How Many Wild Horses Can the Roberts Mountain HMA Support?

Table 15 in the Draft EA for resource enforcement actions in the Roberts Mountain Complex indicates that 38% of the Roberts Mountain Allotment overlaps the HMA along with 46% of the Three Bars Allotment.

The HMA covers 99,990 acres and is 100% subject to permitted grazing.

The 150 wild horses allowed by plan require 1,800 AUMs per year.

The Western Watersheds map shows the arrangement.

Roberts Mountain HMA Allotments 08-28-22

The Allotment Master Report shows 5,840 active AUMs on Three Bars and 9,624 active AUMs on Roberts Mountain.  These figures may differ slightly from those in the EA.

The forage in Three Bars assigned to livestock inside the HMA would be 5,840 × .46 = 2,686 AUMs per year, assuming the resource is evenly distributed across the parcel.

The forage in Roberts Mountain assigned to livestock inside the HMA would be 9,624 × .38 = 3,657 AUMs per year.

The total estimated forage assigned to livestock inside the HMA is 2,686 + 3,657 = 6,343 AUMs per year, enough to support an additional 528 wild horses.

The True AML would be 150 + 528 = 678.

The stocking rate at the new AML would be 6.8 wild horses per thousand acres, compared to a target rate across all HMAs of one wild horse per thousand acres.

The Virginia Range was carrying ten, before the advocates got involved.

Livestock in Roberts Mountain receive 3.5 times more forage than the horses, yet the area was set aside for the horses.

The HMA is managed primarily for livestock.

The BLM will collect 6,343 × 1.35 = $8,563 per year in grazing fees from ranching activity inside the HMA while it spends 528 × 5 × 365 = $963,600 per year to care for the horses displaced thereby.

Would you say that permitted grazing is a wise use of the public lands?

RELATED: Status of Allotments in Roberts Mountain Complex.

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