Sand Wash Horses Get Short End of Stick

The HMA covers 156,502 acres in northwest Colorado and has an AML of 362, according to Table 1 of the Final EA for resource enforcement actions therein.

The horses allowed by plan require 4,344 AUMs per year and the aimed-at stocking rate is 2.3 wild horses per thousand acres.  The average rate across all HMAs is one wild horse per thousand acres.

The HMA intersects four grazing allotments, per Table 2.1 in the EA.  The status of the allotments was discussed in the post.

The paragraph above the table explains the forage allocations inside the HMA but does not give a number for the Nipple Rim allotment, stating that roughly half of the use occurs within the HMA.

Footnote 2 in Table 2 on page 206 (in the pdf) suggests that 1,989 AUMs per year are available to the Nipple Rim permittees inside the HMA so that figure was copied into the spreadsheet.

Table 1 on page 208 provides the allotment acreage inside the HMA.  The total is very close to the acreage assigned to the horses so the HMA is probably 100% subject to permitted grazing.

June, July and August are the only months when livestock are not present.

Sand Wash Calcs 08-20-21

The total acreage and active AUMs were sourced from the Allotment Master report.

The land, when designated for livestock grazing, can produce an average of 111.4 AUMs per year per thousand acres, but when identified for wild horses, can only produce 4,344 ÷ 156,502 × 1,000 = 27.7 AUMs per year per thousand acres.

The total forage assigned to livestock inside the HMA is 16,827 AUMs per year.

Western Horse Watchers usually converts AUMs to horses and cow/calf pairs, even if the HMA is designated for burros and/or the allotments are permitted for sheep.  The resource requirements of wild horses and cow/calf pairs are said to be equivalent.

The Lang Spring permittee would have to place 363 ÷ 8 = 45 cow/calf pairs inside the HMA to graze off the allotted forage within the permitted season.  Likewise for the other permittees.

The total number of cow/calf pairs inside the HMA is 2,549, for a weighted average grazing season of 16,827 ÷ 2,549 = 6.6 months per year.

The stocking rate at Nipple Rim is 284 ÷ 16,247 × 1,000 = 17.5 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres and the overall rate is 2,549 ÷ 156,925 × 1,000 = 16.2 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres.

These figures are compared in the following charts.

Sand Wash Charts 08-20-21

The HMA is managed primarily for livestock, contrary to §1332(c) of the statute, with the horses receiving just 21% of the authorized forage, neglecting wildlife.

The forage assigned to livestock would support an additional 16,827 ÷ 12 = 1,402 horses, for a True AML of 1,764.

The pre-gather population of 896 (Table 1, page 7 in EA) is well within this range, so there are no excess horses, no overpopulation and no justification for a fertility control program.  The advocates are wrong again.

The 1,402 wild horses displaced from the HMA by privately owned livestock represent 2.8% of the 50,000 horses in off-range holding.

Although dry conditions have limited the availability food and water in the area, these circumstances are temporary but the removal is permanent.  You can have your wild horse and burro program as long as it doesn’t interfere with the grazing program.

RELATED: Sand Wash Decision Reached.

2 thoughts on “Sand Wash Horses Get Short End of Stick

  1. This is really wonderful information thank you kindly
    The right information is vital to help stop the abuse of our National Treasured Wild Mustangs

    1. Please get involved to help for he welfare and health of our animals and beautiful natural landscapes across North America and especially the Western USA right now. Time is critical
      “Be truthful
      Be truthful
      Be Fearless”

      “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an Indomitable will.”

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