What Happened to Jakes Wash HMA?

Like the Moriah HMA, it was evaluated for forage, water, cover, space and reproductive viability, and found to be deficient in forage, water, space and cover, according to Section 3.3 of the Draft EA for wild horse management actions in the Pancake Complex.

It was demoted to a Herd Area in 2008 and managed for zero wild horses.  Some horses are present, however, according to Section 3.3, as many as 242.

An emergency roundup occurred in August due to insufficient water, which is consistent with the 2008 decision.

Roughly 8,000 AUMs per year are available to livestock, according to Table 4, which is not consistent with the 2008 decision.  Water shortages are alleviated by man-made sources, such as wells.

The forage assigned to livestock would support over 1,300 cow/calf pairs in a six month grazing season.  That’s equivalent to 650 wild horses.

Jakes Wash may be another example of management duplicity: Resources on public lands are low if you’re talking about wild horses but are more than adequate if you’re talking about privately owned livestock.

RELATED: Moriah’s Cousins, Paisley Desert Neighbors.

Initial Thoughts on Pancake Gather Plan

Starting a list of comments on the Draft EA.

1.  Include a map showing the allotment boundaries relative to those of the wild horse areas.  [Are the horse areas 100% subject to permitted grazing?]

2.  Add the allotment sizes to Tables 3 – 6.  [What are the stocking rates for cattle and sheep and is the land more productive when designated for livestock?]

3.  What are the resource impacts of mineral extraction?  [What is the effect on water quality and availability?  How much forage has been lost to drilling and mining?  How many horses could be returned to the range if those activities were stopped?  Would that exceed the number of horses that could stay put if public-lands ranching was ended?]

4.  Add the appendix titles to the table of contents.

Comments regarding forage allocations and management priorities, although valid, should not be submitted.  They are beyond the scope of the project.

RELATED: What’s Driving the Pancake Gather Plan?

What’s Driving the Pancake Gather Plan?

The RMPs in the last paragraph of Section 1.0 in the Draft EA provide a frame of reference not for assessing the environmental consequences of the Proposed Action and its alternatives, but for evaluating the effectiveness of those options relative to the policies and goals therein.

For example, would you expect the No Action Alternative (Section 2.1) to be successful in achieving and maintaining AMLs in the planning area?  Would Alternative D do a good job of enforcing the resource allocations of the RMPs?

The total estimated forage assigned to privately owned livestock, based on data from Tables 3 – 6 in Section 3.7, is approximately 43,300 AUMs per year.

The AML for the Complex is 638, according to Table 1, requiring about 7,700 AUMs per year.  The forage diverted to livestock would support an additional 3,608 wild horses, for a true AML of 4,246.

If you believe the Complex should be managed primarily for livestock, as it appears to be, then Alternative A (the Proposed Action) is best.  It features roundups, fertility control, sex ratio skewing and castration.

Impacts to the horses will be great but those don’t count.

RELATED: Comments Invited on EA for Pancake Management Actions.

Comments Invited on EA for Pancake Management Actions

BLM announced today the availability of a preliminary environmental assessment for wild horse management actions in the Pancake Complex over a ten-year period.

Comments will be accepted through December 12, as noted in the news release.

The EA looks at the effects of a proposed action and several alternatives.

The Complex includes the Pancake and Sand Springs West HMAs, Jakes Wash HA and the Monte Cristo WHT.  The WHT, not shown in the following map, is on Forest Service land east Pancake.

Pancake Complex Map

Section 3.7 in the EA provides data for permitted grazing.  The numbers suggest the Complex is managed primarily for livestock.

Comments about resource allocations and management priorities should be avoided, they are outside the scope of the project.

Praying for Fewer Foals

The current edition of Horse Tales includes a first-hand account of a darting expedition in the Pine Nut Mountains HA.  See “Wild Horse Tales” on page 9 (pdf).

This is a good time of year to provide birth control to the mares, according to the writer.

We must reduce their reproduction rate to avoid BLM roundups.  Interfering with nature is a good alternative.

Why was the area zeroed out for horses?  Is it subject to permitted grazing?

How much forage has been allocated to the ranchers?  How many horses would it support?  Why aren’t you demanding changes to the management plan instead of shooting mares in the butt with contraceptives?

Another Fish Creek Roundup In the Works

BLM said today that 135 wild horses will be removed from the Fish Creek HMA, starting next week, due to overpopulation.  The current herd size is at 1.4X AML according to the news release, which was dated November 6 but published a few hours ago.

The operation, to be carried out with helicopters, will be open to public observation.

The gather target is 195, including 60 horses to be returned to their home range.  Mares in that group will be treated with PZP-22.

The HMA covers approximately 250,000 acres in central Nevada and has an AML of 180, for a stocking rate of 0.7 horses per thousand acres.  It’s known for curly horses.

Fish Creek HMA Map

The HMA intersects four grazing allotments.  The management plan assigns twice as much forage to livestock as it does to horses.

Captured animals will be taken to the off-range corrals in Bruneau, ID.

Gather stats and daily reports will be posted to this page.

The HMA was gathered a year ago, with 533 horses removed from a herd of 822.  Now, the population is 240?  That’s a negative growth rate.

RELATED: Fish Creek Horses Get Short End of Stick.

Black Mountain Roundup Day 45

The operation started on September 23.  Gather stats through November 6:

  • Burros captured: 411
  • Goal: 500
  • Deaths: 2
  • Returned: 0
  • Shipped: 411

Foals accounted for 13.6% of the total.  Of the captured adults, approximately 53% were jacks and 47% were jennies.

