Guzzler Hotline Up and Running

Artificial water developments, or guzzlers as they’re commonly called, literally blanket Nevada. And with almost 1,600 guzzlers statewide to keep track of, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) needs all the help it can get to properly maintain these devices that are critical to the survival of the state’s wildlife. Now with the creation of the NDOW guzzler maintenance hotline at (775) 688-1537, Nevada sportsmen can lend a hand by reporting any guzzler problems they see while afield.

So what exactly is a guzzler? Guzzlers are metal structures built in suitable wildlife habitats to provide an additional source of water for all types of wildlife. The structure collects snowmelt and rainwater and stores it in tanks, which then feed the water to a drinker that can be accessed by wildlife. Nevada’s 332 large guzzlers, designed for big game like deer, bighorn sheep and antelope have a 3,600 gallon capacity, while 1,232 small guzzlers, favored by upland game like chukar, sage grouse and rabbits have a 325 gallon capacity.

The survival of Nevada’s wildlife is partially dependant on their adaptability to the state’s arid conditions and the ability to find water sources, ranging from natural springs or puddles to raindrops on leaves and dew on grass. Lack of water can sometimes lead wildlife to turn away from quality Nevada habitats that would otherwise suit their needs. Guzzlers allow Nevada’s wildlife to take advantage of this otherwise suitable habitat.

The idea for the guzzler hotline is the result of suggestions by concerned citizens who wanted an easier way to report guzzler issues to NDOW, according to John Gebhardt, wildlife staff biologist in charge of the guzzler program. “Before the hotline, anyone wanting to report issues with a guzzler could fill out a guzzler maintenance form found on the agency website at www.ndow.org,” said Gebhardt. “But we heard comments that the form was hard to find or that some didn’t understand the form’s purpose. So we created the hotline as a simple, more convenient method to report problems.”

And while Gebhardt says maintenance related issues such as vandalism, holes in storage tanks, piping leaks and broken drinkers are among the reasons for most calls, he welcomes other information as well. “In addition to damage reports we’re also interested in wildlife usage, water quality and quantity in the storage tanks, condition of vegetation in the vicinity and any other observations folks may have noted during their visit. We ask they provide us with the date and time of the visit, name of the guzzler if a sign is present, location – with GPS coordinates if possible – and as many other details as they can provide,” explained Gebhardt. “There are a lot of sportsman’s dollars invested in these water developments and it is much easier and more cost effective to maintain existing guzzlers than build new ones. Now with the hotline the public can help NDOW make the most of that investment.”

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. For more information, visit www.ndow.org.


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