Comments Invited on Scope of Rock Springs Gather Plan

BLM announced yesterday the opening of a thirty day comment period on a the scope of a proposed plan for managing wild horses on five HMAs in the Wyoming Checkerboard, a patchwork quilt of public and private lands along the I-80 corridor in southern part of the state.

Affected HMAs include Adobe Town, Divide Basin, Little ColoradoSalt Wells Creek and White Mountain, home of the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Tour.

Rock Springs HMA Map-1

Public comments are the first step in preparing an Environmental Assessment for a proposed action, according to the scoping statement.

Roundups in this area are driven by the infamous Rock Springs consent decree, a court order resulting from legal action by the Rock Springs Grazing Association.

The scoping documents include maps of the HMAs but do not provide any information on domestic livestock grazing, such as the number and size of the allotments, permitted AUMs and grazing seasons.  Those figures will likely appear in the draft EA.

Seaman Roundup Delayed

BLM said today that the gather was suspended due to weather conditions that allowed the mustangs to move to higher elevations, evading capture.

As of yesterday, 294 excess horses had been removed from their home range, with nine deaths and no animals returned.

The operation will resume in January, according to the news release, when the horses are expected to return to the valleys.

RELATED: Seaman Range and White River Herds to Be Downsized.

Multiple Use – The Old Days

In Section 3 of the original WHB Act, Congress ordered the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture to balance the needs of horses and burros with those of wildlife, especially endangered species.  There was no provision for domestic livestock.

Overpopulation was to be determined relative to wildlife in the affected area, not privately owned cattle and sheep.

The ranchers, realizing they had been cut out of the will, demanded changes from their political toadies, who gave them FLPMA, PRIA and a watered-down WHB Act.

Today, the ranchers have endorsed a plan that will reduce the number of free-roaming horses and burros to an ‘acceptable’ level, unrelated to the carrying capacity of the land.

Eighty percent of those animals will end up in off-range facilities and the remaining herds will be managed to extinction.

The Marr Plan is a step in the right direction but its scope is too small.

It’s time to get all the livestock off public lands and restore the Wild Horse and Burro Act to its original form.

Multiple Use WHB Act

‘Path Forward’ Opponents Gather at National Mall

Animal Wellness Action, a lobbying group in Washington D.C., said today that wild horse advocates met at the U.S. Capital on Saturday to protest the ill-conceived management plan for wild horses and burros.

They said the Marr Plan was a better option, according to the news release.

Marr Plan-1

The proposal calls for the removal of livestock from public lands—not all, just some—but it’s a step in the right direction.

RELATED: Outside the Box.