Range Water and Rangeland Conservation
The Hualapai Department of Natural Resources Range Water Program engages in a variety of proactive and mitigating efforts to address the damaging impacts of constant threat of drought to pastures and grasslands regularly by planning and implementing management systems to preserve and improve domestic and wildlife grazing habitat.
Conservation and restoration of soil, water, plant, animal and related resources is a critical issue being addressed by our program. Soil erosion is caused by a number of factors including; wind, water, people and animals. A wide range of practices that help with conservation efforts include irrigation engineering, drainage and water distribution; tillage techniques, contouring, and land use selection.
Range Management includes a regular practice of rangeland trend and condition monitoring. However, in 2010, the Agriculture Program of the Hualapai Department of Natural Resources contracted with Parametrix Company of Albuquerque, New Mexico to assist in conducting a full blown vegetation inventory survey of the Hualapai Reservation for vegetative production, cover and mapping to assess the estimated carrying capacities and stocking rates for districts two and three.
Studies conducted classify and delineate vegetation communities by selecting random sections and sampling plots for survey. Vegetation Inventory is carried out in phases. Aerial photos and maps are interpreted in estimating vegetation polygon characteristics.
The work then continues with ground sampling ecological site areas determined to be of significance by the Range Specialist. A number of sampling plot locations are chosen for the ground work. The ground sampling phase provides the information necessary to determine how much of a given characteristic is within the inventory area.
Plant production measurements are then calibrated and used to determine the total amount of vegetation existing within that ecological site and range. The data collected is processed and the resulting pounds per acre are calculated and shared with the cattle districts for management purposes.
Noxious Weed Control
Indian Route 18 offers the only paved road source for ranches and private homes on the Hualapai Reservation. It is also the only access for tourism traffic to and from Supai. There is a high amount of traffic for this rural area. Non-native plants present a serious problem in range land, especially in the areas where high volumes of traffic continue. Weeds and grasses often become introduced into the land by way of stray seeds falling from vehicles which transport bio-product across the Hualapai Reservation. This bio-product includes frequent hay deliveries made to ranches nearby the reservation's boundaries.
Selected herbicides have been utilized by Range Management to combat the invasive species of weeds and thistles encroaching onto rangeland from along the roadways. These herbicides work to eliminate weeds and have little or no effect on native grasses.
The cost of neglecting to control the infestation of non-native plants could significantly impact the Hualapai Reservation with high losses in native grass inventory. Noxious weeds are mapped out by the Range Specialist and prioritized for control actions. Weed control techniques target wild plant populations during specific seasonal outbreaks and strategic misting of plant bodies for effective management. Long range practices include regular follow up visits to affected sites and secondary treatments applied to the noxious weeds.
Water and Pipelines
Water sources affected by climatic changes are often unavailable or insufficient to adequately meet the demands of large numbers of cattle. Installation of water pipelines on the Hualapai Tribe’s rangeland is crucial to managing livestock and maintaining proper numbers. The Hualapai Department of Natural Resources has laid over three hundred miles of water pipeline to enhance watering sites and meet the demand for water by domestic livestock and native wildlife species.
In the Eastern half of the Hualapai Reservation there are approximately 200 miles of pipeline installed. Sources of water come from the Peach Springs and Frazier Wells areas, and then pumped to several storage tank locations from where gravity feeds fill the numerous cattle drinker sites on rangelands.
In the Western half of the Hualapai Reservation approximately 100 miles of pipeline have been installed. This includes all mainline piping with a number of laterals flowing from them to various cattle drinker sites. The main source of water for the West Side of the Reservation comes from the Mud Tank Well sites and West Water Well.
The Agriculture Program personnel work long hours during freezing cold weather to respond to repair (frozen pipes) and to sustain water for the thirsty livestock. Not only do cattle go to the water troughs to drink water, but wildlife such as Elk and Deer also utilize drinkers. During the extreme hot weather in the Summer time, the water pumps barely keep up with the demand for water.
Lightning strikes are also a troublesome phenomenon. Lightning can burn out a water pump preventing the delivery of water to thirsting cattle and wildlife during periods of drought. This can present a dangerous situation as cattle and wildlife can die of thirst within a few short hours.
The cattle association districts, Hualapai Agricultural Program, Range Water program and the Geographical Information System (GIS) technicians coordinate efforts to map out the extent of the water distribution system throughout the Hualapai Reservation. Information included in the mapping are appropriate data such as location of all storage tanks, troughs and dirt tanks.
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