Comments Invited on Draft EA for Rock Springs Gather Plan

BLM announced today the availability of a preliminary environmental assessment for resource enforcement actions in the Wyoming checkerboard.  The EA looks the effects of a proposed action and those of one or more alternatives.

The 30-day review period begins today.  Implementation of the selected alternative, which will affect five HMAs, could occur as soon as July 2021, according to Section 2.0.

The proposed action features roundups to the low end of AMLs and fertility control treatments.  Western Horse Watchers was unable to determine how many years the selected alternative would be valid.

Four of the five HMAs are involved in the Rock Springs RMP amendments.

Rock Springs HMA Map 03-31-21

The HMAs are subject to permitted livestock grazing, per Table 8 in the EA.  The table does not provide allotment sizes and grazing periods but those can be obtained from RAS, along with the allotment conditions.

Comments can be submitted online though April 30.

Maps and appendices have been posted with the project documents.

New Currituck Foal Confused About Mom?

A story posted yesterday by The Virginian-Pilot says the filly wanted to nurse on a mare who was not producing milk.  She would not let the mom near the foal and became increasingly aggressive, according to the report.

Perhaps the mare was trying to steal the foal?

Is any of this related to the fertility control program?

At the December 2017 Nevada Board of Agriculture meeting, where a decision was made to transfer ownership of the Virginia Range horses to a private group, comments were made about the side-effects of PZP (beginning at 2:33:40 in this video).

  • Barren mares stealing foals which die because they have no milk
  • Abscesses at the injection area
  • Pregnant mares aborting their foals after darting
  • Fertility cycles changed

The speaker was shouted down by other individuals at the meeting.

What Is the Wild Horses of America Foundation?

The organization, based in Kamas, UT, was mentioned yesterday in the guest column about the Onaqui wild horses.

They are PZP zealots, working with government to ensure that privately owned livestock receive 83% of the authorized forage in an area set aside for wild horses, according to figures in the column.

RELATED: Running the Onaqui Numbers.

Running the Onaqui Numbers

The number of horses allowed by plan is 210.  These animals require 12 × 210 = 2,520 AUMs per year and about 10 × 210 × 365 = 766,500 gallons of water per year.

The guest column in The Salt Lake Tribune says the horses receive 17% of the authorized forage, with 83% assigned to livestock, neglecting wildlife.

The total authorized forage should be around 2,520 ÷ .17 = 14,824 AUMs per year.

The forage assigned to livestock should be about 14,824 × .83 = 12,304 AUMs per year.

The True AML would be = (2,520 + 12,304) ÷ 12 = 1,235.

The current population of around 500 wild horses is well within that range, so there is no need for a roundup or fertility control program.

Why is the HMA on the roundup list for this summer?  Because it’s managed primarily for livestock, not wild horses.

RELATED: Onaqui Livestock Receive Five Times More Forage Than Horses?

Onaqui Livestock Receive Five Times More Forage Than Horses?

So says the writer of a guest column in today’s edition of The Salt Lake Tribune.

If that’s true, then why is she pushing contraceptives?

Take the forage assigned to livestock, add it to the forage assigned to horses and divide by the sum by twelve, yielding the True AML.

Is the current population larger than that amount?  If the answer is no, then there is no justification for a roundup or fertility control program.

Action may be needed if the herd exceeds 1 + 5 = 6X AML.  The current AML is 210.

Western Horse Watchers is pleased to see key management indicators such as forage allocations and stocking rates included in an article about wild horses.

Sizing Up Threats to America’s Wild Horses

Think of it as a horse race, a record-breaking horse race, such as Belmont in 1973.

Everybody starts at the same time.  The advocacy groups would have you believe that it’ll be a photo finish, everybody neck-and-neck in terms of their impact on wild horses.

Not so.

Way out in front are the public-lands ranchers.

Far behind are the drillers, miners and loggers.

In between are the advocacy groups themselves, masquerading as defenders of wild horses but actually allies of the ranchers.  Obsessed with contraceptives, they’re getting rid of more wild horses than any of the ‘miscreants’ in the back of the bus.

Although Sham ran well initially, he faded into the background and finished last, a symbol of wild horse advocacy almost fifty years later.

SJR3 Stirs Up Wild Horse Debate in Nevada?

A story posted this evening by This Is Reno says the resolution has received roughly equal amounts of support and opposition.

Except that it’s really not a debate and there is no meaningful opposition.

Proponents of the measure want the horses removed now, using helicopters, while its opponents—the so-called advocates—want to get rid of them with contraceptives.

Nobody’s sticking up for the horses.

Nobody’s questioning resource allocations and management plans.

Nobody’s asking why only two of the 83 HMAs in the state are managed principally for wild horses and burros, per the original statute.

Nobody’s talking about grazing fees vs market rates, economics of roundups, base properties, True AMLs and consumer awareness of range-fed beef.

Notably absent from the testimony are concerns from drilling and mining interests.

RELATED: Wild Horse ‘Advocacy’ Groups React to SJR3 Hearing.

Backstop for Hay

This hay room is in an old horse stall, so the partition was already there.  When you cut the hay strings, the bales don’t come apart because of the wall.

