AWHC Intervenes in SJR3?

An amendment to the resolution was proposed in a work session on April 1.  It was submitted by the American Wild Horse Campaign.  Video of the meeting has been linked to the SJR3 page on NELIS.

The amendment does not contest the management priorities on lands set aside for wild horses and burros in Nevada, illustrated in this morning’s commentary on the Desatoya HMA, nor the resource allocations arising therefrom.

Rather, it suggests an alternate method for getting rid of those animals, which will achieve the results desired by the SJR3 supporters but in a longer timeframe.

RELATED: SJR3 Stirs Up Wild Horse Debate in Nevada?

Thriving Ecological Balance at Desatoya HMA?

The management plan assigns 2,160 AUMs per year to wild horses at the upper end of the AML, per Section 1.2 of the Final EA for resource enforcement actions in the HMA.

Livestock receive 9,133 AUMs per year per Table 3-2 in the EA.  The forage available to livestock inside the HMA from the Porter Canyon allotment decreased from 6,352 AUMs per year in the Draft EA to 5,877 AUMs per year in the Final EA.

The total authorized forage in the HMA is 11,293 AUMs per year, neglecting wildlife.

That means the horses can consume up to 19% of their food.

The Proposed Action, authorized in yesterday’s Decision Record, will gather the HMA to the lower end of the AML and minimize growth rates thereafter with fertility controls and sex ratio skewing.

The remaining horses will need 1,524 AUMs per year, about 13% of the authorized forage, which is the long-term goal of the management plan.

Perhaps we should refer to it as a pest control plan, designed to protect the interests of the public-lands ranchers, not America’s wild horses.

The forage assigned to livestock would support an additional 761 horses for a True AML of 941.  The current population is thought to be around of 231.

If the HMA was managed principally for wild horses, per the original statute, there would be no need for a roundup or fertility control program.

RELATED: Desatoya Wild Horse Decision Record Signed.

Desatoya Wild Horse Decision Record Signed

The government opted for Alternative 1, the Proposed Action, according to the document issued today.

The decision is subject to a 30-day appeal period and the initial roundup would not occur before September.

The gather plan, valid for ten years, includes fertility controls and sex ratio skewing.

The project area is about 90 miles east of Fallon, NV, according to the news release.

RELATED: New Desatoya Gather Plan Available for Review.

Final Solution to America’s Wild Horse ‘Problem?’

The writer of an open letter in the Pagosa Daily Post has the answer: Relocate wild horses from areas where they are in conflict with livestock (which is most of them) to remote wilderness areas that are unsuited for livestock grazing.

Although the letter was addressed to DOI Secretary Haaland, she probably doesn’t have the authority to carry it out per Section 1339 of the statute.

Section 1333(a) refers to public lands that sustain existing herds (in 1971) of wild free-roaming horses and burros as “sanctuaries for their protection and preservation.”

Management Priorities at Sand Wash Basin HMA

The management plan assigns 363 × 12 = 4,356 AUMs per year to the horses at the upper end of the AML.

The Draft EA for resource enforcement actions in the HMA provides data for livestock grazing in Table 2.1.  Additional information was obtained from the Allotment Master report in RAS.

Livestock receive 19,758 AUMs per year per Table 2.1.  The total authorized forage inside the HMA is 4,356 + 19,758 = 24,114 AUMs per year, neglecting wildlife.

Sand Wash Basin Allotment Calcs 04-04-21

That means the horses can consume up to 18% of the authorized forage, sometimes referred to as ‘their food.’

The proposed action will gather the HMA to the lower end of the AML, leaving around 163 horses.  Growth of the herd will be minimized with contraceptives.

The remaining horses will require 163 × 12 = 1,956 AUMs per year, just eight percent of the authorized forage, on land set aside for them.

AUM curtailments, if any, can be relaxed after the roundup, as forage consumed by ‘excess’ horses shifts back to the ranchers.  This ‘thriving ecological balance’ should prevail for many years, thanks to the fertility control program and its adherents.

The forage assigned to livestock would support an additional 1,645 wild horses, for a True AML of 363 + 1,645 = 2,008.

The current population of 828 is well within this range.

If the HMA was managed principally for wild horses, per the original statute, there would be no need for a roundup and fertility control program.

RELATED: Comments Invited on Draft EA for Sand Wash Gather Plan.

What is WHIMS?

The Draft EA for the Sand Wash gather plan refers to it in a section about record keeping for wild horse fertility control programs (bottom of page 22 in the pdf).

A web search pointed to a site called ‘WHIMS Web (AWHC).’  It is not a ‘dot gov,’ which would signify government ownership.

The warning message says “Actual or attempted unauthorized use of this system will result in criminal and/or civil prosecution” and “WHIMS Web reserves the right to review, monitor, and record all activities on the system,” which are “subject to review by law enforcement officials.”

