Sunrise Mountain View Estates
5550 N. Paseo Otoño
Tucson, AZ 85750
Volume 26 No. 1
Welcome to the Sunrise Mountain View Estates Spring 2017 Newsletter!
The SMVE website and SMVE News Alert emails are the primary vehicles to communicate important information to homeowners in a timely fashion. All information will be published on the website as soon as the information is available. We recommend subscribing to website update emails to receive the most timely information.
Twice each year, articles published on the website since the prior newsletter are consolidated into a newsletter like the one you are reading. An SMVE News Alert is sent to notify homeowners that the newsletter is available. Articles that are no longer relevant at the time the newsletter is published are omitted. We mail a printed copy of the newsletter only to those homeowners without email.
The last year has been an eventful year, with several major accomplishments. We have had an almost complete turnover of the Board, with new Directors, committee chairs, and officers. That has been a big learning curve for all of us on the Board and on Committees. Since the Annual Meeting in February, we have added Tammy Eversole to the Board. As posted in a separate article, officer roles have changed for this year with Kathy Mitton as Vice President, Larry Spencer as Secretary, Tammy Eversole as Treasurer, and myself as President.
Here are some of our accomplishments over the last year:
The Harried Homeowners Helper 2016 was distributed to homeowners as well as being posted on the website. If you have not received a printed copy, and want one, contact me to pick up your copy.
The Hospitality Committee has been holding more frequent events at the Clubhouse to allow all of us to get to know each other better.
In a major effort, Larry Spencer and the Finance Committee have reviewed our financial procedures and extended and documented them clearly.
We moved our bill payment system into the modern age, with bills now being paid electronically through bill.com. All bills are reviewed and approved by at least two Directors, then paid automatically after the final approval. We no longer write HOA checks for our vendors.
Thanks to Larry and the Finance Committee, we are once again earning a reasonable interest on our funds.
Eight sidewalk segments were replaced to eliminate safety hazards. More sidewalk repairs are planned for this year.
We had a pavement evaluation done and created a five-year maintenance plan. We will repave Paseo Otoño and part of Via Sempreverde this summer.
The much-wanted Homeowner Directory has been completed, published online, and printed copies are available from the Directory Manager Pam Negri.
2016 was the first year we used the Reserve Study to manage planning for capital projects. It is serving its purpose well and you can see some of those items on the capital expenditures report you received in the annual mailing.
I’d like to take special notice of how homeowner volunteer efforts have made a real difference to our HOA. Our association functions because of volunteer efforts. Without the volunteers on committees and on the Board, nothing would get done and amenities would decline.
Looking forward, a major challenge for our HOA is to have more homeowners volunteer for our committees. We more than welcome homeowners who want to contribute. Please talk to me or any Board member about your ideas and ways you might contribute. We welcome people interested in participating in any way — as a volunteer, a committee member, a committee chair, or a Board member. We especially welcome the newer homeowners who are part of the next generation moving in.
We want to hear from you about what you would like to see your HOA doing. Please contact me or any Director by phone, email, or mail with your thoughts and suggestions.
I want to thank all the homeowners who attended our Annual Meeting on Monday, February 20, 2017. I especially appreciated hearing everyone’s comments during the open question session at the end of the meeting. We welcomed your advice on questions of audits, printing the homeowner directory, and the best time to maintain our streets. The Annual Meeting is a great way to hear the concerns of our homeowners and your thoughts on issues facing us.
Remember you can raise issues at any regularly scheduled Board meeting. We have time set aside at each meeting to hear homeowner concerns.
At the Annual Meeting you elected Steve Struck and Phil Mowbray to 3-year terms on the Board of Directors. You approved the minutes of the 2016 meeting. Thank your for participating in the advisory vote on whether we should have a formal audit of our books—no one thought that was necessary.
