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Water rights for wild horses questioned

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  • Water rights for wild horses questioned

    This is just creepy and wrong. Whatever you think about mustangs, IMHO if they're out there they deserve to have access to water.


    Water use for wild horses questioned by Nevada panel
    Associated Press

    CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- A Nevada wildlife committee has suggested mustangs and burros are not legally entitled to quench their thirst from water rights allocated to federal agencies to support wildlife.

    The Feral Horse Committee of the Nevada Wildlife Commission has drafted a letter to the state engineer, contending the federally protected horses are not wildlife under state law, and the animals' drinking of water does not constitute "beneficial use" as required for a water rights permit.

    Among other things, the committee wants the state engineer to instruct federal agencies to immediately remove any wild horses or burros "that are making unlawful use of Nevada waters," according to the letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

  • #2
    That's just obscene!!! Who do we write to??
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


    • #3
      Is there something more going on? Are they chasing other wildlife away from scarce water sources or something? Otherwise I can't imagine why anyone would try to argue this.
      Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


      • #4
        Well, if the argument is local farmers and native wildlife species need it, given the drought I can see removing feral invasives. Horses and burros are feral animals, not native wildlife.

        If it's just the people downriver in Las Vegas, turn off the fountains first and then we'll talk.
        Author Page
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        • Original Poster

          The way I read it, it's a new line of attack for people who want the horses off the range. I don't think there's a credible argument that the drinking needs of horses is significantly infringing on the availability of water for other uses, not even in the driest of the dry areas of the west.

          If you read the whole article, there's a meeting coming up on Tuesday.
          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


          • #6
            political grand standing between state and feds.

            Since they do assume the horses to belong to the BLM, that would conclude the feds own lifestock, no?

            But yeah, how about draining some of them fountains in Vegas...I hear they lose 4 inches a day to evaporation....lovely but wastefull.


            • #7
              Water policy is extremely complicated.

              There's definitely more to this than simply mustangs getting water.
              Pam's Pony Place

              Pam's Pony Ponderings


              • #8
                Differences in definitions between state and feds as well as water rights laws. Feds have 87% of this state in their hands one way or the other (BLM, Forest Service, Military bases, things like Area 51 etc). Mustangs and burros are protected under federal law while on Horse Management Areas but not while off of them or on state or private land. Feds can round up via BLM and place in holding for adoption but state rounds up and goes through steps to find the owner (yeah!), and then can dispose of them in any legal way they choose if no owner steps up...usually they go through a local auction. State considers them to be feral livestock. State issues water permits based on "best use" doctrine which is for livestock mostly. Feds don't consider them livestock but rather wild life. State doesn't issue water permits to supply wildlife. State feels that feds are circumventing state water rights laws by getting water permits for what the feds consider to be wildlife when state doesn't allow for that. Ranchers will continue to provide water tanks and maintain them for their cattle...so the mustangs will have water there just as they have had for a hundred years.
                Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                Northern NV


                • #9
                  Ranchers will continue to provide water tanks and maintain them for their cattle...so the mustangs will have water there just as they have had for a hundred years.
                  Ranchers are overlooked in their support of both mustangs and wildlife...they provide water (even if they have to haul it in in a water truck, which is very expensive), they repair the fences on their allotments, and they rotate the grazing with the objective of maintaining grazing (both under and overgrazing will damage the grazing resource).

                  It is going to gall me when the same folks who scream that ranchers just want the feral horses gone because they want to graze more cows, scream that the ranchers need to be paying out of pocket to water the feral horses. First of all, they do provide water, while there is grazing there for their cattle, and second, when the feral horses get overpopulated or learn to go through fences, the ranchers (and the BLM) can no longer maintain the grazing for anything appropriately, whether livestock, wildlife or feral horses-overgrazing is extremely damaging on the high desert ranges of the west.


                  • Original Poster

                    There are a lot of good ranchers out there, who look out not only for their own animals but for the mustangs and the wildlife.
                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                      There are a lot of good ranchers out there, who look out not only for their own animals but for the mustangs and the wildlife.
                      We have been a wildlife preserve, at our own cost, since 1957.
                      One we do is we provide special water access to wildlife even when we don't have cattle in those pastures, have specific tanks that are not turned off, have special small ponds on some tanks with special overflows constantly running so wildlife, that can't reach the tanks, have water.
                      We have special wildlife ladders on tanks so they can walk up and reach water and get back out without drowning in other tanks, some just floating boards in tanks so certain wildlife can get out of them.

                      We let some tanks overflow all winter so wildlife, especially antilope, can have water, when we don't use those pastures for cattle, as we do in the winter pastures during the dry summers we don't have cattle there, so that wildlife there can get water.

                      There have been years in the worst of droughts that we didn't graze not one head for several years, the last spell 1999 to 2003, but kept water going there for the wildlife, all that at our cost of money running the wells, repairs and checking them regularly, so no one went without water.
                      Lately converted a small 200ac+ field to migratory bird grasses, as they come by here regularly, that one with a government cost share program to buy and sow those grasses, as we were asked by the Department handling that to do so.
                      We lost production in those acres, for the common good, at mostly our cost.
                      That would be the equivalent of social services asking some restaurant to volunteer to offer, say, Meals on Wheels take out type food to some needy group. Some do.
                      Many migratory birds have been using that already, as there is a wildlife lake sanctuary right close to us they use for a stop during their migrations.

                      We are not the only ones, most everyone around here knows to tend to all critters in the land they take care of, it is part of what you do.

                      I always wonder about how some are so rabidly against ranchers, when they don't really have any earthly idea of what all we do.
                      Their information seems to come from listening to some with agendas, where "the land raping, animal abusing ranchers" are their handy scapegoat to ask for donations for their causes of the moment.


                      • #12
                        This is sick. I know congressman Nick Rahall II from W. VA does support some legislation for mustang protection, or a least he has in the past - perhaps he would be a good start?

                        Bluey, for what it's worth, I'm not against ranchers - it sounds like you are part of the good guys. There are some, though, that are not so good. Personally, I'm all for BC for mustangs. let's keep them as part of the American landscape, but we do not need so many.
                        Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
                        W. C. Fields