Persistent drought in the West has prompted federal agencies to begin hauling water to wild horse herds in Nevada and restricting public lands grazing across the region.
In one part of Lincoln County, Nev., the Bureau of Land Management said it is trucking 25,000 gallons of water per day, five days a week to four locations at a cost of $5,000 per day.
Temperatures in the state have soared well above normal, and at the same time Nevada has received scant rain -- 0.1 to 0.5 inches recently. The result, the BLM said, is "sparse, poor-quality forage," which also impacts wildlife and livestock that depend on federal land.
Agency workers have reported that some of the wild Mustangs were not drinking the trucked-in the water or eating supplemental hay, suggesting the animals were in stress. A federal veterinarian is expected to examine the animals this week.
More than 60% of the state is experiencing severe or extreme drought. In neighboring New Mexico, 93% of the state's range lands and pastures are in poor or very poor conditions, the BLM said.
The agency is asking federal land grazers to reduce the acres they use for livestock.