According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of July 30, 2013, approximately 88% of the state of Nevada is experiencing severe or extreme drought. Drought conditions have caused reduced forage production and water availability for wild horses and wildlife within and areas adjacent to Gold Mountain and Fish Lake Valley HMAs. The TFO is implementing an analyzed Drought Response Action in the form of a drought wild horse gather, in response to exceeded Drought Response Triggers analyzed in the Drought EA within the aforementioned HMAs.
About the Fish Lake Valley HMA
The Fish Lake Valley HMA is located on the BLM TFO administered lands primarily west of the Highway 264 and south of Highway 6 in Esmeralda County, Nevada. The HMA encompasses an area 7 miles wide and 24 miles long. Elevations within the HMA range from a high of 8,960 feet in the White Mountains to a low of 4,880 feet west of Dyer. The area generally receives 3 inches of precipitation in the valley bottoms and up to 12 inches on the mountain slopes. The vegetative communities are dominated by the salt desert shrub vegetation type, followed by the alkaline meadows and bottoms vegetation type (which tend to occur in the broad valleys), and in the higher precipitation zone are the sagebrush and pinyon-juniper woodland vegetation types. Multiple perennial streams and water sources are known throughout the HMA, albeit several are on private land. The AML for the Fish Lake Valley HMA is 54 wild horses and the current population estimate is 229 wild horses.
About the Gold Mountain HMA
The Gold Mountain HMA is located on BLM TFO administered lands approximately 6 miles west of Scotty's Junction (U.S. Highway 95) in Nye and Esmeralda Counties, Nevada. The Gold Mountain HMA encompasses an area 17 miles wide and 13 miles long, varying in elevation from 7,565 feet on Mt. Tokop, to a low of 4,040 feet in Oriental Wash. Average annual precipitation at lower elevations is about 3 inches to approximately 12 inches at higher 2 elevations. The salt desert shrub vegetation type dominates the broad valleys on alluvial fans and in the lower foothills of the lower elevation areas. The hot desert vegetation is limited to the southern portion of the area and is located in valleys and low hills. The sagebrush vegetation type occurs in mountains and hills and the pinyon-juniper woodland vegetation type is present in mountainous areas. The appropriate management level (AML) for the Gold Mountain HMA is 78 burros, 0 wild horses. The current population estimate is 33 wild horses and 1 mule.