Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Heat and drought have greatly reduced food and water for livestock and wild horses in West

A heat wave and persistent drought across much of the West have significantly reduced food and water supplies for livestock and wild horses, which often share the same food sources, says the Bureau of Land Management.

"As drought conditions continue, wild horses, livestock, and wildlife that rely on rangeland forage and water will face extremely challenging conditions that may leave them in very poor condition," the BLM said. "We are taking action to address these situations as quickly and as effectively as we can, but our options are increasingly limited by conditions on the land." (Reno-Gazette Journal photo by Marilyn Newton: A wild horse breaks free from a roundup outside Reno)

Temperatures have reached 100 degrees in Nevada, 10 degrees higher than normal, and several states had record-setting heat during June and early July, Doug Stanglin reports for USA Today. Albuquerque hit 105, the highest temperature since 1994, Susan Montoya Bryan reports for The Associated Press. The BLM said 93 percent of rangelands and pastures in New Mexico are in poor or very poor conditions. The number is 59 percent in Colorado, 35 percent in Wyoming, and 17 percent in Utah. "In Montana, ranchers are being asked to limit their cows and sheep to 70 percent of their allotted forage," Phil Taylor reports for Environment & Energy News. "In Nevada, where more than 60 percent of the state is experiencing severe or extreme drought, BLM is hauling thousands of gallons of water daily to wild horse herds."

Continued heat in northwest Nevada has forced BLM to truck in 25,000 gallons a week to wild horses in four locations, costing taxpayers $5,000 a week, Taylor reports. Some animals aren't drinking the water, which has raised concerns about their health. BLM also plans to install sprinklers at a center for wild horses and burros near Reno. (Read more)

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