A Moab group has gained national recognition for efforts to help maintain bighorn sheep, antelope and other wildlife populations in San Juan and Grand counties.

The Canyonlands Wildlife Federation received the 1990 Volunteers for Public Lands Award this month in recognition of assistance to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in maintaining more than two dozen water basins for wildlife in the Moab desert.Cy Jamison, national BLM director, presented the award. Jamison was in Utah for a field tour of BLM districts in southeastern Utah and to attend the annual Governor's Conference on Tourism in St. George.

The BLM director cited several cooperative projects of the Canyonlands group and BLM, and said the members are to be commended for their dedication to wildlife preservation.

It was the first national award the group has received for their volunteer efforts, Bierschied said. The Moab organization last year received a state award for voluntarism in the water catchment program.

The Canyonlands Wildlife Federation, formed in 1985, is affiliated with the Utah Wildlife Federation and the Utah Wildlife Leadership Coalition.

Over the course of four years, the Canyonlands group took over maintenance of 26 water catchments established for wildlife in the San Juan and Grand Resource Areas of the Moab BLM District. The basins, which are carried to remote locations by helicopter, hold 1,000 gallons of water.

The basins were installed primarily for bighorn sheep, but pronghorn antelope, chukars, prairie chickens, chipmunks and various other small animals also benefit.