The proposed action will achieve a thriving ecological balance in the five HMAs targeted by the project. The EA makes sure there will not be too much collateral damage when it is carried out. A finding of no significant impact does not apply to wild horses!
What are the management priorities in those areas? Data from Tables 1 and 8 in the EA tell the story.
Roughly 16,000 wild horses have been displaced from their home range by privately owned livestock, about one third of those in off-range holding.
How many have been forced out by drilling and mining?
The True AML is eight times higher than the current AML. The average stocking rate across the five HMAs at the new AML is 5.3 wild horses per thousand acres, about half of that on the Virginia Range.
The current population of 5,105 is well within the new limit, so there is no need for a roundup or fertility control program. There are no excess horses and the area is not overpopulated.
The problem is public-lands ranching.
Although the land was set aside for wild horses, roundups may occur as early as July because the HMAs are managed primarily for livestock.