Only 10 miles south of Sedona, the employees at Bubbling Ponds Native Fish Research Facility are doing all they can to support the conservation of Arizona’s native fish — fragile populations of suckers, chubs, minnows and daces.
The research facility includes a wildlife viewing and educational facility located on the grounds of the Page Springs Fish Hatchery, a 100-acre facility that raises both native and sport fish for Arizona’s rivers and lakes. Included on the grounds are the recently renovated 1.8-mile Black Hawk Nature Trail, a large ramada, two wildlife-viewing decks, an outdoor educational area and improved signage and seating.
The many upgrades evident on the grounds are thanks to a four-year partnership between the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Northern Arizona Audubon Society to create a nature preserve.
“The preserve project is a wonderful example of a public-private partnership,” stated a press release from Northern Arizona Audubon Society. “Arizona Game and Fish provided the land and its very helpful staff who supported the project from its inception. The $45,000 cost of this project was funded entirely by Northern Arizona Audubon thanks to donations from its members.
According to Northern Arizona Audubon Society representative Brent Bitz, members of Audubon assisted in the design, project management and construction of many of the improvements — all of which offer “great opportunities for the public to view and learn about wildlife.”
“We’ve seen local Boy Scout troops and schools using it,” Bitz said of the trail and the outdoor educational areas. “I was out there a couple weeks ago and ran into researchers from Arizona State University .... We’re really trying to improve the conservation of these resources.”
Bitz added that he and his peers have worked hard to create partnerships with city and state organizations, as well as other nonprofits, to fill in some of the gaps in funding. Bubbling Ponds, he said, is an example of how private enterprise can promote conservation efforts that may not receive the support necessary to make them a reality.
“We recognize that government organizations are strapped for cash and the public can really contribute,” Bitz said.
|What: The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Northern Arizona Audubon Society’s dedication of the Bubbling Ponds nature preserve.
Where: 1950 N Page Springs Road Cornville, AZ 86325; at the Anita MacFarlane Ramada, located adjacent to the Bubbling Ponds native fish ponds on the west side of the Page Springs Fish Hatchery grounds
When: Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m.