KBR Wild Horse and Burro Information Sheet
December 1, 2007

Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association
Storey County, Nevada

A view of many colors from across a canyon
The Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association (VRWPA) is an all-volunteer non-profit group organized to protect wildlife in the Virginia Highlands of Storey County, Nevada. The Association consists of residents of the Highlands who live in the midst of hundreds of estray horses that are scattered among the chaparral and cypress dotted rangeland. The Association was formed in 1979 after Highlands residents witnessed a brutal and bloody helicopter roundup by private mustangers that left numerous mares and foals dead. VRWPA's mission is to protect and preserve the horses, range and wildlife within the Highlands and surrounding parcels comprising an area of 37,400 acres.

Storey County is a rather sparsely populated county consisting of just over 3,000 residents and includes just one small town which is the former mining community of Virginia City (of Bonanza fame.) The county is so small that it doesn't even have an animal control officer. Recognizing its lack of resources, Storey County requested that the VRWPA supervise and manage the 1,000-plus free-roaming horses that inhabit the county's 263 square miles on its behalf.

Additionally, the State of Nevada Department of Agriculture has recognized the VRWPA as an adoption agent for State of Nevada estray horses and various agencies consult with the VRWPA on range management and wildlife protection issues.

Note: The Nevada Dept. of Agriculture voided its agreement with Storey County and the VRWPA! A new agreement is pending in 2003. A link to this story appears at the end of this feature.

Typical "residents" of the Highlands
A mare, newborn foal and band stallion
Can you spot the horses?
Native vegetation provides camouflage

The VRWPA provides improvements to aid both the horses and the habitat. Watering stations located near grazing areas provide a regular supply of water come rain or drought and help keep horses out of sensitive riparian areas. The group also is involved in riparian preservation and restoration projects.

Continue to Part Two
A thirsty band getting a drink

Virginia Range Seasons

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All images KBR Horse Net and/or VRWPA.