BATTLE MOUNTAIN — Drought conditions have intensified in much of Nevada and natural surface water sources in the Fish Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) south of Eureka, Nev., are being adversely affected and are disappearing. In an effort to ensure the health of wild horses in this HMA, water is being hauled by the Battle Mountain District to two locations where the water has already dried up.
With the cooperation of several livestock grazing permittees, two developed water sources have been repaired and activated to give the horses added sources of water. The wild horses are not in poor body condition at this time; however, that could change in a very short period of time due to extended drought conditions. Some horses are showing signs of drought stress and losing weight, and the BLM is concerned about their health, particularly the foals.
The Fish Creek HMA encompasses Antelope Valley and the Antelope and Fish Creek Mountains. The Appropriate Management Level (AML) is 107 to 180 wild horses. The current population is about 256 horses. Water was hauled to this HMA in 2000 and 2004 due to severe drought conditions and subsequently an emergency wild horse gather was implemented in order to save them from suffering due to lack of forage and water.
“We are frequently monitoring the condition of the wild horses, forage and water availability,” said Battle Mountain District Manager Doug Furtado. “If drought conditions worsen, water-trapping or other drought response actions such as moving wild horses to other areas within the HMA that have suitable water and forage, could be implemented. A large-scale emergency drought gather would be used as a last resort if conditions significantly deteriorate as the summer progresses.”
For more information, contact Shawna Richardson, wild horse and burro specialist, by calling 635-4181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.