More Assateague Foals Expected

A story posted this morning by the Maryland Coast Dispatch says that eight more are on the way.

With the fertility control program shut off five years ago, the birth rate may now be catching up with and surpassing the death rate.  Refer to the chart in this post.

The fertility police often point to the island as a model of wild horse management.

RELATED: Assateague Herd Rebounds in Latest Census.

Comments Invited on Draft EA for Calico Gather Plan

The 30-day review period started today, according to a BLM news release.

The new Environmental Assessment looks at the consequences of resource enforcement actions in the five HMAs that make up the Complex.  A Finding of No Significant Impact will not apply to horses and burros found therein.

The Proposed Action features roundups and growth suppression techniques, such as fertility control vaccines, intra-uterine devices, non-reproducing animals (males and females) and sex ratio skewing.  Refer to Section 2.0 in the EA.

The plan will be valid for ten years.

The Complex covers 584,101 acres and has an AML of 952 wild horses and 65 wild burros, per Table 1 in the EA.  The equivalent AML is 985 horses, for an aimed-at stocking rate of 1.7 wild horses per thousand acres, slightly above the target rate across all HMAs of one wild horse per thousand acres.

The current population is estimated to be 1,692 horses and 73 burros.

Calico Complex Map 04-14-21

The Complex intersects five grazing allotments per Section 3.3.3 of the EA but there is not enough information to know which HMAs are affected and by how much.

Western Horse Watchers was unable to find a map in the appendices showing the allotment boundaries relative to those of the HMAs.

The Calico Complex is adjacent to the Surpirse Complex in northwestern Nevada, the subject of a new gather plan and EA earlier this year.

Comments on the Calico EA can be submitted through May 13.

Palomino Valley Not Just Famous for Wild Horses

The Palomino Valley Off-Range Holding Facility, destination of wild horses removed from public lands, is about 20 miles north of Sparks on the east side of Highway 445.

Palomino Valley Off-Range Corrals

The valley, which extends to the southeast, was the site of a rocket engine testing facility owned by the Rocketdyne division of North American Aviation in the 1960s, according to a document provided by the Palomino Valley General Improvement District.

The BLM corrals, not there at the time, are at the intersection of Ironwood Road and Pyramid Highway (445) in the following map.  Ironwood Road may have been moved slightly to the south to eliminate the jog and accommodate a larger holding facility.

Rocketdyne Labs at PV Map 04-11-21

The Nevada Field Laboratory, as it was called, was decommissioned in 1970.  Engines for the Gemini and Apollo spacecrafts, tested there, eventually put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969 and returned them safely to earth.

A 2014 report by USA Today describes the facility, as well as some of the environmental issues that were found as the area transitioned to a housing development.

A few artifacts remain.  The exhaust tubes, mentioned in the story, are still there.  They were built in Area B of the map above.  Today, the land is owned by Boeing.

Rocketdyne Labs Inset

Plans for the Valley, post-Rocketdyne, never fully materialized.  Most of the roads are not paved but many of the parcels are 40 acres in size or larger.

Two years ago, a roundup in the area resulted in controversy when privately owned horses were captured and never returned.

UPDATE: More photos of the Rocketdyne facility can be found in this online gallery by the Reno Gazette Journal.

Assateague Herd Rebounds in Latest Census

The Park Service counted 78 horses on the Maryland side of the island in March, up from 73 a year ago, according to a story by WJLA News of Arlington, VA.  The findings were released on socialist media.

The fertility control program was shut off in 2016 but the herd has continued to decline, as seen in this history brief by NPS.  The chart shows an average growth rate of about 13% per year between 1975 and 1986, before the program was started.

The survey found 27 males and 51 females this year, suggesting that the breakdown by sex may be inching closer to normal.

The expected range of variation from a simple random process centered at 50% males / 50% females, with a herd size of 78, is 25.8 to 52.2.  The observed numbers of males and females fall within these limits so the results could be attributed to chance.

Last year’s results were outside of limits.

The increase in herd size this year was due to a larger number of males.

The expected range of variation must be determined by calculation, using basic statistical formulas, where n = 78 and p-bar = .5.

RELATED: Assateague Herd Declines in Latest Census.

Management at the Maximum Possible Level

At the Salt River Horse Exhibit with Scouts Trail.

Meanwhile, back on the Virginia Range, the fertility police spent the weekend cleaning their darting rifles, getting ready for another season of population suppression.

Both programs are sponsored by the Campaign Against America’s Wild Horses.

You can’t have government telling the people that the land can only support one wild horse per thousand acres when the Virginia Range is carrying ten.

RELATED: Saving the Salt River Horses by Getting Rid of Them.