English Valley Solar Well and Water Distribution System
In southwestern Saguache County about 6 miles northwest of Del Norte, Colorado. The project is located on public lands managed by Rio Grande National Forest.
Managing HPP Committee
San Luis Valley
To provide water in an area devoid of reliable water sources and to improve the ability of wildlife to utilize the area year around. Due to numerous complaints from the agricultural sector located east of this area, this was an effort to provide habitat that would hold the antelope on public lands and reduce damage and complaints.
The goal was to provide a reliable source of water. A solar well was successfully drilled and provided ample water for the needs to be addressed. Since there is no permittee for this area (a heavy wintering area for deer, antelope and elk) coming up with the funds was problematic as the Forest Service did not have adequate funds available to allow for the work. In the end, the Mule Deer Foundation, HPP State Council grant, San Luis Valley HPP, NRCS, personal donations of labor and cash, and U.S. Forest Service worked together to make the project possible.
The system is composed of one solar well, 5 tire tanks, one storage tank and 16,678 feet of pipeline. Project cost was just over $71,000.00. Since the installation of the system, Forest Service and San Luis Valley HPP members alternate turning on the system in spring, do an annual check for leaks and drain the system in late fall. There are several intermittent checks during the summer to assure water is being kept available for the wildlife.
Complaints from agricultural interests subsided, the antelope herd on the public land has seen significant increases in fawn recruitment and, according to the previous CPW area biologist, should lead to increased hunting opportunity in the future. This means more revenue for CPW, more funds for HPP, more hunting opportunity in a highly desired unit (16 years to draw now) and elimination of complaints and threats of game damage from the agricultural sector. Subsequent burns of substantial acreage in this area have further enhanced the habitat for wildlife.