Good grief, what are they hiding?

If it’s a database for wild horse darting programs on public lands, why isn’t it in the public domain?

Comments Invited on Draft EA for Sand Wash Gather Plan

BLM released a preliminary environmental assessment yesterday for wild horse management actions in the Sand Wash Basin HMA over a ten-year period.

The Proposed Action features gathers to the low end of the AML and fertility control treatments to reduce the herd’s growth rate.  Injections could be administered by the automatic darting machine introduced last year, according to the narrative on page 11 of the EA (page 15 in the pdf).

The project area extends well beyond the HMA, as shown on the map in Appendix A.

HMAs to the north have been targeted by the Rock Springs gather plan.

The HMA covers 157,730 acres in northwestern Colorado, including 154,940 acres managed by the BLM.  The AML is 163-362.  The stocking rate at the high end of the AML is 2.3 wild horses per thousand acres.

Sand Wash Basin HMA Map 04-03-21

The current population is thought to be 828 wild horses, according to the news release.

The HMA is subject to permitted livestock grazing, per Table 2.1 in the EA.

The EA says that the nuisance gather started in January is still in progress.

Comments will be accepted through May 2.

Scoping for North Lander Gather Plan Begins

BLM requests public input regarding future wild horse management actions in the North Lander Complex, according to a news release issued yesterday.  The land can’t support the current number of horses plus other mandated uses.

The Complex includes four HMAs and covers about 375,000 acres east of Lander, WY.

The AML is 536 and the target stocking rate is 1.4 wild horses per thousand acres.

North Lander Complex Map 04-02-21

The current population is thought to be around 1,600 wild horses.

Roundups would be used to achieve the AML.  Methods for slowing growth rates could include castrating or vasectomizing stallions, sex ratio skewing, intrauterine devices for mares and GonaCon, a fertility control drug.

Western Horse Watchers was unable to find the project in ePlanning.

Resource allocations and management priorities, not mentioned in the announcement, can be assessed when an environmental assessment is released.  Presumably, the HMAs are subject to permitted livestock grazing.

Comments can be submitted by email through April 30.

Horses Found Dead in Southern New Mexico

Animal Protection New Mexico has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible, according to a report by AP News.

Their remains were found near the town of Cloudcroft, in the Lincoln National Forest.

The story did not say if they were free-roaming horses, which are found in the area.

RELATED: Free-Roaming Horses of Lincoln National Forest.

Comments Invited on Draft EA for Lake Mead Gather Plan

BLM announced yesterday the availability of a preliminary environmental assessment for wild horse and burro management actions in the Lake Mead Complex near Las Vegas, NV.

The Proposed Action, described in Section 2.2.2 of the EA, features roundups over a ten year period and fertility control vaccines.  All wild horses would be removed from the Complex and burros would be removed to the lower end of their AML.

The Complex includes three herd areas near the state line.  The BLM map shows HMAs inside the HAs but the EA says only one of them has an AML.  Refer to Section 4.3.1.5.

Lake Mead Complex Map 04-02-21

Livestock grazing is not allowed inside the Complex, according to Section 3.1, but the grazing status of surrounding lands was not given.  A keyword search of the EA yielded no occurrences of ‘AUM.’

The AML for wild horses is zero in all three areas.  The AML for burros is zero in Muddy Mountains and El Dorado, and 98 in Gold Butte, per Section 1.2.  However, the HMA page for Muddy Mountains shows an AML of 50.

The aimed-at stocking rate at Gold Butte is 98 ÷ 178,000 × 1,000 = 0.6 wild burros per thousand acres, equivalent to 0.3 wild horses per thousand acres.  The target stocking rate across all HMAs is one wild horse per thousand acres.

A draft FONSI has been posted with the project documents.

Comments will be accepted through April 30.

Thriving Ecological Imbalance at Little Colorado HMA

The HMA, one of five affected by the Rock Springs gather plan, does not contain any checkerboard land and is not included in the Rock Springs RMP amendments, as noted at the end of Section 1.1 in the Draft EA.

The management plan assigns 1,200 AUMs per year to wild horses at the upper end of the AML, with 45,004 AUMs per year assigned to privately owned livestock.

That means the horses are allowed to consume up to 2.6% of the authorized forage in the HMA, also known as ‘their food.’

Doesn’t that seem a bit strange?  The land was set aside for the horses.

The proposed action will gather the HMA to the lower end of the AML, leaving around 69 horses.  Growth rates will be minimized with contraceptives.

The horses will need 828 AUMs per year after the roundup, about 1.8% of the authorized forage.

The fertility control program locks the pattern in, maximizing benefits to the public-lands ranchers.

RELATED: Aim of Rock Springs Gather Plan.