On the following Wednesday, the Board appointed Tammy Eversole to the Board and elected officers for 2017. Please welcome the new officers:
I would like to begin by introducing myself. In February, I was appointed to the Sunrise Mountain View Estates Homeowner’s Association (SMVE HOA) and elected by the board to serve as treasurer. My name is Tammy Eversole. My husband and I made Tucson our winter home in 2015. We spend our summers in northern Colorado. I am a retired CPA, with a degree in accounting and a degree in sport management. While I was a full-time resident of Colorado, I served for four years as the treasurer of a local non-profit organization. My time spent serving on the non-profit organization’s board was both rewarding and educational. I look forward to serving my community here and anticipate that this experience will be as rewarding. Thank you for this opportunity and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns regarding the SMVE HOA’s finances at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Larry Spencer reported at the annual homeowner’s meeting, 2016 operating expenses were below budget by $36,059 or 13.1%. Capital expenditures were also under budget by $48,362 due to the deferral of some 2016 budgeted capital items, such as the north tennis court resurfacing and road repairs. The capital reserve fund grew from $214,000 at the end of 2015 to $452,000 at the end of 2016. The capital reserve fund is still below the recommended amount per the reserve study, but significant progress was made in 2016 toward our goal.
The first quarter financial results of 2017 shows SMVE HOA total operating expenses running slightly over budget by $884. We usually see the first quarter as being either under or over budget. This happens because of the nature of the budgeting process, which takes the yearly budget and apportions it evenly over twelve monthes. However, the timing of many actual expenses is not even. Over the course of the year, the actual expenses should even out and be within the budgeted amount. You can see detailed monthly financial statements on the Finance page of the SMVE HOA website.
Finally, a reminder that invoices for homeowner dues for the second half of 2017 will be arriving in your mailboxes in early June. Have a great summer.
As we reported at the annual meeting, HOA maintenance tasks have been split into several categories with a larger number of individuals volunteering to help, spreading the workload out so that no one person has an overload of work. My responsibility is for HOA owned structures, which as you would suspect, includes the clubhouse, south pool house, pool ramadas and the entry monuments.
Guy Scharf and I have inspected these facilities in the past month and found that the only immediate needs involve several paint projects at the south pool. These include the ramada, portions of the wrought iron, and trim on the pool house. We’re also going to review the wrought iron at the north pool. We’ll be looking to get this work done in the next couple months.
Last year the HOA had several sections of sidewalk replaced. We’re currently surveying the neighborhood sidewalks, looking again for sections that may have shifted and are tripping hazards. Other defects that may need repair include damaged/degraded sidewalk or curb sections. Once we have a list of areas in need of replacement, we’ll arrange for repairs, likely over the summer. Thanks to an owner report, we also have plans to repair a damaged storm sewer drain on North Via Velazquez as part of our concrete repairs.
This last point illustrates that you all can help. While we try to keep on top of maintenance, owners collectively have many more eyes and opportunities to see items that may need attention. The storm sewer damage was apparently done by a contractor, but it happened last year so there was no opportunity to pursue the contractor to pay for the damage. Please feel free to let me know if you find things that we need to be aware of. In this latter case, a more timely report could have saved the HOA the cost of repairs.
As reported at the annual meeting in February, in 2016 we spent approximately 90% of the allocated landscape budget. Last year was primarily about ongoing maintenance. Three backflow valves were completely replaced. We cleaned out the significant area of deadwood south of Sunrise between Largo Salici and Paseo Otoño which was called out by the fire marshall and we removed several dead trees located on maintained common areas. We also completed a couple of small refresh projects (6) on Velazquez and Sempreverde. These projects involved fixing riprap and swales and adding granite at some of the small common areas. Packrat suppression continued in 2016 with approximately 50 packrat nests removed. Only about 50% of the packrat budget was spent which is in line with limiting our focus areas to those close to parking and housing. In October-December, we completed trimming of trees and this included palm trees at the south pool. Finally we completed one capital project which replaced irrigation lines with PVC.
In 2017 we are again primarily focused on maintenance. We have directed more of the budget to tree maintenance and reduced the spending on Packrats and Backflow valves. We hope that with most of the valves being replaced in the last 2 years we will get some relief from needing expensive replacement valves. We also reduced what we will spend on landscape refreshes. With this in mind, in January and February we spent about 75% of our tree trimming budget on trees in dire need of maintenance (thinning and mistletoe). We tried out several different vendors in order to stretch our dollars. We will continue to use a variety of vendors in order to make the best use of the dollars we’ve allocated to tree maintenance. We have many additional trees in need of maintenance but expect only to do a small portion of the remainder late in the year. (We don’t trim trees in March-September as this is being bird nesting season). Trees are costly to maintain but do bring value to the neighborhood (Bartlett indicated our trees add approximately 400k of value to our property).
