MORMON MOUNTAINS HERD MANAGEMENT AREA, NV
The Meadow Valley Mountains, Blue Nose Peak, and Mormon Mountains Herd Management
Areas (HMAs) are located in south-central Lincoln County, Nevada approximately 25 miles
south of Caliente, NV. These HMAs roughly total 319,211 acres in size and are bordered on the west by the Meadow Valley Mountains and on the east by the Tule Desert. Meadow Valley Wash is a prominent feature through the center of the HMAs. Climate in the area is quite harsh, with winter temperatures well below freezing and summer temperature well over 100 degrees F. The area has had snow in May and 90 degree heat as late as November 1st. Rainfall averages only 4-6 inches per year, divided almost equally between summer and winter. Summer rains are localized, short and very intense while winter/spring rains are gentler and over a wider area. Permanent water sources consist of several small springs, Meadow Valley Wash, as well as pipelines and troughs developed for livestock watering. The animals sometimes have to travel several miles from food to water and back during the drier part of the year. Horses drink at least once each day during the hotter part of the year, but only every second day during the winter and early spring.
The horses share the area with desert bighorn sheep, desert mule deer, coyotes, kit fox, bobcats, and mountain lions, as well as many species of small wildlife. Birds include the Federally listed endangered Southwest Willow Flycatcher, the rare prairie falcon, ravens, quail, starlings, horned larks and many more. Reptiles include the Federally listed threatened species the Desert Tortoise as well as many species of lizards and both poisonous (rattlesnakes) and nonpoisonous snakes.
The vegetation within the HMAs is typical of the transition between the Great Basin Desert types (big sagebrush and bunch grasses) and the Mojave desert shrub (low growing and able to survive long periods of drought). The vegetation is dominated by blackbrush communities with very little grass in the understory. Scattered pockets of plant communities made up of plants such as creosote bush, saltbush, and rabbitbrush, with grasses such as galleta grass and Indian ricegrass also exist. The Meadow Valley Mountains contain pinyon pine and juniper trees, with an
understory of sagebrush and other mountain shrubs and small amount of grass. The scattered pockets of perennial grasses within the blackbrush and annual grass species (red brome and cheatgrass) supply the forage for the horses.
The horses that exist within these HMAs are generally descendants of early ranch horses and cavalry remount horses. These horses show bloodlines of quarter horses, Arabians, thoroughbreds, and many other breeds including draft horses. The predominate colors are bay and sorrel with buckskins and palominos being common along with colors occurring, also. These horses average approximately 13-14 hands tall and weigh about 600-800 pounds.