One vital element to any wildlife habitat is a dependable source of clean water. And when nature can’t provide that water year-round, it is time for some caring intervention. That’s when the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust’s stewardship team steps in by installing a wildlife guzzler.
Guzzlers catch and store water from snow and rain. When installed properly, the water stored in guzzlers is available for the free-roaming animals throughout the year. This is especially important to them during the hot months of July, August and September.
"These tools, simple though they seem, are among the most valuable methods of enhancing the habitat values in areas of uncertain availability of water," according to Robert Koons, Executive Director. "Whether we are talking about the sage grouse and antelope in Oregon, or the javelina and ringtail in New Mexico, water is critical to all species. By assuring a reliable supply, we help a multitude of diverse species, large and small."
Here’s how they work. Each guzzler has an apron that collects snow and rain as it is falling. The water runs down through a rain gutter, into a downspout and finally into a storage tank. Guzzler storage tanks vary in size. Some are 350-gallon tanks that small animals, such as birds and rabbits, easily access.
Others are huge 10,000-gallon storage tanks that are buried underground and support herds of larger animals. These underground storage tanks have an outlet pipe that directs the water to a drinking trough. The trough usually has a valve that regulates the amount of water in the trough. As animals drink the water, the valve opens and allows more water to flow from the storage tank into the trough.
HSWLT is working with the Rainmaker Wildlife Guzzlers and Ramps. Their equipment is designed to provide years of reliable service in the elements. Polyethylene is the perfect material for guzzler construction because it can handle extremes in cold and heat. UV inhibitors are added to ensure long life in extreme conditions. These guzzlers are non-toxic, extremely durable, easy to handle, simple to transport and install.
The guzzler model HSWLT uses is designed so that both large animals (like deer) and birds can easily access the water. Easy exit escape ramps prevent unnecessary deaths of smaller animals. By having less water exposed, water evaporation is reduced, and the dark granite green color discourages algae growth.
Our first two sanctuaries to receive guzzlers are the Allranch Wildlife Sanctuary, one of our desert properties, and Greenwood Wildlife Preserve and Sanctuary in Oregon. The average cost of a single guzzler, including the reservoir and collection apron, travel costs and stewardship time, is approximately $12,200. We hope to install many more guzzlers in the years to come, but that depends on funding.
Can you help? Your donation today can help provide guzzlers and support other HSWLT initiatives to help wildlife.