We do have one refresh that is planned after Paseo Otoño and Sempreverde roads are repaved. That will be to refresh the north side of Sempreverde across from the pool. This will complete the refresh of entrance and pool area.
In 2017 we will be notifying homeowners more frequently of problems with weedy yards. I have been receiving more complaints about the state of some yards with concerns raised around impacting property value of nearby homes. Please remember that it is your responsibility to keep your yard weed free and looking well maintained even if you are gone for the summer per the Yard Rules and Regulations. You can be fined up to 10$ a day if you fail to bring your yard into compliance after receiving notification of a problem. Note that removing weeds isn’t the only requirement. A well maintained yard also has adequate granite covering, and vegetation (including trees) is neat (remove dead vegetation, keep trees maintained, if things are overgrown consider replanting). These things are all spelled out in our Yard Rules and Regulations .
I again want to thank the homeowners who have notified us of water leaks. The faster we address these the less it will impact our water bills. Please don’t hesitate to call or email me if you notice a leak and it is helpful if you specify the time/day you spotted the leak.
Architecture activity during 2016 was modest. The most common requests we received were for changes to fences, gates, walls, and windows.
I would like to remind everyone that any external change to your house, walls, gates, lighting, paint, etc. requires Architectural Committee approval. The most difficult problems we deal with are changes that have been made without permission and which do not comply with standards. These problems could easily have been solved early if the homeowner had contacted us when first considering a change. We’re always happy to work with you to find a solution you like that is compatible with our standards.
All exterior construction requires Architecture Committee Approval. Whether raising a wall, changing a gate or front door, replacing a window, changing a post lamp or any external light fixture, adding an extension, building a BBQ in your back yard, etc. contact at to gain approval for your project before starting work. If you cannot reach Guy, you can call at to get the necessary forms to submit. Approvals are given in the shortest possible time.
Every homeowner is urged to contact the Architecture Committee prior to undertaking any landscape or structural change or addition. This will avoid the possibility of having to make possibly costly changes.
As more homes in SMVE are sold and new owners move in, we have had an increase in interior remodeling. Most new homeowners have been very cooperative and have requested the “Rules for Contractors,” which the contractors read and sign, stating that they are aware of our rules and agree to follow them. This results in many fewer complaints of roads and driveways being blocked, avoids visible portable toilets, dumpsters, etc. Neighbors are much more amenable to the less disruptive improvements to the neighborhood.
The most common request to the Architecture Committee is for a copy of the Approved Paint Colors. You can always find the current list of approved paint colors on our website at http://smve.org/approved-paint-colors. The approved list for 2017 will be included with the the Spring newsletter; please print it and put it in a place where you can find it when needed.
We have streamlined the permission process to permit much of it to be accomplished by email while requiring contractors to sign a form containing our rules and expectations concerning parking, building materials, debris removal, etc. Talk to us first about your proposed changes and we’ll tell you what information we need.
If you need to trim the vegetation behind your rear wall to improve your views contact at to get the forms and set up an appointment for a quote for the work. Kathy will work with you to get a representative from Cherry Landscape or another HOA approved tree trimmer along with a representative from the landscape committee to review the scope of work and quote you a price to do the work. If you agree to the quote, they will set up a date (convenient to you) to have the work done. Remember that there are limitations as to how far into the common area we can trim trees as that is protected land.
For both Architectural requests or tree trimming, if you cannot reach or , call Chris Bruyn at AME Management to get started.
I have been in this role approximately one year. I want to start off by thanking Ursula Cybulsky for the previous nine years of dedicated service she has given as chairman of the Hospitality Committee. She was very enthusiastic and skillful in running the Hospitality Committee committee. She gives a lot of credit to her co-chair, Lauren Jump and committee members for the success of the many events that were hosted. So thank you so much Ursula.
