Capturing Water in the High Plains Desert

Lotus, 11-17-20-2

The McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Herd Management Area (HMA), where the wild horses roam, is called “high plains desert” country because of the scarcity of precipitation there.

Small reservoirs have proven to be effective for capturing runoff when available, thus providing life-giving water for the wild horses, other wildlife, and cattle that inhabit this vast, dry area.

In the last 15 years, FOAL has generously supported water-well projects, water distribution projects, and reservoir maintenance.

The photo above was taken in November 2020, when it came to BLM's and FOAL's attention that this reservoir was in dire need of restoration.  FOAL soon contracted with Jerry Nicholson of JN Dirt Services to do major maintenance on two reservoirs in order to greatly increase their holding capacities.

“Lotus”, along with “Swede”, were targeted because of their locations - being a considerable distance from other reliable water sources.  Our intent was to provide ample water so as to encourage animals to graze the areas near these reservoirs.  Better distribution of the grazers prevents overgrazing and thus enhances the habitat.

The following photo shows Phase I of the Lotus Restoration.

Lotus--First Work-36

FOAL contributed $20,000 for the work on Lotus and Swede Reservoirs.  Half of that money came through a grant from the Nancy-Carrol Draper Foundation. The remainder came through donations from our generous contributors.  We thank you!

Our successful reservoir work has been the impetus for FOAL to plan a ten-year campaign, dubbed the Living Waters Initiative.

The goal is to partner with the BLM and the local ranchers (with grazing permits for their cattle in the HMA) on a project to restore and maintain at least twenty strategically located reservoirs.

Here is what the Final Phase of the Lotus Restoration looks like now and we hope you will join us in our Living Waters Initiative!

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