BLM ensures wild horses will have water

Cross-posted from the Elko Daily Free Press
October 11, 2013 4:45 pm  •  By DYLAN WOOLF HARRIS 

ELKO — Reports that wild horses were without water prompted local Bureau of Land Management to investigate this week.

Contracted water hauler Jackie Wiscombe told the county commission Wednesday that the federal government shutdown had prohibited her from watering wild horses in Ruby Valley and Deer Springs, an area about 15 miles north of Currie.

She said she was concerned the animals were dying of thirst. The road to Deer Springs had been washed out, Wiscombe added, and she was unable to drive to the guzzlers.

Alerted by the news, BLM Elko District Director Jill Silvey said an employee was sent to Deer Springs to check on water and horse conditions.

The BLM employee was able to get to Deer Springs on a road that had some washout but was passable, Silvey said. The employee also reported that the horse guzzler still had water.

The employee didn’t see any horses, but because water was available, she said, the BLM believes the horses to be in good shape.

Silvey was unsure where the communication broke down, but said hauling water to the horses is an essential service and the BLM didn’t intend for Wiscombe to stop watering the two areas.

Wiscombe said she was contacted Thursday night and told that she should have received an email and voice message when the shutdown began, telling her to continue hauling water.

Wiscombe is also unsure how the miscommunication occurred, but couldn’t recall getting an email.

In any event, Wiscombe said she’s glad to be working with the agency again.

“I like working with this BLM office,” she said, “and they really do care about these wild horses.”

Mostly, she’s happy to be watering horses again.

On Friday she hauled water to Ruby Valley where the tubs were “bone dry.”

Wiscombe said she didn’t see any horses but did find fresh horse tracks near the guzzlers.

“I filled them up,” she said. “And I’ll go fill them back up in a few days.”

Commissioner Demar Dahl said Wednesday he could help fix a road if it was impassable.

Wiscombe said she would keep in contact with the commission if the road needed repair.

The Elko District BLM office is closed. Almost all of its employees have been on furlough since Oct. 1, when the federal government shut down.

Link to the Elko Daily Free Press: