Comments Invited on Southern Nevada Nuisance Gather Plan

BLM announced earlier this week the opening of a 30-day comment period on a draft Environmental Assessment for a ten-year plan to remove wild horses and burros in southern Nevada that feed near highways, creating a public safety hazard, or have strayed from their home range onto to private property.

The six HMAs affected by the proposal are highlighted in the following map.

Southern Nevada Gather Plan EA-1

The roundups will not be used as a means for achieving AMLs, according to the news release.  A similar statement appears on page 11 in the EA.

But they could be carried out on an emergency basis.  The meaning of the term and the rules that would be altered or skipped in those cases were not explained.

The resource assessment, summarized in Table 3-1 of the EA, says livestock grazing does not occur on [public lands] within or near the affected HMAs but does not indicate if it happens on private lands that may abut or lie in close proximity to the HMAs.

Given that wild horses and burros are not privately owned and are not considered to be livestock, do they lose their protected status when they exit federal lands and become subject to state and local laws for domestic livestock?  Probably not.

If Nevada is a fence-out state, should private property impacts be part of the analysis?

In cases where land owners have built fences to keep the horses and burros out, do the requirements of NRS 569.431 apply?

Comments can be submitted at this page.  Public input will be reviewed by BLM staff and responses will be included in the final EA.

What’s Up with Muck Boots?

Today may be Black Friday but watch out if you’re shopping for Muck Boots!  The boots in this photo are the same size, men’s 11 / women’s 12.  The boot on the right, purchased in 2014, is longer and wider than the boot on the left, purchased in 2019.


The old boots were comfortable, the new ones are too small.  They are great around the barn, especially this time of year, but to say they run small is an understatement.

Remarks on TPC Incident

Launching a distillation column several hundred feet into the air, that is the definition of a bad day in the petrochemical industry.

Many refineries and chemical plants dot the Gulf coast in Texas and Louisiana.

The incident began early Wednesday at the old Neches Butane plant in Port Neches, TX, a facility built by the government during WWII to produce synthetic rubber.

Back in those days it was guarded by machine guns.

No one was killed in the explosions and fires but the plant will be down for many months—if it is not a total loss.

Resolutions for the New Year

Let 2020 be the year you did something for the horses, not to the horses.

1. The United States does not receive fair market value for livestock grazing on public lands.  Raise the fee to $40 per AUM, in line with market rates.  Better yet, raise it to $60 per AUM, to bring it in line with the cost of warehousing wild horses (that were removed from those lands at the behest of the ranchers).

2. Your government gave itself the power to manage HMAs principally for domestic livestock.  Other areas, where horses were found when the WHB Act became law, have been zeroed out altogether, no longer designated for wild horses.  Manage these areas principally for wild horses and burros per the statute.  Balance the needs of WHB with those of wildlife, not domestic livestock, per the statute.

3. Consumers do not know where beef is produced.  Require labels on the product if it is RANGE FED or PRODUCED ON PUBLIC LANDS and let the market sort out the winners and losers.  Cattle raised on private property or at the expense of America’s wild horses and burros.  You decide, not the special interests in Washington.

The PZP zealots and big-name advocacy groups have lost their way.  They are on the same side of the debate as the public-lands ranchers.  Don’t give them a penny.

Where Have All the Horses Gone-1

High Capacity Adoption Center Coming to Wyoming?

The facility would be located on an 80 acre farm near Burns and could hold 5,000 excess horses, according to a story appearing today in the Pine Bluffs Post.

Residents within a three mile radius must agree with the idea, per current rules, and so far the applicant has failed to win their support.

The facility would fill quickly if the disastrous ‘Path Forward‘ is implemented.

Why the Desatoya Forage Allocation Can’t Be Determined

Here are the figures from Section 3.7 in the EA.  Too many unknowns.

Desatoya AUM Calcs-1

The AML for Porter Canyon is 67 according to Section 3.8 in the EA.  Roughly 80% of that allotment coincides with the HMA (see Map 2).  The management plan therefore allows only 67 wild horses on a parcel that can support 484 cow/calf pairs (605 × .8).

Yep, 12% of the forage to horses and 88% to livestock—on land set aside for the horses.

RELATED: Desatoya Herd to Be Rightsized Starting Next Week.

Desatoya Herd to Be Rightsized Starting Next Week

BLM said today that 431 excess wild horses will be removed from the Desatoya HMA, starting on December 4.  The operation will be carried out with helicopters and will be open to public observation.

The roundup will restore a thriving ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, according to the news release.

The HMA covers 161,678 acres in central Nevada an has an AML of 180, for an aimed-at population density of 1.1 horses per thousand acres.

Desatoya HMA Map A-1

Captured animals will be taken to the off-range corrals at Palomino Valley, about 20 miles north of Sparks, NV.

Section 3.7 in the Environmental Assessment suggests that permitted livestock grazing occurs in and around the HMA, but there is not enough information for a comparison of horse AUMs to cattle AUMs within the HMA.

Gather stats and daily reports will be posted to this page.

UPDATE: Map 2 in Appendix G shows that the HMA intersects four grazing allotments: Clan Alpine, Edwards Creek, Porter Canyon and South Smith Creek.  As usual, the AUMs offered to the poor ranchers far exceed the crumbs allocated to the horses.

Penn’s Cabin in the News

Restoration of the old cabin visited by Ginger Kathrens in the Cloud documentary began this summer and will carry over into next year, according to a story posted today by the Billings Gazette.

Its owner, Perrin Leander Cummings, died at the age of 26 in an accident involving wild horses.  He was better known by the nickname ‘Penn.’

The land on which the cabin was built is now part of the Pryor Mountains WHR.

Recovery from South Sugarloaf Fire Continues

A Forest Service ranger says he’s hopeful that cattle can return to their allotments in 2020, according to a report posted yesterday by the Elko Daily Free Press.  The fire began August 17 last year and burned over 233,000 acres.

An interesting and valuable follow-up to the story would be to find out if livestock displaced from public lands had to be moved to (gasp) private pastures and if the owners had to pay (OMG) market rates to feed them.

Comments Invited on Scope of Rock Springs Gather Plan

BLM announced yesterday the opening of a thirty day comment period on a the scope of a proposed plan for managing wild horses on five HMAs in the Wyoming Checkerboard, a patchwork quilt of public and private lands along the I-80 corridor in southern part of the state.

Affected HMAs include Adobe Town, Divide Basin, Little ColoradoSalt Wells Creek and White Mountain, home of the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Tour.

Rock Springs HMA Map-1

Public comments are the first step in preparing an Environmental Assessment for a proposed action, according to the scoping statement.

Roundups in this area are driven by the infamous Rock Springs consent decree, a court order resulting from legal action by the Rock Springs Grazing Association.

The scoping documents include maps of the HMAs but do not provide any information on domestic livestock grazing, such as the number and size of the allotments, permitted AUMs and grazing seasons.  Those figures will likely appear in the draft EA.