Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area
Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area was formed on December 28, 1949 when the Arizona Game and Fish Department (Department) acquired 240 acres from the General Services Administration. The Department added 200 acres on September 18, 1967 and 308 acres on September 27, 1988 by patents from the Bureau of Land Management. These 748 acres were acquired at no significant cost to the Department. On March 18, 1985, the Department acquired the remaining 40 acres for $23,240 with funding associated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Federal Aid Program (Pittman-Robinson Wildlife Restoration Act). Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area is located five miles south of Pima on Ash Creek.
Narrative Description and Vegetation Types: Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area lies at the base of the north slopes of the Pinaleno Mountains at an elevation of 3,000 feet. The topography is gently sloping and intersected by Ash Creek, with low-lying desert mesas extending from the mountain to the southern half of the area. The 788 acre Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area includes: 1) cottonwood-willow riparian woodland habitat (28%) along Ash Creek which is well developed and represents vegetative communities originally found along the upper Gila River; 2) agricultural fields (22%); 3) wetlands and ponds (1%); 4) upland habitat (49%); 5) Two impoundments totaling 14 surface acres with a capacity of 150 acre-feet, a water right for 1,223.48 acre-feet per year from Ash Creek with a 1912 priority date which is appurtenant to 137 acres of irrigated fields; and 6) three residence buildings, one office building, two storage buildings, two barns, one fuel storage area with three fuel tanks, fence, wells, ponds, ditches and pipelines.
Management Objective Goals: To optimize the potential of the area as wildlife habitat. To promote us of the area for present and future generations for public hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, education and other wildlife oriented recreation.
Public Use Opportunities and Resource Management Emphasis: The current management emphasis for Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area is fishing for warm and cold water species, hunting of upland small game (mourning and white-winged doves, Gambel quail and cottontail rabbits), big game hunting (archery hunting for deer and javelina). Other wildlife oriented recreation uses such as wildlife watching; photography, and environmental education may play a greater role in Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area management in the future as new programs are developed and existing programs enhanced.
Wildlife Species: Populations of upland bird and small game species including, mourning and white-winged doves (Zenaida macroura and Z. asiatica), Gambel quail (Callipepla gambelii) and cottontail rabbit flourish (Sylvilagus spp.) at Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area. A healthy population of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and limited numbers of mule deer (O. hemionus) also use CRWA. A diverse assemblage of non-game birds including several species of raptors, and riparian and wetland associated birds are represented on the wildlife area.
The ponds at Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area support a productive warm water fishery including largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus), bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus), channel catfish (Ictalurus pinctatus) and black bullhead (Ameiurus melas). The ponds are also stocked with catchable rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) during the winter months.
Special status species occurring on or near the Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area have been identified through the Department's Heritage Data Management System, and are listed below.