A friend and I were traveling on Highway 115 north of Shank Road while fishing and we saw a sign that said Alamo River Wetlands Project. We drove to them to check it out, and there were a few ponds along the Alamo River. Our question is, are those wetland ponds open to the public for fishing and/or hunting? — Outdoorsman, Brawley
Leon Lesicka told us that when former U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter was helping secure the funding for the local wetlands projects many years ago, he asked that they stay open and free of charge to the public, and that people be able to fish and hunt as they please.
Ultimately the wetlands projects are meant to do a couple of things: filter the ag field runoff in the Alamo and New rivers and the toxins from the New River, as well as provide a natural habitat for birds along the Pacific Flyway.
All of those are related to the Salton Sea. Cleaner water in the rivers means cleaner water feeding the sea. And the sea is the main destination point for hundreds of species of birds along the Pacific Flyway.
The projects were built through a combination of federal funding and donations from the public and private sectors.
Last year Lesicka and his son finished off the bulk of the work at what is known as the Shank Road Wetlands, which is the Alamo River Wetlands Project off O’Brien Road near Shank. They are now taking classes throughout the Valley out to the project site and planting bulrush and other filtering vegetation.
In addition to the fishing and hunting that is allowed, Brawley resident and bird-watching enthusiast Bob Miller said these spots are ripe for seeing all types of species.
Miller, who along with some other partners in his Southwest Birders organization, maintains a Web site and blog in which they write about their naturalist adventures (blog.southwestbirders.com). From a report back in February — the height of the birding season — he identified 24 species of birds alone at the Alamo wetlands off Highway 115.
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