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Sand Springs West HMA
Wild horses in the Sand Springs East HMA possess a variety of colors although there is a preponderance of brown, bay, and sorrel horses. Other colors present within the HMA are red and blue roan, black, pinto, and sevina. The horses exhibit generally good conformation and good size. It is known that these horses are descendants of ranch stock and horses that belonged to miners in the area, that were released and became wild. They are probably descended from Quarter horse, Thoroughbred, Morgan and other draft breeds, based on the history of the area.
Location: The HMA is located approximately 55 miles west-southwest of Ely, Nevada.
Size: The area consists of 152,277 acres of BLM land.
Topography/Vegetation: The herd area is bounded on the north, west, and south by the Battle Mountain BLM District boundary which is effectively delineated by either fences or mountainous areas. The east boundary is the east bench of the south Pancake Range and the Duckwater Indian Reservation (Railroad Valley).
Elevations range from about 6,000 feet in the valleys, to 9,240 feet in the Portuguese Mountains in the southeast portion of the HMA. The climate of the area is arid to semiarid. Temperatures range from summer maximums as high as 100 degrees F. to winter lows falling well below zero. The growing season is between 90 and 120 days. Prevailing winds are from the south-southwest in the summer and from the north in the winter. Annual average precipitation varies from 20 inches in higher elevations to 6 inches in the valley bottoms.
Small riparian areas are scattered throughout the area around the springs, seeps, and small creeks.
Wildlife: The herd area supports a variety of wildlife. This region provides limited summer and winter habitat for mule deer. There are an estimated 100-150 pronghorn antelope found yearlong in Little Smoky and Big Sand Springs Valleys. Bald eagles and sage grouse can also be found throughout the herd area. Amphibians, reptiles, mammals, rodents, raptors, and passerine bird species common to the Great Basin can be found in the area.