As I am reporting today on the status of the Heber Wild Horses and all wildlife water issues there are clouds all around and I’m sure we are all thinking that just maybe we will get a smattering of rain today with the promise of our monsoon coming.
I contacted Mary Hauser, one of the members of the Heber Wild Horse Freedom Preservation Alliance. She had this to report on the critical water conditions in the forest for the horses and other wildlife.
“Our group has actively been hauling water to free standing water tanks that have been donated by various people and horse rescue groups since two weeks before the forest was closed. At the time we started to haul water most of the natural water supply had dried up. Once the forest was closed we had to request permits from the Forest Service to access the forest to fill the tanks. Time restrictions were put in place, and as well they requested particular location for the tanks. We have wonderful homeowners in the area that have donated the use of their wells free of charge. We are eternally grateful.
We have several ‘Water Angels’ driving their own vehicle sometimes twice a day into the forest to keep the tanks full. More and more wildlife as well as the horses are utilizing the tanks. It’s important to know that this life-giving water is supporting all of the creatures of the forest. When we first started to haul water several horses were found dead. However over the course of the six weeks they are starting to look quite a bit better moving around and acting more normal. We haven’t found any more dead animals but who’s to say we are restricted to one road in and one road out to the different location of the tanks. We can only hope for the best. We fully expect to keep up this vigilant work until the rains come. It’s also important to know that these are private citizens doing this project not forest service not game and fish. We ask God every day to open the sky and send down the rain.”
In a conversation today with Bob Birkeland, Arizona Game & Fish Department Supervisor of Pinetop Region he explained the purpose of this group. The Heber Wild Horse Territory Working Group is a group of 15 members that include ranchers, advocates, sportsman groups, private citizens and one veterinarian, Ole Alcumbrac, DVM. They are a diverse group who have been meeting on a monthly basis since August of 2017. Their goal is set for September 2018 when they will submit recommendations for the Heber Wild Horse Territorial Management Plan. At that time the Forest Service will document this information to the public on-line available for comment. He also stressed how complex and emotional the Heber Wild Horse issues are. He tells me since January 2018, 195,000 gallons of water have been supplied to 52 different water catchments only in our areas of Units 3 and 4.
I have a ‘Water Angel’ living on my road here in Overgaard by the of name Jackie Cox. I asked her for a comment today about her help with the group hauling water and she so humbly said, “I am just a grunt. I have a vehicle and two water tanks that are 200 and 350 gallons, so I can haul water to the horses and all the wildlife. It is a lot of hard work, but I consider it a blessing to be able to help.”
God bless each and every one of you ‘Water Angels’ and let’s all pray for rain!
“And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”