Our committee is co-lead with each member choosing an event that they would like to lead and facilitate. This seems to be a fun, and much appreciated approach by the members of the Hospitality Committee. In addition, it is well received by the community. Our goal is to host events for the HOA that will create a sense of fun, while offering a chance to create a community of neighbors getting to know and appreciate one another.
One of the previous events that we’ve had in the last year was a Spring Potluck. We also tried a new approach to an event. We call it a Bring Your Own Beverage and Appetizer to share. These are mostly held from 5-7 pm at the clubhouse. RSVP is not required to offer more flexibility for homeowners; you may also bring your own alcoholic beverage. This was a result of a policy change that went into effect last year. These events are casual and offer the option of dropping in for however long you’d like. The format also includes a chance to easily mingle since it is not a sit down potluck. We’re finding that the events are well received with a range of 30 – 50 people coming to each event. A fun, light hearted and pleasant evening takes place and is helping neighbors get to know each other better. A sense of community seems to be developing and we see that as a positive direction to go in.
We had BYOB and Appetizer events in December, January and March. In January we tried a similar event as a brunch from 10-12. Future BYOB’s will most likely be held in the evening.
We hosted a presentation by Tiny Read from the Sunrise Neighborhood Assistance Program (SNAP) in March. It was an informative and pleasant evening with several homeowners signing up to be volunteers.
Our next BYOB and Appetizer event will be on Wednesday, April 12 from 5 – 7 pm.
We are not sure if there will be any summer events since hospitality members are away during most of this time. We look forward to hosting a fall event when more residents are back.
As a final note we are always open to new members. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested.
With a new Board and a new Roads committee, we needed to learn a lot in 2016 about Road maintenance so that we could make good judgements about what was needed. We decided it would be in the best interests of the HOA to have professional assistance and, in the Spring of 2016, had a pavement analysis and five year plan prepared by WLB Group, Inc.
We are now following that plan for our roads. The first step was to seal cracks on the roads, and that was completed in December. We also had some patches placed on failing sections of Paseo Otoño so they would not turn into huge potholes before we could repave the road.
Our next step will be to repave failing roads. We will repave all of Paseo Otoño, Via Sempreverde from Paseo Otoño to just south of Strada de Acero, and Strada de Acero. This will include the pool parking area and the North set of mailboxes on Sempreverde.
The paving process will be one of pulverizing and repaving. A pulverization machine goes down the roads and pulverizes the asphalt and some of the base material together. The pulverized material is then graded and new asphalt laid down on top.
We will be using WLB Group’s services for bidding and construction management for that paving project. We are in the process of soliciting bids for the paving project now. We expect paving and sealing to occur this summer.
This project will affect residents on Via Cedri, Via Frassino, Largo Salici, and about 24 homes on Via Sempreverde and Strada de Acero. We will be contacting everyone affected as we know more about the schedule and its effects. In our discussion with contractors, we are emphasizing that we want to minimize the number of days homeowners must park away from their home. We should know more about the paving schedule by late May and will contact homeowners then.
After repaving is complete, we will have all other roads seal coated. As those of you who have been through this process before may remember, this process requires blocking off an entire lane for 24 hours as the lane is coated twice. We will institute one-way traffic and controls during this work, which usually requires about four days. (The sealcoat is a sticky black substance, so you don’t want to drive on it as your tires will track it over your driveway and everyplace else.)
By Fall, we should have new roads or freshly coated roads, and paving headaches will be over for this year!
2016 was a busy year for real estate activity at SMVE with 20 homes having new owners. Over the last 12 years, the number of homes sold each year has varied between 8 and 28; last year’s 20 is an above average number. Almost 80 homes have new owners in the last five years. That’s one third of all homes in our HOA.
We are seeing an expected generational turnover, with original owners now moving on.
Activity this year has picked up since the Annual Meeting. Newly listed homes have been selling quickly—three homes closed by the end of March and three more are in escrow with only one still on the market (as of April 4, 2017).
