Sulphur Resource Enforcement Plan Approved, First Awareness

The decision was announced yesterday.  The Decision Record, Final EA and other supporting documents can be accessed at the project page in ePlanning.

Western Horse Watchers was unable to find any notifications at the BLM news site and does not know how and when public involvement was solicited for the scoping phase of the project or the release of the draft EA.

A notice appeared at ePlanning on May 6, 2020 according to the Decision Record.

The Proposed Action, discussed in Section 2.2 of the EA, targets wild horses over a ten-year period and features the removal of excess animals to the low end of the AML as quickly as possible through one or more roundups, population suppression using PZP-22 and equipping the remnant with GPS tracking devices for research purposes.

The HMA covers 265,675 acres in western Utah and the 250 horses allowed by plan consume 3,000 AUMs per year.  The stocking rate allowed by plan is 0.9 wild horses per thousand acres, in line with the target rate across all HMAs of one wild horse per thousand acres.

Sulphur HMA Map 01-25-22

The HMA intersects nine grazing allotments, according to Table 3.1 of the EA, and livestock receive an estimated 10,256 AUMs per year therein, assuming the resource is evenly distributed across the allotments.

The forage assigned to livestock would support an additional 854 wild horses, for a True AML of 1,104, the number of animals the HMA could support if it was managed principally for wild horses as specified in the original statute.

The current population of 497 is well within that range.

The 854 horses displaced from the HMA by permitted grazing represent about 1.7% of the 50,000 animals in off-range holding.

The stocking rate at the new AML would be 4.2 horses per thousand acres, or 238 acres per horse.

Although livestock receive 3.4 times more forage than the horses, and the AML corresponds to just 22.6% of the authorized AUMs (neglecting wildlife), the HMA does have a Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP), according to Section 1.3 of the EA.

The new resource enforcement plan, which will help the ranchers access all of the AUMs on their permits, is subject to a 30-day appeal period.

Curiously, a roundup appears on the latest schedule with a start date of February 8.

RELATED: HMAPs Are Not the Answer.

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