Utah's defense industry has some unexpected fallout for wildlife, and it's not the toxic radioactive type. Instead, it's fallout as defined by "consequences" - good consequences.

Birds, mammals and fish actually benefit from rocket motor casings and other equipment no longer needed for military purposes. The material, donated by Hercules Corp. to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, is used to build "guzzlers," which are water supply tanks and troughs set up for wild creatures in the most parched sections of the state.In interviews Friday at Hercules' offices, representatives of the company and of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said the tanks can hold between 1,100 and 2,500 gallons. Water that the tanks supply is crucial for wildlife in parts of the western desert and elsewhere during dry times.

To install a guzzler, the DWR covers the ground with corrugated tin, making a catchment of about 16 by 32 feet. Precipitation that falls onto this basin drains into an underground storage tank, in this case made out of a rocket casing.

A tube runs downhill from the tank, filling a trough that the animals frequent. A float such as the type in toilet tanks connects with controls in the casing.

"As they drink it down, the float drops and it fills up with water," said Dean L. Mitchell, upland game biologist with the DWR.

When the float sinks along with the water level in the trough, it opens a valve in the tank. Water gurgles through the tube, and when the trough fills up sufficiently, the float shuts off the valve.

That way, the trough is kept supplied.

Over the years, Hercules has donated 40 of the fuel chambers, and about 60 other rocket parts that are used in making troughs or other projects. Steve Phillips of the DWR said that if new, each tank would cost $5,000 to $10,000.

The cases were designed for high internal pressures on one side and the vacuum of space on the other, so they are nearly impregnable. Many of the cases were never filled with fuel, being manufactured for tests or development work at Hercules' Bacchus Works in Magna.The earlier ones were made of fiberglass; then came Kevlar, the sort of plastic used in military helmets; they are now made of graphite fibers.

"I think they're totally impregnable," said Richard Cloward, industrial engineer for Hercules. "They'll never rot away. They'll be there watering deer and chukars (partridges) when we're gone."

The watering devices also serve mourning doves, pronghorn antelopes and songbirds. They are used at reservoirs to aerate water (improving habitat for trout) and to help with water supplies.

All of the cases given to the DWR were put through extensive chemical tests to ensure there was no residue of fuel or other material, said Don Peay, an environmental expert with Hercules.

Casings can be as large as 8 feet in diameter and 17 feet long. They were made for Polaris, Poseidon, Trident I and II, Minuteman, Pershing and MX missiles.

Cloward said missile casings and chambers were piling up, and he asked the division if it could find a use for them. Back then, around 1978, he didn't even know what a guzzler was, he said.

DWR experts studied the cylinders and realized they were perfect for guzzlers.

"This time of the year especially, many animals rely on the water supply of these guzzlers," said Mitchell. "We have over 100 guzzlers in place right now."

More than 40 of them are from Hercules rocket chambers. "Other remnant parts have been used for other projects," he said.

Why extend animals' range into areas where they do not naturally occur, or don't occur in the numbers facilitated by guzzlers? "Due to human development here in the state, we've displaced quite a few of the animals already," Mitchell said. The guzzlers helps to extend their habitat.

"Maximizing your resources," Peay commented. "Name of the game in any business."

Cloward said DWR officials "routinely come out and review anything we have at the bone yard (an area in the center of the Hercules plant where unneeded material is stored). Anything they want, they have first choice."

"We put in four guzzlers this spring, using old rocket motors donated by Hercules," Mitchell said. The division plans to install four this November.

Usually the tanks holds enough water to maintain the troughs all summer. But during this drought year, some of the tanks are running out, just as natural springs must be drying up throughout the state.