Elko District Office/Wild Horse & Burro

Little Humboldt Herd Management Area

The Little Humboldt HMA is located in northwestern Elko County, approximately 90 miles northwest of Elko, Nev. The area is within the Columbia Plateau and Great Basin physiographic regions. The HMA is located just south of the Owyhee Desert area within the Columbia Plateau and Great Basin physiographic regions. These regions are located in the Great Basin which is one of the largest deserts in the world.

It is characterized by a high rolling plateau underlain by basal flows covered with thin loess and alluvial mantel (see picture below). Elevations range from about 5,700 feet to 7,400 feet.

Precipitation ranges from seven inches in the valley bottoms to 16 to 18 inches in the mountains. Most of the precipitation comes during the winter months in the form of snow with the summer months being quite dry. Generally evaporation potential exceeds precipitation throughout the year. Temperatures range from the upper 90s in the summer to minus 15 in the winter.

Little Humboldt HMA (looking west).
Little Humboldt HMA (looking west)
The area is also utilized by domestic livestock and numerous wildlife species. The Little Humboldt HMA is bordered on the north by the Snowstorm Mountains HMA (managed by the Winnemucca District BLM), on the west by the South Fork of the Little Humboldt River and Little Humboldt Wilderness Study Area (WSA) and on the east by the Rock Creek HMA.

Water sources within the Little Humboldt HMA range from springs and seeps to perennial streams and the Castle Springs Pipeline. However, in dry years several of these water sources are unreliable. For this reason, the Castle Springs Pipeline was installed in 1982 to improve livestock and wild horse distribution and to reduce livestock and wild horse use on (and impacts to) seeps and springs in the Castle Ridge Pasture.

In general the vegetation consists of Wyoming big sagebrush, Sandberg bluegrass, squirreltail with scattered bluebunch wheatgrass and Indian ricegrass.

The wild horses in the HMA are descendants of Cavalry Remounts kept in the southern portion of the HMA in the early 1900’s or escaped from nearby ranches. The dominant colors are gray bay, black, brown and roan.

Map