As drought conditions continue to plague the West, Nevada wildlife officials are working to ensure that the animals that need extra water receive it. Over next week or so, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) will be hauling approximately 55,000 gallons of water to roughly 12 “guzzlers” in the mountain ranges that stretch across the southern portion of the state, according to FOX 5 News-Las Vegas.
The additional water will not only help the desert bighorn sheep population, but other wildlife, too.
“Normally it’s the seasonal rains we get between November and February that fills these tanks up and then they get replenished with the monsoons. We really haven’t had either one of those for a while,” said NDOW’s Douglas Nielsen.
Guzzlers are water storage systems that provide water to wildlife during the parched summer months. Without seasonal rains, the guzzlers haven’t been replenished, according to FOX 5 News-Las Vegas. Using helicopters, NDOW will carry 180 gallons at a time using Bambi Buckets that are like the ones used to fight wildfires.
Last year, NDOW and other partners and volunteers carried over 167,000 gallons of water to fill 30 different guzzlers across the state. The agency hopes that this year’s efforts will help desert bighorn sheep and other area wildlife during these parched months.
“In 1967 we had about 2,500 to 3,000 bighorn sheep statewide and today thanks to projects like guzzlers or our trapping and transplanting efforts, we’re up to about 12,000 sheep statewide,” said Nielsen.