Elko District Office/Wild Horse & Burro
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Spruce-Pequop Herd Management Area

The Spruce-Pequop Herd Management Area (HMA) is located approximately 45 miles southeast of Elko, Nev. The HMA is 22 miles wide, 23 miles long and encompasses 214,150 acres of public land and 9,419 acres of private land for a total of 223,569 acres.

The area is within the Great Basin physiographic region. This region is located in the Great Basin which is one of the largest deserts in the world. The Great Basin is effectively cut off from the westerly flow of Pacific moisture. Orographic uplift of crossing air masses by the Sierra and the Cascades provides cooling and precipitates much of the moisture out. The result is a Dry Steppe cold climate classification for most of the Great Basin. The climate is typical of middle latitude, semi-arid lands where evaporation potential exceeds precipitation throughout the year. Precipitation normally ranges from approximately five to seven inches on the valley bottoms to 16 to 18 inches on the mountain peaks. Most of this precipitation comes in the form of snow occurring primarily in the winter and spring with the summers being quite dry.

Temperatures range from greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months to minus 15 degrees or colder in the mountains in the winter. On many of the low hills and ridges that are scattered throughout the area, the soils are underlain by bedrock. The HMA is occasionally cut by deep, walled canyons. The south end of the Pequop Mountains and Spruce Mountain and Spruce Mountain Ridge run down the center of the HMA. Goshute and Steptoe Valleys make up the eastern portion of the HMA and the western portion of the HMA is located in Clover Valley. Elevations range from about 5,600 feet to 10,200 feet on Spruce Mountain.

The Spruce-Pequop HMA also provides seasonal or year-long habitat for mule deer, pronghorn and other wildlife species.

Water sources within the Spruce-Pequop HMA are from small springs and seeps.

Aerial views of Spruce-Pequop HMA 

Spruce West SideSpruce South Side
The west side of the Spruce-Pequop HMA looking toward Spruce Mountain.
A view of Spruce-Pequop HMA from the south.

In general, the vegetation consists of big sagebrush-grass and low sagebrush-grass, montane shrub, salt desert shrub, black sagebrush, winterfat, pinyon-juniper, and montane riparian communities.

The foothills and mountain areas are dominated by big sagebrush-grass and low sagebrush-grass types. Primary shrubs are big sagebrush, low sagebrush and rabbitbrush. Major grass species include bluebunch wheatgrass, Indian ricegrass, Sandberg‘s bluegrass, needlegrass, and bottlebrush squirreltail. Forbs include milkvetch, arrowleaf balsamroot, lupine, phlox, and aster. The higher mountainous areas support mountain browse species that include serviceberry, snowberry, and antelope bitterbrush. Riparian areas at high elevations support cottonwood and wild rose.

The valleys are dominated by salt desert shrub and black sagebrush communities which consist of winterfat, shadscale, bud sagebrush, black sagebrush, and rabbitbrush. Major grass species in the valleys include Indian ricegrass, Sandberg‘s bluegrass, needlegrass, and bottlebrush squirreltail. Forbs include milkvetch, lupine, phlox, and aster.

In the Spruce-Pequop HMA wild horses have been part of the range environment in the Great Basin since contemporary livestock grazing began in the mid 1800‘s. The wild horses in the Spruce-Pequop HMA are descendants from horses used by homesteaders, ranchers and miners. There is some evidence the Army Remount Service was active in at least part of the area during the early 1900‘s to the early 1940‘s. The dominant colors are bay, sorrel, black, brown, buckskin, gray and dun.


Last updated: 02-07-2012