FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Officials with the Arizona Game and Fish Department are asking for information they hope will lead investigators to those responsible for contaminating a water catchment tank near Flagstaff. 

AZGFD officials say sometime around Sept. 15, fuel was deliberately poured into a water catchment. The tank is meant to provide drinking water for wildlife.

The water catchment was located in Game Management Unit 7E, which is located a few miles east of the Winona exit off Interstate 40, near Forest Road 775.

Officials say there is evidence at the scene that indicates fencing may have been taken down to gain access.

“It’s our hope that someone may have observed suspicious behavior or may have had a game camera in the area that may provide crucial evidence,” said AZGFD Wildlife manager Erin Brown.

“This incident is incredibly disappointing because these catchments provide water for all wildlife when natural water sources are not available— especially given this year’s limited monsoon rainfall. Sportsmen, along with the department, have spent so much labor, money and time improving water availability for wildlife, and it's tragic that someone chose to vandalize this water catchment,” said Brown.

The Arizona Elk Society has offered a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department maintains about 3,000 water catchments statewide to provide water for wildlife. With the help of many sportsmen’s groups, AZGFD has trucked or airlifted more than 1.5 million gallons of precious water since January 2018.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call the AZGFD vandalism hotline at 1-800 VANDALS (826-3257). Callers can remain anonymous and should reference case #19-003149.

Those wishing to support the department’s efforts to deliver water for wildlife can send a donation by texting SENDWATER — as one word — to 41444 from any smart device or click here and select “support us.”


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Eric is an assignment editor and content producer with AZ Family-3TV & CBS 5 News. Read more about Eric in his bio.

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