The board has been considering for several months the efficacy of Central Alarm security services and what level of service would be most appropriate for us. Central Alarm drove through SMVE HOA 4 times a day during daylight hours and checked pools and gates. Additionally, on Friday and Saturday nights and holidays, after pool closing hours, a Central Alarm supervisor checked the pools and gates. Effective April 21, the board has agreed to reduce the Central Alarm service to just the Friday, Saturday and holiday check of the pool after closing hours. In six months we will re-evaluate the service to determine what service level is warranted.
In reaching this decision many factors were considered. In 2008, the HOA began utilizing Central Alarm on an evening only basis because of some incidents at the pools. Over time this level morphed into a 4 times a day, 7 days a week check. A number of residents have questioned whether this was a necessary expenditure. In making this decision, the board considered both the low crime nature of the area, the possibility that the simple presence of the security company acted as a deterrent, the lack of any significant incident caught by the security company, the incidents the company did catch (primarily pool gates left open), and cost (we spent $9,000 last year and budgeted $10,000 for this year). Board Member Larry Spencer also talked with 9 other Fairfield HOAs and learned that none of them use a security service. These HOAs indicate that they don’t experience any significant issues. The most common problems reported are kids climbing walls/fences to use the pool (trespassing without damage) and garage doors left open which could attract thieves.
The board elected to continue for the time being the Friday and Saturday late night pool checks because the pools are an attractive nuisance easily accessed from Sunrise and Territory but we are discontinuing the daytime checks.
For homeowners absent for extended periods, please consider making use of the FREE service from the Pima County Sheriff’s department (520-351-4511). If you are out of town for more than 7 days you can request a regular inspection by a Sheriff’s Auxiliary volunteer in a marked sheriff’s vehicle.
We have reports of homeowners not receiving email they expect or that their neighbors receive from SMVE. Here is a brief explanation of two types of notifications we send, where each obtains the email address, and some simple trouble shooting if you are not receiving expected emails.
SMVE sends homeowners two different types of email:
“SMVE News Alerts” for items of immediate interest (e.g. notice of road construction, a special event, or newsletter availability). These occur a few times a year. Alerts are sent from email@example.com and are sent to the email address you specified on the Homeowner Information Sheet you filled out when you purchased your home.
“Website update emails” are sent each day our website is updated with a new article if you have subscribed to updates (we do encourage you to subscribe). These emails are sent from firstname.lastname@example.org and sent to the address you specified when you subscribed to the website email update service.
Steps to Take if Not Receiving These Emails
1. Check your spam filter. If you are not receiving one or both of these types of email, check that they have not been caught by a spam filter or placed in a spam or quarantine folder. Each email provider has its own spam detection tools and many tailor their spam filter to reflect your own email use. Spam filters can change from one day to the next, so receiving one alert does not guarantee the next one will not be treated as spam.
2. Mark SMVE as a “safe sender.” Most email providers allow you to specify certain email addresses as “safe senders” so that email from that address will (almost) never be placed in your spam folder. To maximize the chance that SMVE News Alerts and website update emails will be delivered successfully, please add email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to your safe senders list.
Add both “email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org” to your safe senders list to ensure you receive these emails.
The method of identifying a safe sender varies with the email provider. If you use gmail, you need to create two new contacts, with “email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org” as their email addresses. For other email providers, please see How to add email to safe senders list. This page has detailed instructions for most common email services such as gmail.com, aol.com, msn.com, outlook.com, yahoo.com, etc.
3. Check with the . We can check that we have your correct email address(es) in our database for SMVE News Alerts and whether emails have been sent normally. You may give us several email addresses if you want alerts sent to several addresses.
We can also check the mailing list for website updates and determine whether you have successfully subscribed to the list. If you want website update emails sent to several addresses, just subscribe with each address.
Please contact me if you have any problems receiving SMVE emails. I’ll be happy to work with you to try to resolve the problem.
We have updated the Approved Paint Colors document to reflect changes in product names, codes, and telephone numbers. The approved colors have not changed.
Last year’s standards continue to be acceptable, but there are two changes that a homeowner might wish to take advantage of:
For smooth surfaces like garage doors and trim for which “flat” gloss level was required you may now use “velvet”. The difference is hard to see but velvet should have better wear characteristics.
