The BLM plans to permanently remove 100 wild horses from Nevada’s Little Fish Lake Herd Management Area, stating that the wild horses are “threatened by lack of forage from within the HMA.” However, the BLM will continue to allow the Wagon Johnnie Grazing Allotment permittee to graze 201 cattle for 6 months of each year on 100% public lands. (per BLM Rangeland Administration System information). We know the number of cattle could be doubled since the BLM counts a cow-calf pair as only 1.
But, what’s really interesting is that a 2014 Forest Service report claimed there were 528 cattle on the Wagon Johnnie Allotment. Even though the Forest Service noted “Permittees should expect that, if drought impacts to plant production occur, they may be required to exit the allotment earlier than normal this grazing season,” it seems that there have never been any suspended AUMs for the Wagon Johnnie Allotment permittee, Colvin & Son, LLC.
So, the BLM continues to let 528 cattle graze while they remove wild horses to a non-viable herd number of 89 (with 50 of those remaining 89 remaining horses given the experimental fertility control drug, PZP).
Another interesting thing the 2014 Forest Service report stated about another grazing allotment: “Colvin & Son, LLC was allowed double their permitted numbers in Little Fish Lake C&H allotment as per the District Ranger for the 2014 grazing season with the agreement to rest the allotment for the 2015 grazing season. Utilization studies will be performed by Austin/Tonopah District personnel to determine if the allotment can sustain a permanent increase.”
So, during a “drought” in Nevada, which is supposed to last years, another government agency, the USDA’s Forest Service, is considering a PERMANENT INCREASE in cattle grazing. Go figure. – Debbie
Drought Prompts BLM to gather horses in Nevada
The BLM plans to gather about 150 wild horses threatened by lack of forage by using a helicopter to locate and guide wild horses toward a set of corrals. Photo: Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management Nevada’s Battle Mountain District Tonopah Field Office is scheduled to begin a drought-related wild horse gather in the Little Fish Lake Herd Management Area (HMA), near Tonopah, on or about Feb. 8.
The BLM plans to gather about 150 wild horses threatened by lack of forage using a helicopter to locate and guide wild horses toward a set of corrals. Fifty horses will be released back into the HMA, and all mares will be treated with the fertility control drug porcine zona pellucida. About 100 horses will be transported to the Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in Ridgecrest, California, where they will be will be prepared for adoption by the public. A total of about 100 horses will remain in the HMA after the gather.
Drought conditions have persisted throughout Nevada since 2012, leading to pending emergency conditions in Nye County that seriously threaten the health and well-being of these wild horses. The U.S. drought monitor shows the HMA is in severe drought which, coupled with overutilization by wild horses, has left the HMA with limited available forage for the winter. Lack of vegetation and range impacts from overpopulation by wild horses is also affecting important habitat used by Greater Sage-Grouse.
Wild horse gathers due to drought conditions were analyzed in the Battle Mountain District Drought Management Environmental Assessment dated June 22, 2012. A Determination of National Environmental Policy Act Adequacy, and a Finding of No Significant Impact were completed for this gather; the documents can be viewed online.
The BLM will offer public viewing opportunities during the gather operations and will be updating the gather hotline (775/861-6700) with more information. Photos, daily updates, and other information will be available on the Little Fish Lake Gather website.