Drought conditions have intensified in much of Nevada and natural surface water sources in the Fish Creek herd management area south of Eureka are disappearing, the Bureau of Land Management says.
The bureau said it was now hauling water to horses in the Battle Mountain District to two locations where water has already dried up.
With the co-operation of several livestock grazing permittees, two developed water sources have been repaired and activated to give the horses added sources of water.
It says the wild horses are not in poor body condition at this time, but 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, it said, and the bureau was concerned about their health, particularly the foals.
The Fish Creek herd management area encompasses Antelope Valley and the Antelope and Fish Creek Mountains.
The appropriate management level is 107 to 180 wild horses. The current population is about 256 wild 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.”