Previous documents specified SSHL paint for many surfaces: Dunn-Edwards SpartanShield, called their “premium paint.” We now also allow EVSH: Dunn-Edwards EverShield, called their “ultra premium” paint for those who choose to use it. EVSH is more expensive than SSHL.
The Board has updated the Pool and Spa Rules document to include that the gates to the pool area must always be closed and locked. You may not block a gate open so that others may enter the pool area later. Keeping the gate closed and latched is required by county code, statute, and our insurance.
If you are expecting others to arrive, keep an eye on the gate so you can open it from the inside. To make this more convenient, you will soon be able to open the gate from the inside without a key.
Our pool and spa rules require that you shower before using the pool or spa or before re-entering either after applying sun-tan lotion or other products. We have showers at both the North and South pools for your use. Because the showers are public you should have no expectation of privacy, so please keep your suit on when showering.
Please do not jump directly into the pool after playing tennis, running, or just being sweaty. Body oils and lotions can contaminate the water more than filters can take care of. The spa may have a lot of foam when overloaded with oils. We must call the pool maintenance service to treat the water with chemicals to return it to a clear, non-foaming state. The fewer chemicals we need to use, the better for everyone.
Please remind your guests that infants and others with diapers are not permitted in the pool or spa. Unfortunately, “leak proof” diapers aren’t; see our Swimming Hygiene page about diapers.
Thank you for helping keep the pool and spa clean and beautiful for everyone.
The North Pool is reserved for the water aerobics class on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 8:00 am to 9:00 am between April and September. The spa, ramadas, and other facilities at the North Recreation Area and the South Pool are open for your use while the water aerobics class is in session.
If you are considering planting a tree for shade near your home or replacing an older tree, Tucson Electric Power’s “Trees for You” program has a deal for you. TEP customers may purchase up to three 5-gallon shade trees each calendar year at a reduced price of $5 each. Log onto your account at tep.com, click on Account Summary, then Account Programs, scroll down to Trees for You, select and pay for your trees online. You’ll be notified when the trees are ready for pickup at a local nursery. The only caveat is that you plant the trees within 15 feet of your home on its east, west, or south side to help cut energy costs. Several species of native, low water trees are available to choose.
It’s time to start thinking about the weeds cropping up in your front yard. The winter rains have provided the necessary moisture for a good crop of spring weeds. As per HOA yard rules and regulations, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to keep the visable yard maintained and weed free at all times (see Yard Rules and Regulations). Please evaluate your front yard and address any weed problem you might have. In the picture above, the left yard has a plethora of weeds whereas the right yard is virtually weed free. Most of us choose this HOA because we appreciate the well maintained appearance of the homes, yards, and key facilities. Please, as a property owner, do your part to keep it that way.
If you use a pre-emergent, remember that it will generally prevent new weeds but won’t kill existing weeds. If you have weeds in your yard now, you will need to pull those weeds out. The weed in the picture on right is green now but it is still a weed. When a yard is full of these misplaced plants, it is time to get serious about removal.
Don’t forget that cholla stem segments lying on the ground that are full of needles should also be removed along with dying agaves that have bloomed. To avoid a problem with a stalk falling into the street you can cut the stalks before they topple and then schedule removal of the agave.
Finally, your front yard should have a granite ground cover. This is specified in the Yard Rules and Regulations. Over time gravel coverings on the yard can become quite sparse due to repeated grooming from landscapers. If you haven’t reapplied gravel in many years, review the coverage and ensure it is still adequate.
For those of you headed to cooler climates for the summer, ensure you have a weed strategy for your home while you are gone. Even though you might be absent, you are still responsible for keeping your yard weed free and looking well maintained. Here are some items to think about:
Determine if use of a pre-emergent is right for you. The HOA maintained common areas are sprayed twice a year (January and July) to assist in keeping weeds down. This doesn’t solve the problem completely but it reduces the effort needed between sprayings. Many people prefer to avoid the use of chemicals.
Have a regular landscaper who comes at least once a month and make sure they include weed removal in their monthly yard maintenance.