The cumulative total says 415 animals removed.  The total based on the daily reports is 413.

The number of unaccounted-for burros is 411 – 2 – 0 – 411 = −2, meaning more burros left the traps than came in.

RELATED: Black Mountain Roundup Day 31.

Red Rock Lakes Gather Pending

Last week BLM signed a Categorical Exclusion and Decision Record authorizing the removal of up to 75 wild horses from private lands adjacent to the Red Rock Lakes HMA in northern California, subject to a 30-day appeal period.

Western Horse Watchers was unable to find an announcement of the event at the BLM news site.

The roundup, if it occurs, may be preceded by a news release with more information, such as timing, method of gather and destination of captured animals.

The HMA covers 18,541 acres and has an AML of 25, for a stocking rate of 1.3 horses per thousand acres.

Red Rock Lakes HMA Map

The HMA intersects six grazing allotments, according to Section 2.23 in Volume 1 of the 2008 Alturas RMP.  The forage allocated to livestock inside the HMA is not known.

The horses require 300 AUMs per year.  Land inside the HMA must be able to produce at least 16 AUMs per year per thousand acres (AUMTA) to support them.

Curiously, the RMP allocates 54,881 AUMs per year to livestock across 457,519 acres, according to Section 2.8 in Volume 1.  Forage production in those areas would be 120 AUMTA, reinforcing an observation made earlier this week that land is much more productive when designated for livestock grazing.

Red Desert Roundup Day 28

The event started October 10.  Gather stats through November 6:

  • Horses captured: 1,925
  • Goal: 2,400
  • Deaths: 10
  • Returned: 150
  • Shipped: 1,337

No gather activity on Day 28.

One death occurred on Day 27, related to the roundup.

Foals accounted for 22.2% of the horses gathered since October 10.  Of the captured adults, approximately 46% are males and 54% are females.  Body condition scores are not known.

No horses were returned to their home range since the last update.

The number of unaccounted-for horses is 428.

Five HMAs are involved in the roundup.

RELATED: Red Desert Roundup Day 25.

Paisley Desert Neighbors

The stocking rate allowed by plan in the Paisley Desert HMA is 0.5 horses per thousand acres.  Given a forage requirement 12 AUMs per year per horse, land designated for them must be able to produce 6 AUMs per year per thousand acres (AUMTA).

The HMA is also designated for permitted livestock grazing.  Allotment numbers are shown in the following map.  The HMA boundary appears in red.

Paisley Desert Allotments

Appendix E1, of the 2018 Lakeview RMP Amendment, provides data for the allotments.

At Squaw Lake, #0418, 834 AUMs per year have been assigned to livestock on 41,354 acres, for a production rate of 20 AUMTA.

Saint Patricks, #0419, offers 750 AUMs per year on 25,674 acres, for a production rate of 29 AUMTA.

Sheeprock, #0428, provides 3,967 AUMs per year on 146,278 acres, for a production rate of 27 AUMTA.

These parcels can only produce 6 AUMTA if you’re talking about wild horses.

What about the neighboring pastures?

Allotment #0426, on the southwest side of the HMA, offers 1,021 AUMs per year on 47,850 acres, for a production rate of 21 AUMTA.

Allotment #0420, on the northwest side of the HMA, provides 1,056 AUMs per year on 21,882 acres, for a production rate of 48 AUMTA.

Allotment #0430, on the east side of the HMA, has 4,202 AUMs per year on 43,654 acres, for a production rate of 96 AUMTA.

What can you conclude about these numbers?  Land is much more productive when it’s designated for livestock.  Productivity drops sharply when it’s earmarked for horses.

That’s why AMLs are small and true AMLs are much larger.

RELATED: Paisley Desert Horses Get Short End of Stick.

Red Desert Roundup Day 25

The event started October 10.  Gather stats through November 3:

  • Horses captured: 1,851
  • Goal: 2,400
  • Deaths: 9
  • Returned: 150
  • Shipped: 1,246

No gather activity on Day 23.

Two deaths occurred on Day 23 and three on Day 25, all due to pre-existing conditions.

Foals accounted for 22.2% of the horses gathered since October 10.  Of the captured adults, approximately 46% were males and 54% were females.  Body condition scores are not known.

Thirty two horses were returned to their home range since the last update.  The number treated with fertility control is now 75.

The number of unaccounted-for horses is 446.  The contractor may be holding them on site.

The release of captured horses may indicate the operation has concluded in one area and has resumed in another.

The reports don’t say where the helicopters are flying.  Five HMAs are involved in the roundup.

RELATED: Red Desert Roundup Day 22.

Piceance Roundup Pending

BLM announced today the signing of a categorical exclusion and decision record authorizing the removal of approximately 75 wild horses from private lands in the Piceance-East Douglas HMA, subject to a 30-day appeal period.

The documents were approved last week but the news release appeared today.  It’s not an announcement of a roundup but the intent to round up wild horses.

The operation would be carried out in a grazing allotment at the north end of the HMA and probably wouldn’t be open to public observation due to the method of capture.

The HMA covers 190,130 acres in western Colorado and has an AML of 235, for an aimed-at stocking rate of 1.2 horses per thousand acres.

Piceance HMA Map

The number of allotments intersecting the HMA and the amount of forage allocated to livestock are not known.

The current wild horse population in and around the HMA is approximately 1,200.