Blue Wing Overview

Figure 4, supplied with the Final EA for wild horse and burro management actions in the Blue Wing Complex, shows the five HMAs assigned thereto.  All lie within the Blue Wing-Seven Troughs Allotment.  The allotment also contains portions of several HAs.

The map appearing on BLM’s livestock grazing page for Nevada shows the size of the allotment compared to others in the state.

Blue Wing Allotment Map-1

State Route 447, which runs north from I-80 on the west side of the allotment, takes you to Gerlach, a hopping-off point for those attending the Burning Man festival.  The event is held on the Black Rock playa, north of the allotment.

Blue Wing Complex Map With Dot-1

The road originates in Wadsworth, home of the Double Lazy Heart Ranch where Charlie and Velma lived.

Free-roaming horses and burros are found in the Blue Wing HMAs.

There are currently around 200 burros on Shawave Mountains but they will be rounded up starting next week.

The total land and forage assigned to horses and burros within the allotment can be computed from HMA data.

Blue Wing HMA Calcs-1

Table 11 in the Final EA shows 32,228 AUMs per year assigned to livestock, so the total authorized forage in the allotment is 7,176 + 32,228 = 39,404 AUMs per year, excluding wildlife.  The size of the allotment is 1,376,287 acres per Table 9.

The HMAs cover 46% of the allotment (634,391 ÷ 1,376,287) but the horses and burros receive only 18% of the total forage (7,176 ÷ 39,404).

If horses replaced the burros (one for two), the forage on the five HMAs would support 598 of them.  The overall stocking rate would be 598 ÷ 634,391 × 1,000 = 0.9 horses per thousand acres, slightly below the average rate of one wild horse per thousand acres across all HMAs.

The forage assigned to livestock would support 2,686 cow/calf pairs, given a 12 month grazing season (11 months per year inside the HMAs per Section 3.2.11 of the EA but omitted for simplicity).  The stocking rate would be two cow/calf pairs per thousand acres (2,686 ÷ 1,376,287 × 1,000).

The total authorized forage would support 3,284 wild horses (or cow/calf pairs), with a stocking rate of 2.4 per thousand acres.  This value, lower than expected, may be due to the full-year grazing periods, limited resources compared to other areas, or the safety factor applied to resource allocations relative to their availability.

The Blue Wing Decision Record approved Alternative B, described in Section 2.4 of the EA, which will achieve and maintain AMLs with multiple gathers and removals, fertility control and/or sterilization.

RELATED: Shawave Mountains Roundup Starts Next Week.

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