Draft EA for Bible Springs Complex Out for Review

Comments will be accepted through June 17, according to yesterday’s news release.

The Proposed Action, discussed in Section 2.2.1 of the EA, features roundups to the low end of AML, population suppression using PZP, GonaCon or IUDs, sex ratio skewing and GPS tracking of animals over a ten-year period.

The project area includes the Blawn Wash HA, not shown in the Western Watersheds map, and three HMAs.  The map in Appendix 1 puts Blawn Wash on the north side of the Four Mile HMA.

Blawn Wash was zeroed out in 2005.  A 2001 land exchange shifted 43% of the acreage and 70% of the forage from the BLM to the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.  Forage in that portion of the HA is managed by SITLA.

The four areas cover 215,350 total acres in western Utah and have a combined AML of 80 to 170, per Table 1.1 of the EA.

The 170 horses allowed by plan require 2,040 AUMs per year.  The stocking rate allowed by plan is approximately 0.8 wild horses per thousand acres.

The current population is thought to be 831, five times more horses than allowed by plan, but not necessarily above the carrying capacity of the land.

In their zeal to spread the Montana Solution across the American west, the advocates ignore this critical detail, giving cover to the public-lands ranchers.

Bible Springs Complex Map 02-24-22

Table 3.1 shows 16 grazing allotments that intersect the Complex, including the HA.

Section 3.3.2 indicates that livestock receive 5,696 + 1,533 = 7,229 AUMs per year inside the Complex, 3.5 times more forage than the horses.

The new enforcement plan will ensure that this resource stays with the ranchers.

The forage assigned to livestock would support an additional 602 wild horses, for a True AML of 772, which is smaller than the current population.  On the basis of these data, excess animals exist within the Complex.

Water is the limiting factor, according to Section 3.3.1, consisting of isolated springs and man-made developments for permitted grazing.  If grazing is curtailed due to drought or other reasons, these sources may not be maintained and can fall into disrepair.

The HMAs do not have Herd Management Area Plans.  The EA indicates that HMAPs are not prerequisites to resource enforcement actions.

The Complex does not appear in the latest roundup schedule.

Comments may be submitted online.  As of today, the count is zero.

RELATED: New Resource Enforcement Plan for Bible Springs Complex?

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