Don’t overlook the weeds popping up between the cracks in the driveway and sidewalks! (Tip: needle nose pliers are a great tool to pull up a single weed by the root.)
Remember that things such as Penstemon, Desert Bluebells and other native wildflowers look great when they bloom but then they dry out and simply look like brown, dead weeds. Remove dead stalks after the blooming season is over or your yard will look like it is full of dead weeds.
Please help ensure our community looks its best for you, your neighbors, friends and visitors and do your part by maintaining all your visible landscape. Notes to homeowners with weedy yards will go out end of March. Remember you can be fined $10 a day until your yard is brought into compliance.
We’re so lucky to live in SMVE where we’re surrounded by open space and can enjoy the diversity of the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert. While one member of that fauna, our native white-throated woodrat (aka packrat) can be a nuisance, they serve a purpose in the food chain as prey species for bobcats, coyotes, snakes, hawks and owls.
One of my most memorable Christmas mornings was in 2011 when a mom bobcat left her two teenage kittens in my back yard. My husband and I were entertained for two hours watching their antics–play fighting, cuddling together on our wall, napping and grooming. What photographic subjects they were!
What function do bobcats serve in our community?
Bobcats, like other predatory wildlife, exist to preserve the balance of nature. Wild animals help keep rodent populations such as packrats in check. Communities that attempt to eradicate predators often see an increase in the rodent population, as well as rodent-borne diseases.
What do bobcats eat?
Bobcats eat mostly rodents such as packrats, rabbits, squirrels and less often birds. They’re unlikely to make a meal of your pet because bobcats, like domestic cats, are usually afraid of dogs.
Never trap and relocate bobcats!
If only the mother is trapped and removed, the young will die. If the entire bobcat family is trapped and relocated, often the young are too small to travel with the mother and are left behind to die.
Predator species, such as the bobcat, establish and defend a territory. A female’s territory may be as large as five square miles and females never share a territory with each other. Male territories tend to overlap and may be as large as 25-30 square miles. When a bobcat is relocated to an established territory, the defending bobcat will attack potentially killing, injuring, or driving the relocated bobcat from its new territory. An injured bobcat may not survive because survival depends upon the ability to hunt, capture and kill prey.
Please never kill, remove, poison or injure our native wildlife (except for trapping packrats on your property) without first contacting me at email@example.com or 520-576-4416 or my husband Ted Forsberg at 520-203-6153. If you can’t reach us, contact a board member before calling a wildlife removal service. See following article on snake issues.
How can you protect pets from bobcats and discourage them and other wildlife from coming into your yard?
Bobcats are no threat to humans; they are easily scared away by yelling, clapping your hands, or throwing small rocks at them.
Don’t leave pets unattended outdoors.
Don’t leave pet food or water outside and remove other food sources, such as fallen fruit.
Clean up brushy areas or wood piles and eliminate thick undergrowth in landscaped areas.
Always walk your dog on a leash and don’t let it wander close to thick brush.
Never encourage or allow your pet to interact with wildlife.
Never feed wildlife except birds. And never put poison out for any animal or reptile.
If you feed birds, ensure there is no overflowing bird seed on the ground to attract rodents at night.
What if a bobcat has kittens in your yard or on your roof?
Bobcat moms, just like other moms, seek a place safe from predators such as coyotes to have and raise their young. Should that safe place happen to be on your property, they will move on as soon as the young are old enough to travel as a family.
If you don’t leave pets unattended outdoors and the bobcat’s not making a nuisance of itself, why not just reach for your binoculars or camera and enjoy the show? Here at SMVE our goal is to live in harmony with the birds and wildlife around us. Remember, they were here before we moved into their territory.
I realize many people are afraid of snakes; however, they play an important role in our desert ecosystem. One of the main entrees in a snake’s diet is rodents, such as our native white-throated woodrat (aka packrat). When snakes are killed, or removed from SMVE, the packrat population increases. This in turn costs homeowners and our HOA more money for packrat removal. Besides, trying to kill rattlesnakes actually puts you at greater risk than does leaving them alone. Homeowners and renters should tell their landscapers not to kill or injure snakes. Any snake removed from your property must be placed in SMVE common land, such as the wash behind your home.
