Barren Valley Roundup Day 7

The incident began on September 8.  Gather stats through September 14:

  • Type: Emergency
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Horses captured: 491, up from 316 on Day 5
  • Average daily take: 70.1
  • Capture goal: 1,900
  • Removal goal: 1,900
  • Returned: 0
  • Deaths: 6, no change from Day 5
  • Shipped: 379, up from 270 on Day 5

The death rate decreased from 1.9% to 1.2%.

Foals represented 21.2% of the horses gathered.  Of the adults, 47.3% were male and 52.7% were female.

Body condition scores on Days 6 and 7 ranged from three to four.

Three HMAs are involved in the roundup.

Day 7 ended with 106 unaccounted-for animals.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 892 (total for three HMAs)
  • Forage assigned to horses: 10,704 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 2,500
  • Forage liberated to date: 5,892 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 4,910 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 27,011 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from Complex by livestock: 2,258 (4.5% of off-range holding)
  • True AML: 3,150

RELATED: Barren Valley Roundup Day 5.

Barren Valley Roundup Day 5

The incident began on September 8.  Gather stats through September 12:

  • Type: Emergency
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Horses captured: 316, up from 98 on Day 1
  • Average daily take: 63.2
  • Capture goal: 1,900
  • Removal goal: 1,900
  • Returned: 0
  • Deaths: 6, up from 2 on Day 1
  • Shipped: 270, none on Day 1

Reports for Days 3, 4 and 5 were not published until today.

Three horses were put down on Day 2 due to pre-existing conditions.  Another was euthanized on Day 5 for similar reasons, bringing the death rate to 1.9%.

Foals represented 20.9% of the horses gathered.  Of the adults, 44.8% were male and 55.2% were female.

Body condition scores ranged from two to four.

Yesterday the trap was moved from Sand Springs to Sheepshead.  Three HMAs are involved in the roundup.

Day 5 ended with 40 unaccounted-for animals.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 892 (total for three HMAs)
  • Forage assigned to horses: 10,704 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 2,500
  • Forage liberated to date: 3,792 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 3,160 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 27,011 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from Complex by livestock: 2,258 (4.5% of off-range holding)
  • True AML: 3,150

RELATED: Barren Valley Roundup Begins.

Stone Cabin Roundup Day 12

The incident began on September 1.  Gather stats through September 12:

  • Type: Emergency
  • Method: Bait
  • Horses captured: 207, up from 197 on Day 9
  • Average daily take: 17.3
  • Capture goal: 450
  • Removal goal: 450
  • Returned: 0
  • Deaths: 7, no change from Day 9
  • Shipped: 193, up from 115 on Day 9

No horses were caught on Days 10 and 12.

The death rate is 3.4%.

Foals represented 13.0% of the horses gathered.  Of the adults, 45.0% were male and 55.0% were female.

Body condition scores were not reported.

Day 12 ended with seven unaccounted-for animals.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 364
  • Forage assigned to horses: 4,368 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 1,037
  • Forage liberated to date: 2,484 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 2,070 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: Unknown
  • Horses displaced from HMA by livestock: Unknown
  • True AML: Unknown

RELATED: Stone Cabin Roundup Day 9.

Sand Wash Roundup Day 11

The incident began on September 1.  Gather stats through September 11:

  • Type: Emergency
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Horses captured: 667, up from 631 on Day 9
  • Average daily take: 60.6
  • Capture goal: 783
  • Removal goal: 733
  • Returned: 53, up from 1 on Day 9
  • Deaths: 2, no change from Day 9
  • Shipped: 591, up from 520 on Day 9

The death rate is 0.3%.

Gather operations are now occurring outside the HMA.  The project area is much larger than the wild horse area, as shown on the map in Appendix A of the Final EA (page 62 in the pdf).

The breakdown between stallions, mares and foals captured on Day 9 has not been provided.

Foals represented 13.5% of the horses gathered, excluding Day 9.  Of the adults, 42.7% were male and 57.3% were female.

The low percentage of foals may be due to the darting program.  With most of the herd captured, females outnumbered males by a ratio of 1.3 to 1.

Body condition scores were not reported.

