DATE: June 1, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Brown (775) 753-0386
ELKO FIELD OFFICE: 2004-42
FIRE CREW BUILDS WILDLIFE GUZZLER
When they’re not fighting fires, the Ruby Mountain Hot Shot fire fighters can turn their
hand to just about any project – including building a wildlife guzzler that was airlifted into a
remote section of the Spruce Mountains south of Wells, Nevada.
The Spruce Mountain guzzler was the 12th guzzler built in a five-year
partnership project that is now in its third year. The partnership includes the Nevada Department
of Wildlife, Wildlife Heritage Trust Account, the Soil Water Enhancement Action Team Coalition
(a local volunteer group affiliated with the Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group), Rocky
Mountain Elko Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, Elko Bighorns, Boss Tanks of Elko, and the
Bureau of Land Management. Depending on available funding, the partnership tries to build four
to six developments each year.
This most recent project was built in the Spruce Mountains about 60 miles south of Wells.
All the materials were airlifted into the project site with the help of the Elko BLM Helitack Crew
and El Aero Services helicopters from Elko. The Ruby Mountain Hot Shot Crew hiked about one
mile to the project site and were able to build the entire development in one day using only hand
The wildlife water developments or “guzzlers” are designed to collect water from rain and
snow, storing it in tanks for use by wildlife in various mountain ranges where water is the only
factor limiting wildlife distribution. Each development has an apron made of metal or polyethylene
which collects the water and directs it to an 1,800- gallon tank. Each development has two tanks.
BLM Elko Wildlife Biologist Ray Lister commented, “The wildlife water developments
would not be done without the partnership. Northeast Nevada has many isolated mountain ranges
that provide excellent wildlife habitat. The most limiting factor, however, is water. Construc tion of
these wildlife water developments will help provide water on a year- long basis in an effort to
enhance wildlife values, making beneficial use of available habitat. In some instances, these
wildlife water developments are designed to improve big ga me distributions on public lands,
mitigating impacts to adjacent private land resources.”
In addition to the generous donations of time and money from the partners, BLM has been
able to secure matching funds from the Cooperative Conservation Initiative program which focuses
on wildlife habitat enhancement. The program requires a minimum 1:1 match of non-federal
The Nevada Department of Wildlife and BLM are planning a volunteer effort to construct
another similar water development on June 26th, 2004. Each year, at least one guzzler has been
built by volunteers. As many as 30 volunteers have come out to participate, donating their time and
efforts to construct these wildlife water developments.
If people are interested in participating in the June 26th project, please contact Ray Lister at
BLM (753-0222) or Joe Doucette at NDOW (777-2305). Volunteer time and labor is used to apply
for matching federal funding for future developments.