DVIDS – News – Bighorn sheep, wild horses and more, call Hawthorne Army Depot home

DVIDS – News – Bighorn sheep, wild horses and more, call Hawthorne Army Depot home

Located in western Nevada, the Hawthorne Army Depot plays a critical role in the storage, maintenance and demilitarization of conventional ammunition and related items for the U.S. military.

HWAD, a subordinate of the Joint Munitions Command, also serves as home to an abundance of wildlife. In the 1980s, in collaboration with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, approximately twenty Nelson’s bighorn sheep were moved from southern Nevada to Mount Grant.

More than 220 bighorn sheep were counted at HWAD in 2018, and they continue to thrive at the depot.

“The NDOW has increased the number of hunting tags for this region to three and bagging a bighorn sheep is quite an achievement,” said Charles “Chuck” King, director of base operations at HWAD. “These sheep are very well camouflaged and hard to see when you drive along the cliffs, but they are there.”

In addition to bighorn sheep, another project that HWAD and NDOW are working together on is the release of Lahonton cutthroat trout and Tui chub into the creeks on Mount Grant.

Walker Lake and Pyramid Lake, located in Nixon, Nevada, about 120 miles north of HWAD, once formed one body of water known as Lahonton Lake. This lake was the exclusive habitat for Lahonton cutthroat trout. As the climate changed and the lakes underwent changes, Lahonton trout thrived individually in each body of water. Currently, both Lahonton trout and Tui chub thrive in the creeks they inhabit.

In the latter part of the 19th century, settlement began in Mason Valley and the Walker Lake basin. With the onset of agricultural activity, river water intended for Walker Lake was diverted, leading to a significant increase in total dissolved solids over the past 150 years. This increase in TDS has made the lake unsuitable for sustaining aquatic life. The Bureau of Land Management estimates that Walker Lake has lost 80% of its volume over the past century and a half.

Led by the BLM, a herd of wild (feral) horses has been part of HWAD for more than 50 years. There are approximately 250 horses roaming the Wassuk Herd Management Area.

“HWAD has been a community partner in the Walker Lake Valley for nearly 100 years,” said Larry Cruz, representative of the HWAD commander. “Our commitment to the region’s people, the environment and the positive improvement of natural resources come together in a way that highlights the Army’s commitment to environmental stewardship.”

Date of recording: 05.07.2024
Date posted: 05.07.2024 07:38
Story ID: 470507

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