Muddy Creek & Sinbad Wild Horse & Burro Battle with BLM Over the Right to Have Water

Wild horses and burros in the UTAH Muddy Creek and Sinbad HMA’s were discovered in the last few weeks of May of this year suffering from dehydration. A pregnant (burro) jenny was on her back in the mud, a burro foal was down while its mother dug in the dry dirt and a horse mare and foal were down on the dry earth, panting from the heat in the blistering sun. One tiny, decomposing foal had died in the mud, likely after its mother had ventured out in search of water.

The wild horses and burros were found on BLM public lands where they were accustomed to sharing the forage and water with cattle that were removed around April 10th, leaving only empty corroded water tanks and DRY, man-made, dredge pond/dirt tanks behind. So by the time the wild horses and burros were discovered on or about May 24th, they were already in critical need of water.

CAES was promptly contacted about the situation and knew they had to organize a watering effort quickly. As of this writing, CAES has clocked about 146.5 hours and 4,680 miles, in order to haul water in 300-gallon portable water tanks (back and forth from the nearest town) in order to deliver 11,700 gallons of water to the Muddy Creek wild horses and Sinbad burros since Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

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It is important to note that over and above time and miles clocked for the actual water hauling efforts, CAES boots on the ground volunteers actually drove anywhere from 1 1/2 hours to 20 hours from their homes, jobs, and families (to date totaling approximately 6,755 miles), in order to help with the life saving, continuing water hauling efforts.

Additionally, they have spent approximately 72 hours hiking and searching to verify water sources BLM told CAES and/or the public were out there, as well as documenting terrain and the animals in the area.

Despite these monumental efforts, Gus Warr, BLM Wild Horse and Burro “Specialist”, told a CAES board member in a phone conversation on May 28, 2020, that BLM will NOT do a permanent water improvement for wild horses or burros because they “don’t want to have to constantly be fixing pumps.”

In a June 01, 2020 conversation with another CAES board member, Gus Warr suggested she is “obviously not going off of the sides of the road” to find water sources. This conversation with Mr. Warr prompted the intensive hiking searches for water that simply isn’t there, or is inaccessible to the wild horses and burros, due to vertical canyon walls. Listen to the audio here:

See photo of a mudhole after June 6, 2020. As you can see, it will quickly be gone:
after rain

In this press release dated June 06, 2020, CAES shows documented PROOF of LACK of water in the areas Mr. Warr insisted that there was water. Note – We have since learned one of the areas he sent CAES to is an area where there are frequent human rescue missions because of how treacherous these canyons are. Additionally, this canyon (Bell Canyon) is not even on the map of alleged water sources from BLM’s alleged helicopter flyover. See: June 06 Press Release

It’s important to remember that the 2 areas of public land the wild horses and burros are on are over half a million acres. Like humans, when animals are weak from lack of sustenance, they cannot travel miles and miles to see “if” there is water.

Yet look at the proposed water improvements for LIVESTOCK in these Project Summary proposals from April and May of this year.

BLM said they don’t “haul” water to livestock


BLM says they do water improvements if they are “on a grazing allotment”


BLM said they don’t deal with wildlife water issues!
Draining water from the Muddy Creek, which is the only water source we’ve found where horses and burros can get.

This management for wild horses and burros is clearly not at the level the management of public lands is for livestock or even other “game” species like bighorn sheep. The BLM is not providing equal protection under the law or the color of law. When Gus Warr was asked in the May 28, 2020 phone call about the antelope that were with the horses and burros searching for water he replied: “We don’t manage other wildlife, that’s the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.” That begs the question of why the BLM is planning to do or repair guzzlers for bighorn sheep. Is this then unauthorized use of taxpayer dollars? Or did Mr. Warr lie?


Call Gus Warr, UT BLM Wild Horse & Burro Specialist at 801.824.1632 and ask him why water is being withheld (that the wild horses and burros were accustomed to less than a month ago before cattle were removed) but yet millions of dollars worth of range water improvements have been proposed, while the wild horses and burros BLM is supposed to be managing have no water.

He will tell you there is water out there and you can refer to our press release linked above that shows where water sources are, in dangerous slot canyons, not accessible to the horses and burros, or in dry tanks like the ones pictured below.

Slot Canyons
These slot canyons are where BLM claims there is plenty of water for horses and burros, while at the same time doing water improvement for bighorn sheep, the most prolific climbers in the west! If they can’t get to the water in these slot canyons how does BLM believe horses or burros can?

As always we appreciate everyone’s support. Your continued donations, and calls, sharing of social media posts are helping spread awareness and providing water, and legal help to protect our American wild horses and burros. We can’t do it without you!

2 thoughts on “Muddy Creek & Sinbad Wild Horse & Burro Battle with BLM Over the Right to Have Water

  1. Great boots on the ground efforts! Amazing, invaluable volunteers. Great documentation! You are TRUE wild horse and burro advocates, CAES. Let this level of dedication be the standard by which others are measured. This is how it is done.

  2. “I was thirsty and you gave me water, I was hungry and you gave food, I was a stranger and you took me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me etc. That what you do for the least of my people you did for me. Read Matthew 25: 31-44.
    Do you understand?

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