Moriah’s Cousins

Two years ago, in the Caliente Complex, a decision by the BLM authorized wild horse management actions in an area not managed for wild horses.

Legal action by several advocacy groups halted the plan, although a nuisance gather occurred there last year.

The Complex includes nine HAs that were demoted from HMAs around the same time as Moriah, except for one that was dropped in 2000.

Caliente Complex Map

Like Moriah, they were evaluated for forage, water, cover, space and reproductive viability and found to be deficient in one or more of those characteristics and therefore deemed unsuitable for wild horses.  Refer to Section 1.1 of the Final EA for the removal of wild horses from the Complex.

The EA does not say which HMA suffered from what condition and does not explain how 1,744 horses could be living there at the time it was published.

Curiously, the 26 allotments that intersect the Complex were not zeroed out, although a few were idled voluntarily.  See Table 3.2 and the Appendix V map in the EA.

The forage assigned to livestock, approximately 40,000 AUMs per year, would support 3,300 wild horses at a stocking rate of four animals per thousand acres.

Together, Moriah and Caliente represent nearly one million acres of public lands originally designated for wild horses but now managed almost exclusively for privately owned livestock.

RELATED: What Happened to the Moriah HMA?

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