BLACK ROCK WEST HERD MANAGEMENT AREA
The Black Rock Range - East and West Herd Management Areas (HMAs) are located in western Humboldt County approximately 70 air miles northwest of Winnemucca, Nevada and 40 air miles southwest of Denio, Nevada. The terrain consists of a steep north-south trending mountain range made up of volcanic materials with broad sloping ridge tops in the north. Elevations within the HMAs range from 4,400 feet along the Black Rock Desert to 8,687 feet at Big Mountain. Prominent features found within or near the HMAs include the Black Rock Desert, Bartlett Peak, Big Mountain (Pahute Peak), and Coleman, Slumgullion, Bartlett, Battle, and Paiute Creeks. Climate is characterized by warm dry days, cool nights and low yearly precipitation that ranges from 6 to 8 inches at lower elevations to approximately 14 inches at higher elevations.
Vegetation varies from salt desert shrub communities along the Black Rock Desert, to low and big sagebrush/grass communities with intermingled mountain browse at upper elevations. Typical species in the salt desert shrub community include shadscale, budsage, bailey and black greasewood, indian ricegrass, and squirrel tail. Species in the low sagebrush community include low sage, needle grasses, squirrel tail and Sandbergs bluegrass. Species typical of the sagebrush/grass and mountain browse communities include mountain big sagebrush, bitterbrush, mountain mahogany, aspen, snowberry, rabbit brush, horse brush, needlegrasses, basin wild rye, squirrel tail, indian paintbrush, arrowleaf balsamroot, and phlox. Range grasses area the primary forage source for wild horses.
The appropriate management level (AML) for wild horses in the HMAs is managed in a range from 121 to 186 head. Periodic removals are conducted to maintain the population within the management range. Horses are found throughout the area and move back and forth between the HMAs. The horses are descendants of ranch horses released or escaped into the area, and look much like domestic horses. The majority of the horses exhibit a bay, brown or sorrel color pattern; however there are also palominos, buckskins, roans, grays, blacks and whites. There is a small band of Baskir Curly horses around Pinto Mountain, just east of the Black Rock Range - East HMA. It is not possible to provide any specific information on parentage of any wild horse found within the area.
The area is utilized by domestic livestock during a portion of the year, and numerous wildlife species. Wildlife species typically found in the area include mule deer, pronghorn antelope, California bighorn sheep, rodents, and lagomorphs. Other important game species found within the HMAs are brook trout, quail, chukar partridge, and sage grouse.
The Lahontan cutthroat trout is the only threatened species that occurs within the HMAs. The North Fork of Battle Creek is being considered as a potential recovery stream for the species.