Day 11 ended with 21 unaccounted-for animals.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 362
  • Forage assigned to horses: 4,344 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 896
  • Forage liberated to date: 7,368 AUMs per year (adjusted for horses returned)
  • Water liberated to date: 6,140 gallons per day (adjusted for horses returned)
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 16,827 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from HMA by livestock: 1,402 (2.8% of off-range holding)
  • True AML: 1,764

RELATED: Sand Wash Roundup Day 9.

Sand Wash Roundup Day 9

The incident began on September 1.  Gather stats through September 9:

  • Type: Emergency
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Horses captured: 631, up from 501 on Day 7
  • Average daily take: 70.1
  • Capture goal: 783
  • Removal goal: 733
  • Returned: 1, no change from Day 7
  • Deaths: 2, up from 1 on Day 7
  • Shipped: 520, up from 370 on Day 7

A colt was euthanized on Day 8 due to pre-existing conditions, lifting the death rate to 0.3%.

Gather operations occurred outside the HMA on Day 9.  The project area is much larger than the HMA, as shown on the map in Appendix A of the Final EA (page 62 in the pdf).

The roundup is not over, as reported by some news outlets.

The breakdown between stallions, mares and foals captured on Day 9 was not provided.

As of Day 8, foals represented 12.7% of the horses gathered.  Of the adults, 43.1% were male and 56.9% were female.

The low percentage of foals may be due to the darting program.  The gap between males and females may indicate the sex ratio of the herd is not 1:1 (50/50).

Body condition scores were not reported.

Day 9 ended with 108 unaccounted-for animals.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 362
  • Forage assigned to horses: 4,344 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 896
  • Forage liberated to date: 7,560 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 6,300 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 16,827 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from HMA by livestock: 1,402 (2.8% of off-range holding)
  • True AML: 1,764

RELATED: Sand Wash Roundup Day 7.

Stone Cabin Roundup Day 9

The incident began on September 1.  Gather stats through September 9:

  • Type: Emergency
  • Method: Bait
  • Horses captured: 197, up from 122 on Day 6
  • Average daily take: 21.9
  • Capture goal: 450
  • Removal goal: 450
  • Returned: 0
  • Deaths: 7, up from 3 on Day 6
  • Shipped: 115, up from 43 on Day 6

No horses were caught on Days 8 and 9.

One horse was put down on Day 7 because of a broken leg and another was euthanized because of colic.

On Day 8, another horse was put down due to colic, the third such case reported.

A horse fractured its neck on Day 9 and was euthanized, lifting the death rate to 3.6%.

Foals represented 13.7% of the horses gathered.  Of the adults, 45.9% were male and 54.1% were female.

Body condition scores were not reported.

Day 9 ended with 75 unaccounted-for animals.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 364
  • Forage assigned to horses: 4,368 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 1,037
  • Forage liberated to date: 2,364 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 1,970 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: Unknown
  • Horses displaced from HMA by livestock: Unknown
  • True AML: Unknown

RELATED: Stone Cabin Roundup Day 6.

Jackson Mountains Emergency Roundup Starts Next Week

Approximately 600 wild horses will be removed from the HMA and surrounding lands, starting on September 15, due to inadequate water and overpopulation.

Helicopters will push the horses into the traps, according to the news release, and the incident will be open to public observation.

The announcement refers to an Environmental Assessment and Decision Record from 2018 but all of the documents in the project folder are dated 2012.

A Draft EA for a new resource enforcement plan was posted for review in late August.

The HMA covers about 265,000 acres in northern Nevada per Table 1 of the new EA and the 217 horses allowed by plan have a stocking rate of 0.8 animals per thousand acres.

Table 1 indicates a current population of 1,018 but the announcement says 848 plus foals, which are the same if you assume a 20% birth rate.

Jackson Mountains HMA Map 08-28-21

Table 7 in the new EA shows six grazing allotments that intersect the HMA.

Captured animals will be taken to the off-range corrals at Palomino Valley.

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

Does this roundup qualify as an emergency?  Probably not, as the conditions that preceded it did not occur suddenly and the response did not occur immediately, as outlined in this post.

It’s not in the latest schedule, revised on August 2 when other such roundups were announced.

Barren Valley Roundup Begins

The incident started on September 8, with 98 horses captured, two deaths and none shipped, according to figures at the gather page.  No details were given.

The location of gather activity was not reported.  Three HMAs are involved.

The combined AML is 892 and the pre-gather population was around 2,500.

