Quigley Wildlife Area
This 612-acre property is located within the Gila River floodplain, approximately 40 miles east of Yuma. Approximately 552 acres of the property were acquired by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission (Commission) in March 1994 through the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District (WMIDD) in a land exchange with the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). The remaining 60 acres of active farmland were purchased by the Commission on September 24, 1997 for $266,000 through a combination of Heritage and Waterfowl Conservation Funds. This additional piece provides added protection and enhancement of QWMA by providing water delivery and control structures and a buffer between the QWMA's moist soils zone and adjacent lands. The land and resource values associated with this acquisition provide opportunities to meet objectives of Arizona's Heritage Fund for Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive species and habitats, as well as provide benefits for other wildlife species and the public.
Narrative Description and Vegetation Types
The Quigley Wildlife Management Area (QWMA) contains approximately 622 acres consisting of 1) 2 major open water areas, occupying approximately 18 acres (3%), 2) 60 acres (11%) of idle farmland 3) 85 acres (16%) of upland habitat characterized by large stands of saltcedar (Tamarix chinensis) and arrowweed (Tessaria sericea); 4) about 95 acres (18%) of Creosotebush-bursage habitat; 5) 100 acres (19%) of marshland habitat, associated with the open water areas and characterized by emergent vegetation such as cattail (Typha domingensis) and bulrush (Scirpus californicus) 6) and the remainder of the QWMA is characterized by dense stands of saltcedar and arrowweed, covering approximately 180 acres (33%).
Management Objective Goals
- Restore and manage riparian habitats.
- Maintain and enhance habitat suitability for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other riparian associated wildlife.
- Restore, enhance and manage habitats required by sensitive species.
- Encourage compatible consumptive and non-consumptive uses and educational activities, including development of "watchable wildlife" opportunities.
- Maintain and enhance fisheries and fishing opportunities.
Public Use Opportunities and Resource Management Emphasis
To restore, enhance, and manage wetland habitat including open water and marsh, riparian and associated upland wildlife habitats; and to provide public opportunities for wildlife viewing, education, research, hunting and fishing.
Floodplain/Wetland Habitat Species
Wetland and riparian habitats within the QWMA provide critical nesting, cover and food resources for many avian species. Wetland habitat of open water and marshlands within the wildlife area is associated with a series of ponds located in an old oxbow channel of the Gila River. The low water depths and emergent vegetation such as cattail (Typha domingensis) and bulrush (Scirpus californicus) make excellent nesting substrate for a large number of waterfowl species. Other wildlife species supported by the wetlands at QWMA include shorebirds, game and nongame fishes, game and nongame birds, and amphibians. The marsh habitat at QWMA has in the past supported at least 4-6 pairs of the endangered Yuma Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris yumanensis) and appropriate habitat exists for the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus), although nesting has not been documented.
Idle Farmland Habitat Species
About 60 acres of unplanted agricultural fields are located in the northeastern portion of the QWMA. This land was most recently used to grow bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), but has been fallow and weed-covered for several years. Floods along the lower Gila River in the spring of 1993 impacted this zone and now stands of cattail interspersed with Goodding willow (Salix gooddingii) and open areas dominated by bermuda grass as a result of the floods, making the idle fields more suitable for supporting wildlife.
Active Farmland Habitat Species
The Marlatt addition (60 acres) is currently in active agricultural production. Crops grown in the past included bermuda grass, cotton, seed onions, and various produce. Currently, this area is being farmed for wheat (Triticum spp.) to support white-winged (Zenaida asiatica) and mourning doves (Zenaida macroura). Approximately five percent of this portion of the QWMA property consists of border roads, berms, and water-delivery ditches. Except when flood-irrigated, habitat quality for wildlife species is low, as crops currently grown are of low food and cover value. The agricultural land is relatively productive, however, and shows a high potential value to wildlife if it were utilized to grow grain or other forage crops.
Upland Habitat Species
Upland habitat on the QWMA is characterized by large stands of saltcedar (Tamarix chinensis) and arrowweed (Tessaria sericea). This habitat is interspersed with relatively dense stands of screwbean mesquite (Prosopis pubescens), covering approximately 85 acres. This habitat currently provides significant nesting habitat for white-winged (Zenaida asiatica) and mourning doves (Zenaida macroura).
Special Status Species occurring on or near the Quigley Wildlife Area have been identified through the Department's Heritage Data Management System, and are listed below. Those special status species that potentially occur on the QMWA include American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus), Great egret (Ardea alba), Loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus), Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Snowy egret (Egretta thula), Southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus), Western least bittern (Ixobrychus exilis hesperis), and White-faced ibis (Plegadis chihi).