It’s also nice to lean against or catch your balance when you’re pulling bales to the top of the stack.  They weigh around 100 pounds each.

I can stack four of them while standing on the floor but must stand on one of them to lift them any higher.  The top of the sixth bale, on the right in the following photo, is about eight feet up.

The capacity of this area is 30 bales.  They are stacked on pallets.

Each bale contains 15 to 18 flakes.

RELATED: Hay Transport, Hay Reserve.

Backstop for Hay 03-27-21

Remembering Brenda

She’s been gone for eight years.  I never met her and spoke to her only once by phone.

Her horse came to the ranch in 2012 while she sought treatment.  Her husband was inconsolable a year after she died.

He’s put on some weight since then, maybe a bit too much.  He’ll be 25 in June.

He’s in the background in the following photo, taken March 21.

Remembering Brenda 03-28-21

Grain Tank Refilled

You probably guessed that the local feed store is a Purina dealer.

The drive-out price was $666.73, which included 20 bales of alfalfa-grass, ten 50-pound sacks of grain and one 50-pound sack of chicken feed, plus tax.

That payment will keep six horses fed for about a month, which works out to a little over $100 per AUM.

It also works out to about 2,500 pounds in case you’re wondering who had to stack it.

The cost to feed cattle and sheep on public lands is $1.35 per AUM, which explains in part why there is so much interest in getting rid of wild horses and replacing them with privately owned livestock.

RELATED: Extra Grain Storage.

Grain Tank Refilled 03-27-21

Heber Draft EA in the News

The story has been picked up by AP News.  Hasn’t appeared on Drudge.

A keyword search of the document yielded these results:

  • Horse – 661 occurrences
  • Horses – 516
  • Burro – 17
  • Burros – 42
  • Drill – 0
  • Drilling – 0
  • Mine – 0
  • Mining – 3
  • Oil – 0
  • Gas – 0
  • Mineral – 0
  • Minerals – 0
  • Livestock – 172
  • Cattle – 46
  • Sheep – 8
  • Allotment – 53
  • Grazing – 256
  • Permit – 9
  • Forage – 176
  • Allocation – 1
  • Resource – 75
  • Resource management – 3
  • Multiple use – 12
  • Climate – 19
  • Climate change – 11

The plan, if approved, will necessitate the removal of hundreds of wild horses from the area.  The proposed AML is 50 to 104.

RELATED: Comments Invited on Draft EA for Heber Management Plan.

Comments Invited on Draft EA for Heber Management Plan

The 30-day review period began on March 23.  The EA and supporting documents were posted to the project page on March 23.  Click on the Analysis tab to view them.

Refer also to this story, published today by The Arizona Republic.

RELATED: Heber EA in Progress.

UPDATE: Instructions for commenting are posted here.  Comments will be accepted until April 22.

Another Wind Farm Coming to Horse Heaven Hills?

An online public meeting will be held March 30 to discuss the project, according to a report posted yesterday by Fox News of Yakima, WA.

The area of interest is east of the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington state.

A commentary by Forbes says the applicant is Scout Clean Energy of Boulder, CO.

Horse Heaven Hills Map 03-27-21

Scout has gone straight to the state authorities, bypassing county government, because the locals do not want the project, according to the Forbes article.

What will be the effect on the horses?  None, they are gone.

Wiped out in the last Ice Age?  No, eradicated in the middle of the last century, mostly in favor of agricultural interests.

Some may have fled to Yakama territory but may also be gone, as the tribe has been sending their horses, including pregnant mares, to slaughter for years.

Foals born in the feedlots, while the horses await shipment, are often rescued by Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang of Golconda, NV.

RELATED: The Hills Are Still There But the Horses Are Gone.

Allotment Status Recap

Allotment status by public acres for BLM grazing areas in ten western states.  Data from the Allotment Information report in RAS.

Allotment Status Recap 03-26-21

Almost 60% of the land does not meet standards for rangeland health.  Looks like our stewards of the public lands are not taking their responsibilities seriously.

Reports for individual states:

The condition of allotments managed by the Forest Service is unknown.

RELATED: Allotment Categories Explained.

Haaland’s Bold Vision for America’s Wild Horses?

Woohoo, she co-authored the glorious PZP Amendment, an idea so good that even the Rolling Stones would support it.

Now, she brings a “refreshing vision to the BLM,” according to a guest column published by the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Much of the debate in the wild horse world is not about how to protect them but the best way to get rid of them.  Should we use helicopters or contraceptives or sterilization or euthanasia?  Or some combination?

Drilling and mining affect anywhere from a few acres to a few thousand acres, while public-lands ranching affects entire HMAs and beyond—millions of acres.

Will she come out against it?

Will she push for an increase in grazing fees, a revamp of management plans that assign most of the resources to privately owned livestock, and labels for beef produced on America’s public lands?

Probably not.  Those ideas qualify as bold but would likely clash with her party’s alliances and political agenda.

RELATED: Haaland Urged to Hit ‘Reset’ Button in WHB Program.

Pancake Gather Plan