BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs urges roundup of 4,000 wild horses in Elko county this summer

BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs crawls into bed with welfare ranchers and Nevada Gov. Sandoval by urging this massive roundup of wild horses in Nevada.

635792205939979811-Ruhs-Photo     BLM Nevada Dir. John Ruhs

Source:  krqe.com

In this June 5, 2013 photo, some of the hundreds of mustangs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management removed from federal rangeland peer at visitors at the BLM's Palomino Valley holding facility about 20 miles north of Reno in Palomino Valley, Nev. The Cloud Foundation and Friends of Animas are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to declare wild horses threatened or endangered in North America under the Endangered Species Act. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

In this June 5, 2013 photo, some of the hundreds of mustangs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management removed from federal rangeland peer at visitors at the BLM’s Palomino Valley holding facility about 20 miles north of Reno in Palomino Valley, Nev.                (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

US agency’s Nevada boss urges roundup of 4,000 mustangs

RENO, Nev. (AP) – The Bureau of Land Management’s Nevada director wants to round up 4,000 wild horses in Elko County this summer in response to the continued deterioration of drought-stricken rangeland.

That’s more mustangs than were gathered across 10 Western states combined last year.

BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs says it won’t be possible to consider lifting livestock grazing restrictions in the northeast corner of the state without removing the mustangs from four herd management areas.

He says the horse gathers also would benefit the greater sage grouse.

Conservationists say the call for more roundups is a misguided attempt to placate ranchers at the expense of horses and grouse. They say cattle do far more damage than mustangs to the parched range and the imperiled bird.

 

24 comments on “BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs urges roundup of 4,000 wild horses in Elko county this summer

  1. ” “The people who abuse the public lands the worst are the ones who will fight the hardest.”

    Tension between ranchers and federal officials is dangerously high in Nevada
    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-nevada-ranchers-blm-20160114-story.html

    Gerald “Jerry” Smith grew up in Nevada and went to work for the Bureau of Land Management right after college. As a local, he figured he was uniquely suited to work with the ranchers who have long resented the federal government’s role in land management here.
    It didn’t quite work out that way.
    Now retired from a job as district manager for the BLM, Smith knows all about the tensions that have long defined relations between ranchers in the rural West and the federal government, which manages much of the region’s land. Those tensions have boiled over in recent days at a wildlife refuge in Oregon and are at a perpetual simmer here.
    Now it is Smith’s successor as district manager, Doug Furtado, who has become the enemy for many people in the region.
    Although there have been no violence or threats here, the risk is real. Federal employees in Nevada have been attacked in the past over land-use disputes — shot at, their offices and cars bombed.
    “We got to live in this community,” said Smith, who supervised, trained and still hunts with Furtado in this community where many carry concealed handguns. “All these issues, none of them are worth dying over. I worry about that — so does Doug.”
    Furtado, district manager for the last five years, listens to the honking from inside his office. He is no longer allowed to speak publicly and was recently forced to back off on drought-driven grazing restrictions he imposed in 2013 and cede control of negotiations with ranchers to the state director.
    Everybody felt a little more empowered when the BLM didn’t impound Cliven Bundy,” Smith said.

    John Ruhs, the Bureau of Land Management’s state director, took over negotiations with the Battle Mountain ranchers last summer. Ruhs — a former Marine who dresses like a rancher in cowboy boots, wool vest, jeans and a forked beard — brokered a temporary agreement that allowed the families to continue grazing.

    Last week, Smith was out hunting speckled chukar partridges in Whirlwind Valley outside Battle Mountain. He noted with dismay invasive plants left behind by overgrazing: tumbleweed, Russian thistle, cheatgrass.

    “The range has just deteriorated,” he said. “It’s burned. For miles around it’s grazed down to nothing. You’d stand out there and just see white snow because there’s nothing’s going to stick up.”

    He wishes ranchers would see the benefit of limited grazing, which will help the grasses recover and sustain their herd in the long run.

    “I just don’t see it ending that way here,” he said. “The people who abuse the public lands the worst are the ones who will fight the hardest.”

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    • Why is that the government people never do anything they are supposed to do. Like protect the animals they were hired to do. You Mr. Ruhs are an ass

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  2. Ranchers denied the drought while collecting drought subsidies
    December 3, 2015
    https://www.revealnews.org/article/ranchers-denied-the-drought-while-collecting-drought-subsidies/

    In June, tough-talking ranchers in remote Battle Mountain, Nevada, defied the federal government, herding cattle onto public rangeland that had been closed to grazing to protect it during the West’s scorching drought.
    That act of defiance capped two years of protest against grazing restrictions imposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which manages thousands of square miles of arid federal land in Nevada.

    In the end, the federal government backed down from the confrontation in Battle Mountain. The BLM canceled the drought closures and opened the range, just as the cattlemen wanted.