The preliminary removal goal is 1,900.

RELATED: Barren Valley Emergency Roundup Begins Next Week.

Sand Wash Basin Can Support More Wild Horses?

Yes, about 1,400 more than currently allowed by plan.

Monsoons have restored the watering holes, according to a story posted today by 9News of Denver, and critics say the BLM is clearing out the herd to make room for more cattle and sheep.

Resources assigned to livestock and the number of animals allowed in the area are controlled by land-use plans and grazing permits.  Roundups can’t change them.

But by getting rid of the horses, food and water they tried to reclaim—the HMA was created for them—can be shifted back to the ranchers as specified in the plan, reducing the effects on livestock grazing associated with a temporary change in the weather.

RELATED: Advocates Help BLM with Sand Wash Roundup.

Roundups, Emergencies and Escalating Problems

Emergencies occur suddenly and require immediate action, according to Section 2.22 of BLM Handbook 4720 for removal of excess wild horses and burros from public lands.

Earthquakes and wildfires occur suddenly, droughts do not.

Section 2.21 defines escalating problems as conditions that deteriorate over time.

They are indicated by a decline in the amount of food or water available for wild horses and burros, which results in negative impacts to animal condition and rangeland health.  These situations are normally associated with drought or animal numbers in excess of AML, can be detected in advance, and are managed through the normal gather planning (NEPA) process.

Further, these types of problems should be managed within the individual BLM State gather targets, to the extent possible, per 2.21.C.  If you have to pull horses out of HMA X because of drought, you’ll need to forego the planned removal at HMA Y.

The roundups announced on August 2 were in addition to those already on the schedule.

The next step would be to check the news releases for NEPA citations.  If found, there was an attempt to comply with the statute, so those roundups, and the circumstances that led to them, probably didn’t qualify as emergencies.

RELATED: Are Emergency Roundups Really Emergencies?

Are Emergency Roundups Really Emergencies?

According to Section 2.3.1 in the National Environmental Policy Handbook, actions that must be taken immediately to protect public health and safety or important resources qualify as emergency.

Examples include

  • Cleanup of a hazardous materials spill
  • Wildland fire suppression activities related to ongoing wildland fires
  • Stabilization actions following wildland fires or other disasters

Actions not immediately needed to protect public health and safety or important resources must undergo normal NEPA procedures.  In some cases, alternative arrangements may be available to comply with NEPA.

RELATED: More Emergency Roundups in the Works.

Sand Wash Roundup Day 7

The incident began on September 1.  Gather stats through September 7:

  • Type: Emergency
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Horses captured: 501, up from 329 on Day 5
  • Average daily take: 71.6
  • Capture goal: 783
  • Removal goal: 733
  • Returned: 1, no change from Day 5
  • Deaths: 1, no change from Day 5
  • Shipped: 370, up from 190 on Day 5

The death rate has dropped to 0.2%.

The breakdown between stallions, mares and foals captured on Day 5 was added to the gather page.

Foals represented 13.2% of the horses gathered.  Of the adults, 41.4% were male and 58.6% were female.

The low percentage of foals may be due to the darting program.  The gap between males and females may indicate the sex ratio of the herd is not 1:1 (50/50).

This pattern—more mares captured than studs—has appeared in every wild horse roundup this summer since Onaqui.

Body condition scores were not reported.

Day 7 ended with 129 unaccounted-for animals.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 362
  • Forage assigned to horses: 4,344 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 896
  • Forage liberated to date: 6,000 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 5,000 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 16,827 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from HMA by livestock: 1,402 (2.8% of off-range holding)
  • True AML: 1,764

RELATED: Sand Wash Roundup Day 5.

Another Devil’s Garden Roundup Starts Next Week

The Forest Service will gather and remove 600 wild horses from the Devil’s Garden Plateau WHT, beginning on September 15, according to an announcement posted today.  The incident marks the fourth year in a row that helicopters have pushed them off their home range in favor of privately owned livestock.

Last year, 506 animals were removed.

The operation will be open to limited public observation.

The AML is 402 and the pre-gather population is thought to be 1,962.

The destination of captured animals was not stated in the news release but they will probably be taken to the Double Devil Corrals and BLM’s off range holding facility at Litchfield.

A link to the gather stats and daily reports was not provided.