according to the DFG.

Hunters planning to take part in the 1985 buffalo hunt at Arizona’s House Rock Ranch are warned that a large portion of House Rock is now within the 40,600-acre Saddle Mountain Wilderness Area created by federal legislation last year.

Because federal rules prohibit the use of motor vehicles or motorized equipment of any kind, hunters may have to consider the use of horses or mules to pack out their buffalo meat, heads and hides.

Briefly Public recommendations for changes in hunting regulations for upland game birds, crows and waterfowl will be received by the state Fish and Game Commission at its meeting June 28 in South Lake Tahoe. . . . Duck stamps for 1985-86 and 1986-87 will go on sale July 1 in post offices and other locations across the country. . . . A slide show on fly fishing opportunities in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains will highlight the San Gabriel Valley Fly Fishers’ monthly meeting June 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Center. There will be no charge and all interested persons are welcome. . . . California Congressman George Miller has been named man of the year by the board of directors of Recreational Boaters of California for his support of the boating community for the last six years. . . . High performance Surf Sailing: The Sailboard International Surf Cup began Thursday and will continue through June 16 at Jalama State beach just north of Santa Barbara. . . . The annual directory of RV parks and campgrounds is now available at any California Travel Parks Assn. member park. . . . Don Bullock’s Anaheim Gun show will be held June 15-16 at Anaheim Convention Center, featuring commemorative weapons of all sorts. . . . The national spearfishing tournament will be held Aug. 17 at Santa Catalina Island.