UTAH DROUGHT 2021

Wildlife Biologists Considering Flying Fresh Water To Herds On Antelope Island

Jul 28, 2021, 5:23 PM | Updated: Jul 29, 2021, 11:37 am

ANTELOPE ISLAND, Utah — The drought across the western United States is now impacting wildlife at Antelope Island in ways not seen in decades. It’s bad enough biologists are considering something they have never done before: flying fresh water into the wilderness.

Experts said the bison on the island have what they need in the form of a 100,000-gallon tank installed a few years ago.

The biggest concern is for the herd of roughly 30 bighorn sheep on the island. The sheep typically like to stay in the steep terrain where a lot of freshwater resources are already dried up. This herd, which was brought to the island in January 2020, immediately used manmade guzzlers for their water, which Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologist Steve Bates said have now dried up.

That’s why biologists with the state park and DWR are considering flying a fresh supply here with a helicopter, something they’ve never considered before.

“This is something new to us out here,” Bates said. “For the past 20 years, there’s always been sufficient moisture here on the island to carry the wildlife through.”

(KSL TV) (KSL TV) (KSL TV) (KSL TV) Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologist Steve Bates. (KSL TV)

Bates said in the worst case, there will likely be enough spring water to last through the season. But he doesn’t want the Bighorn to forget the guzzlers as a primary source.

“We had a population of bighorn that died out a couple of years ago,” he said. “When we brought in the new population, they immediately went to the guzzlers, to use them. And so this is kind of a proactive preventive means. I don’t want them to lose contact with those guzzlers as a source of water.”

Now the challenge is figuring out the best way to fly a large amount of water out to an island surrounded by saltwater. It will likely be a few weeks before that happens. Bates said he is also concerned about the springs on the island because even if Utah does have heavy snowfall next year, it typically takes weeks or months before that flow comes into the springs.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Utah Drought 2021

Tooele sunrise...
Carter Williams, KSL.com

Snow advisories could bring up to 14 inches of snow Friday night

The snow is back, yet again. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the Wasatch Mountains, where 6 to 14 inches or more of snow is forecast between Friday and Saturday. It remains in effect through late Saturday afternoon.
3 days ago
pink clouds are resting on dark blue mountains....
Carter Williams, ksl.com

Utah’s snowpack to get another boost, as another storm arrives this weekend

Utah's mountain snowpack is about to get another boost.
17 days ago
Snow depth doubled in 30 days...
Jed Boal

Researcher: Snow depth doubles in 30 days at some sites

The snow keeps piling up quickly in Utah’s mountains, delivering the kind of water that communities need to climb out of the extended drought.  
19 days ago
(Jed Boal/KSL TV)...
Jed Boal

Dense, wet snow making a dent in Utah’s drought

The storms that keep dumping wet snow on Utah are exactly what we need to recover from extended drought, and there’s another one moving in. There’s also improvement on the drought monitor map. 
25 days ago
Little Cottonwood Canyon closed for avalanche mitigagtion Monday...
Cary Schwanitz

Utah braces for another round of snow

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Utah’s southern mountains for Thursday as another storm moves in.
26 days ago
Sundance downed trees...
Ladd Egan

Full power expected to be restored at Sundance on Friday

Power restoration to Sundance Mountain Resort and surrounding homes is taking longer than expected after the latest storm dumped more than four feet of snow on the area.
27 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Wildlife Biologists Considering Flying Fresh Water To Herds On Antelope Island