Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Busy work days and Catching Up

Joyce and I have been busy the last few days working here at the refuge. Last week Joyce and I spent a lot of time filling,testing and replacing some of the 80 plus 6-volt batteries  used to support the solar power systems around the refuge complex. This week we started our 3 day rotation with our daily cleaning of the paved trail and the fishing piers. We noticed the piers had not been pressure washed since the last time I had done them and they were filthy. With the cooler weather, we are seeing more visitors and fisherman using the piers. So we cleaned them up as well as we could with the plan to pressure wash them a day early..tomorrow. Each of the two volunteer couples is suppose to pressure wash the piers on the last day of their rotation.
Stan the assistant refuge manager, had an urgent mission and needed us to run into Lake Havasu City and pick up materials to repair a broken water line leading from one of the lake pumps. The refuge pumps its own water out of the lake into a very large cistern. The water is then treated with chlorine and filtered via a reverse osmosis system. There are two pumps set up for this task. However, one of the pumps has been disabled for a few weeks due to the broken line. 
Joyce and I drove into town and picked up the pvc pipe and pieces I would need to make the repair. After returning, I flushed the broken pipes and then cut about a 6 ft piece of PVC 1 inch pipe, attached hose barb fittings and clamps and made the repair.
We enjoy working for/ with Stan. as the Assistant Refuge Manager, he’s in charge of managing the volunteers (us) and getting tasks accomplished on the refuge. Often Stan makes a list of projects for the volunteers to accomplish on an erasable board outside of his office. I have to tease him sometimes as it takes more time to write some of the tasks on the board than to just do test the smoke detectors in the building. 
The 2nd day, we did our daily trail chores and pressure washed the two aluminum fishing piers. We later accomplished a few other minor tasks before we again drove the refuge truck into Lake Havasu City to exchange some locking gas caps for the refuge vehicles. Locking gas caps had been purchased but the two we exchanged didn’t fit. The NAPA store only had one gas cap and we needed two so we would have to return again the next day! Then we drove to a Bobcat dealer to pick up a part for the refuge’s machine.
Later in the day, Stan mentioned that he could use some help clearing the invasive Salt Cedar Trees and overgrowth that is covering one of the ATV roads out in the refuge.
Yeah, this road needs to be cleared out!
Knowing it would be my scheduled “day off” he didn’t want to bother me with it. However, the power company is working to install new power poles through the refuge and they need access through the ATV road. The power company wants the refuge to clear the road. So, I volunteered to assist Stan on my day off...this coming Monday.
Subsequently, Stan and I spent the afternoon trying out the new pole chainsaws he bought for clearing the road. What that really means is that we did a lot of cutting and clearing around the compound. Safety rules dictated that we wear hard hats and orange kevlar chaps when working with the chain saws.  It was only 98 degrees that day! I was soaking wet with perspiration when I got home. 
Today, Joyce and I again cleaned off the paved trail, fishing piers and collected the garbage. Joyce then cleaned the offices and visitor center while I cleaned up some of the invasive Salt Cedar Trees that Stan and I had cut down yesterday around the compound. There is a large brush pile on the compound that has more than doubled in size since Joyce and I arrived over a month ago. 
We usually open the visitor center from 10:00 till 2:00 when we are scheduled to work on the weekends. However, we had to get back to Lake Havasu City to pick up one of the new Pole Saws and a chain saw before the shop closed at 1:00. You see yesterday, one of the pole saws was dulled when it wouldn’t cut through a rock! (Not me). So Stan dropped it off for repair on his way home. Therefore, we closed the visitor center at noon. So it has been three days in a row that we’ve had to drive a refuge vehicle into Lake Havasu City. I told Joyce today that I was getting bored with the drive. It’s about an hour and a half of driving round trip. The good thing about taking the refuge vehicle to town is that we are permitted to run personal errands in town in their vehicle if we are in town on official business. They also want us to drive the National Wildlife Refuge vehicles in some of the remote areas of the refuge so that the public sees a presence of official vehicles and staff.
I think that pretty much brings us up to date. We still have internet connection issues due to the spotty Verizon Coverage here at the refuge. So it really makes it difficult to post daily.
Next week is suppose to bring much cooler temps in the upper 80's and low 90's. 

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