New Wildlife Water Projects Installed

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The Nevada Division of Wildlife (NDOW), in conjunction with the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn and the Reno Chapter of Nevada Bighorns Unlimited (NBU), demonstrated their commitment to wildlife by completing two water development projects in the Last Chance Mountain Range north of Pahrump.

Water developments (also called guzzlers) are artificial water sources that are strategically placed in the desert. They consist of a metal apron that catches rainwater and channels it into storage tanks. The water is then piped to a trough or drinker in which wildlife can take a drink. “These projects are very critical for wildlife especially in southern Nevada where most natural water sources are used by people,” said Craig Stevenson, NDOW Habitat Biologist.

Both projects are located in isolated areas of the mountain range and required the use of a helicopter to fly in both people and materials. “The locations of the projects were selected following surveys conducted by NDOW. They were determined to be the best location based on habitat and area wildlife species that would benefit the most,” said Bill Vasconi, President of the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn.

“This was a labor of love,” added Vasconi. Seventy-three volunteers participated in this project. Three people from Wyoming, six from Reno, and the rest from southern Nevada took part in this two-day project.

The first project, called Last Chance #7, was a completely new project. It consisted of a 3,200 square foot metal collection apron, four 1,800-gallon water storage tanks and a drinker. The entire project was painted and designed so that it would not detract from the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside. “This project was completed in one day,” Vasconi added. The project cost $31,000 and was completely funded by the Reno Chapter of NBU. It was dedicated to Harry J. Giesler, a longtime resident of Indian Springs, who was an avid outdoorsman.

The second project, called Last Chance #3, was a water development improvement project. A 42 foot x 80 foot metal collection apron was added along with two additional 1,800-gallon storage tanks. This project was funded by the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn at a cost of $24,000.

The Fraternity and NBU are volunteer organizations dedicated to the utilization, conservation and welfare of bighorn sheep. Water development projects are completed in support of various governmental agencies responsible for the management of the bighorn sheep and their habitat.