When snakes are killed, or removed from SMVE, the packrat population increases.
While we do have rattlesnakes in our area, the most common being the Western Diamondback, we have other non-venomous snakes as well such as the Gopher (aka Bull) Snake and the Common Kingsnake.
Snakes are amazingly adept at climbing over our brick walls and sometimes appear in our yards or on patios in search of prey. Don’t panic! Snakes will usually move on if left alone. Do not attempt to pick up a snake. If you have a pet, keep it inside if a rattlesnake is in the yard. Learn how to recognize a rattler and distinguish it from a harmless gopher snake. Go to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum website and enter “snakes” in the Search box for useful information.
Even rattlesnakes are unlikely to strike a human unless they feel threatened. They perceive people as predators, not prey, and prefer to avoid us if given the chance.
Other tips for avoiding adverse rattlesnake interactions:
Never reach under a bush, into your irrigation control box, or any outdoor dark space without getting a good look first. Use a tool or pole to look under bushes.
Always take a flashlight or use the flashlight on your phone when walking outside in the dark; often snakes wander onto our roads for warmth at night.
Don’t walk in the desert barefoot or in open-toed shoes.
Keep your yard free of brush or rock piles and dense vegetation low to the ground.
Don’t leave pets unattended in your yard. If you do, consider snake avoidance training for your dog.
If you hear a rattle, the snake is warning you of its presence. STOP and locate the snake so you can avoid it.
Never pick up a dead rattlesnake with your hands. It may not be dead, and even if it is, it may still bite (reflexively) and envenomate.
Snakes can be active in winter if temperatures reach 70 degrees.
If you need a snake removed from your property, call or text SMVE residents Ted Forsberg at 520-203-6153 or Granny Grant at 301-641-5666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will respond as soon as possible and move the snake to a safe location away from your yard.
While we have many lizard species in our desert environment, the only venomous one is the Gila monster. These slow moving, large heavy-bodied lizards are no threat to humans unless you try to pick one up with your hands or your pet harasses it. If one gets into your yard, the best strategy is to leave it alone as it will move on in search of food or a mate. Gila monsters prey on newborn rodents, rabbits, and hares, ground nesting birds and lizards, as well as eggs from birds, lizards, and snakes. They live in burrows and according to some estimates spend 98 percent of their time in their burrow.
In 1952 the Gila monster became the first venomous animal in North America to be afforded legal protection; it is therefore illegal to collect, kill, or sell them in Arizona.
If you cannot reach either of us and are a Rural /Metro Fire subscriber, call and they will remove the snake for free, but insist that the snake is not harmed and is relocated on SMVE land.
An affiliate of the Pima Council on Aging, SNAP (Sunrise Neighborhood Assistance Program) was formed in order to assist seniors to live independently in their residences. Eight Sunrise HOAs are currently involved with SNAP. Its boundaries stretch from Sunrise Road to the north to River Road to the south, and from Craycroft Road to the west to Kolb Road to the east. Within those boundaries, seniors can receive free core services such as transportation, relief for a family caregiver, yard care and advice on how to coordinate care. Tiny Reed, a founder and co-ordinator for SNAP, spoke to our HOA on March 23rd and encouraged us to think of SNAP when we find it difficult to keep up with our regular routine, when we are ill, if we feel isolated or if we have a disability or chronic illness. A monthly SNAP luncheon offers us a social opportunity. It is a brown bag event held on the last Wednesday of the month starting at 11:30 AM at the Sunrise Mt. Ridge clubhouse (at the end of Loma del Bribon).
Another way to participate in SNAP activities is to volunteer in a variety of ways. Volunteering opportunities include telephoning, friendly visiting, assisting with transportation, and helping with mailings. Call SNAP at (520) 437-9556 for more information.
SNAP has arranged for tours of facilities that offer independent living, assisted living and memory care. Another such tour will take place on June 27th with a visit to Splendido at Rancho Vistoso. (Call SNAP at (520) 437-9556 about this.)