Laramie County Planning Board Rejects Proposed Amendment

Commissioners voted 3 – 0 last week against a proposed rule change that would have decreased the setback distance around concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)from three miles to one mile.  Refer to item 03 in the meeting minutes for details.

Residents near Burns, WY who opposed the large-scale holding facility still have a voice in the process.

The recommendation will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners for consideration.  You can listen to the discussion starting at 36:30 in this recording.

The proposed CAFO would have a capacity of 5,000 wild horses—to be forced off their home range with thousands more if the disastrous ‘Path Forward‘ is put into practice.

RELATED: Laramie County Rule Change to Be Considered Tomorrow.

Grazing Fee Unchanged in 2020

BLM said today the grazing fee for 2020 will be $1.35 per AUM, the same as in 2019.

The new season begins on March 1.

An AUM is the amount of forage consumed by one wild horse, two wild burros, one cow/calf pair or five sheep in one month.

The base value in 1966 was $1.23 per AUM, according to the news release.

RELATED: 2019 Grazing Fee Announced.

UPDATE: News release from Forest Service on 01-31-20.

Rock Springs EIS Posted

Refer to this document.  The 90-day public comment period begins today.

Alternative D, preferred, involves the following changes:

  • The Rock Springs Field Office portion of the Adobe Town HMA would revert to HA status and be managed for zero wild horses.  For the RFO portion of the HMA, all checkerboard land and the portion of the HMA north of the existing Corson Springs southern allotment boundary fence would revert to HA status and be managed for zero wild horses.  The remainder of the HMA would be retained and managed with an AML of 259 – 536
  • The entire Great Divide Basin HMA would revert to HA status and be managed for zero wild horses
  • The entire Salt Wells Creek HMA would revert to HA status and be managed for zero wild horses
  • The entire White Mountain HMA would revert to HA status and be managed for zero wild horses.

Forage previously allocated to wild horses may be reassigned to wildlife, livestock or other ecosystem functions, following an in-depth review of intensive monitoring data, according to the Alternative D narrative.

A news release had not been issued by the BLM at the time this post went live.

RELATED: Rock Springs RMP Amendment to Target Wild Horses.

Rock Springs RMP Amendment to Target Wild Horses

The BLM has drafted a Resource Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement for proposed changes to wild horse management by the Rock Springs and Rawlins field offices, according to an announcement published this morning in the Federal Register.

  • Change the Salt Wells Creek HMA to a herd area, which would be managed for zero wild horses, and re-gather the herd area to zero wild horses if its wild horse population exceeds 200
  • Change the Great Divide Basin HMA to a herd area, which would be managed for zero wild horses, and re-gather the herd area to zero wild horses if its wild horse population exceeds 100
  • Change the AML for Adobe Town HMA to 225-450 wild horses or lower, and do not relocate horses gathered from Adobe Town to Salt Wells Creek
  • Manage the White Mountain HMA as a non-reproducing herd with a population of 205 wild horses by utilizing fertility control and sterilization methods, and initiate gathers if the HMA’s population exceeds 205 wild horses

The draft RMP and EIS had not been included with other project documents at the time this post went live.

The driver of these changes is the infamous Rock Springs consent decree, a court order resulting from legal action by the Rock Springs Grazing Association.

RELATED: Comments Invited on Scope of Rock Springs Gather Plan.

Spring Creek Basin Management Plan to Be Updated

BLM announced yesterday the opening of a comment period on proposed changes to the management plan for the Spring Creek Basin HMA in western Colorado.

The HMA covers 21,932 acres and has an AML of 65, for an aimed-at population density (stocking rate) of three wild horses per thousand acres.

Spring Creek Basin HMA Map-1

Details were not provided in the letter to interested parties but the scope includes two new water catchment structures, presumably within the HMA.

Comments can be submitted at this page.  The environmental assessment is pending.

The letter did not indicate if the horses must share the land with other mandated users.

Hearing Today on SAFE Act

Animal Wellness Action, a lobbying group in Washington, D.C., said today that the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee heard testimony on legislation that would stop the export of American horses for slaughter.

As for wild horses, they are also at risk of such action, thanks to the $1000 adoption incentive and ill-conceived ‘Path Forward.’

Sadly, the measure does nothing to stop the roundups, contraceptives and shrinking amount of territory available to the horses.

RELATED: SAFE Act Introduced in Senate.

Eagle Roundup Day 13

Cumulative totals through 01-28-20, per the BLM roundup page for the Eagle Complex:

  • 855 animals gathered
  • 12 deaths (1.4%)
  • 379 studs (44.5%)
  • 472 mares (55.5%)
  • 4 new foals (2019 foals counted as adults)

The proportions of studs and mares are still outside of statistical limits corresponding to 50% males / 50% females (n = 851, p-bar = .50).  Is the contractor targeting family bands, whose mares are now heavily pregnant?

The thriving ecological balance is now only 745 wild horses away (1,700 horses to be gathered − 100 to be returned − 855).

PSA 01-01-20

RELATED: Eagle Roundup Day 10, Eagle Wild Horses Get Short End of Stick.