At this time, no conclusive evidence points to why this herd has declined over the years. There is rumored to be an abundance of mountain lions in the area. It is also possible that because of poor habitat conditions, such as heavy (greater than 35 percent) woodland cover, the horses have migrated to an adjacent HMA. However, total population migrations over such a short period of time is highly unlikely and the adjacent HMAs are not showing an influx of animals of this magnitude.
Location: The Palmetto Herd Management Area (HMA) is located north and west of the town of Lida, Nevada, in Esmeralda County.
Size: The area consists of 115,359 acres of BLM land and 2,914 acres of a mix of private and other public lands for a total of 118,273 acres.
Topography/Vegetation: The Palmetto Herd Management Area (HMA)spans 23 miles wide and 11 miles long. It consists of mountainous terrain ranging from 6,000 feet in the valley to 9,285 feet in the Palmetto Mountains. The region receives 3 inches of annual precipitation in the valley bottoms and up to 12 inches on the mountain tops. Vegetation The sagebrush vegetation type occurs in mountains and hills with the upper elevations supporting a dense canopy of pinyon-pine, Utah juniper, and mountain-mahogany. Important species include Indian ricegrass, galleta grass, bottlebrush squirreltail, and needlegrass.