    On one hand, they denied the drought. On the other hand, they embraced it.
    According to records obtained by Reveal, two ranching families at the center of the Battle Mountain protests received $2.2 million from a federal drought disaster relief program.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lawsuit Fights Special Interest Loopholes in Greater Sage-Grouse Plans
    Conservation Groups seek to restore science-based habitat protections on public lands
    http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2016/02/25/lawsuit-fights-special-interest-loopholes-in-greater-sage-grouse-plans/

    “The federal sage-grouse plans are a crazy-quilt of weak protections and politically motivated loopholes that allow many of the most destructive activities to continue,” said Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist with WildEarth Guardians. “Federal agencies turned their backs on the habitat protections recommended by their own scientists, and instead adopted political compromises that can’t — and won’t — prevent further sage-grouse declines.”

    Because the Department of the Interior broke up the planning process into fifteen different plans, the resulting blueprint is full of loopholes and giveaways. Protections from oil and gas drilling are weakest in Wyoming, which has the most abundant remaining sage-grouse populations and the heaviest oil and gas development. Nevada has the biggest geothermal industry of any sage-grouse state, but geothermal development in that state doesn’t have to meet habitat-protection standards. And the largest transmission lines currently in the planning stages have all been exempted from sage-grouse protections under the federal plans. Well-developed science, including the BLM’s own National Technical Team
    recommendations, shows what greater sage-grouse need to survive and recover; yet the plans fail to adopt these science-based protections.

    “Amending all the federal plans to improve sage-grouse protections and designate priority habitats is an important step forward, but ultimately the federal plans failed to meet the scientifically established minimum protections that sage-grouse require to survive,” said Nancy Hilding of Prairie Hills Audubon Society. “This lawsuit is designed to strengthen sage-grouse protections to at least meet minimum requirements needed to maintain or recover populations on key habitats.”

    “Failing to require immediate reforms to livestock grazing abuses just presses ‘pause’ on necessary protections and will only benefit special interests and harm the bird,” said Greta Anderson of Western Watersheds Project. “Grazing not only affects the vegetation that sage-grouse need for cover, but also accelerates cheatgrass invasions and stokes the cycle of unnaturally frequent wildfires across sage-grouse range.”

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  4. The Cowboy Plan to Save Sage Grouse….. Making Things Worse (excerpts)
    http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2011/12/14/the-cowboy-plan-to-save-sage-grouse-making-things-worse/

    What Happens Next. The Cowboy Way.
    Enter the cowboys and the BLM. Now that they can see the writing on the wall, they are struggling to come up with ways to address this issue without impacting the livestock industry.

    “Green Strips” or “Fuel Breaks”
    The first strategy being conducted by the BLM is to create “green strips” or “fuel breaks”
    I have seen several of the “green strips” or “fuel breaks” projects and many of them are not well thought out. The first one I visited in northern Nevada was an eye opener. Katie and I went to meet the BLM who had proposed to mow several wide, parallel swaths through intact sagebrush next to roads to create “fuel breaks”.
    Interspersed were small islands of deeper soils which supported clumps basin big sagebrush where pygmy rabbits had dug their burrows. These islands had been largely disturbed by cattle who sought out the only shade available to them but some pygmy rabbits remained. Unfortunately here, the BLM had done no surveys for pygmy rabbits, a BLM sensitive species, and they were going to mow right through the area.
    We tried to convince them of their folly but they would have none of it.

    Pinyon and Juniper Killing
    Pinyon and juniper killing is another strategy being touted by the cowboys and BLM to address sage grouse declines. Because the lower elevation sage grouse habitats have become so trashed by invasive weeds and crested wheatgrass seeding areas, the BLM has started to focus its efforts on higher elevation areas with pinyon and juniper trees. Instead of referring to them as forests they call them “woodlands” and say that they are “invading” sage grouse habitat. In reality, many of these forests are actually quite old and contain trees which are often 100+ years old.

    Sagebrush “Treatments”
    Sagebrush treatments occur in various forms from mowing strips of sagebrush, applying herbicides like Tebuthiuron to kill it, burning it, or mechanical treatments which completely destroy it along with everything else.

    Is There Optimism for the future of Sage Grouse?
    Because of increasing fragmentation of sage grouse habitat across the West it is hard to be optimistic for their future in any ecologically meaningful numbers. Fundamentally, what needs to be done for sage grouse will likely never be considered until a tipping point is crossed and it is too late. The agencies have repeatedly shown that they are incapable of dealing effectively with the threats posed by the actions they approve on their lands and that they have chosen to take a myopic approach to the issue of landscape disturbance and fragmentation.

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  5. funny how the horses have to suffer for what the damn ranchers do….Policy should be this………….NO CATTLE EVER on BLM LANDS……If the ranchers can’t provide enough land OF THEIR OWN, then they NEED TO DOWNSIZE THEIR HERD SIZES!!!! Why are THEY allowed to destroy what US TAXPAYERS ARE SUBSIDIZING because THEY think they need to run more cows than they can afford to buy land for?????? The mustangs were on those lands LONG BEFORE the cattle came along!!!!

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  6. The Wyoming Checkerboard roundup wasn’t enough to pacify them. The folks in Nevada want to have their own, except it appears that they want to break Wyoming’s record by rounding up over three times as many horses as they did. -_- Really Ruhs?

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  7. Yes, the news just announced of the round up. It makes me sick, And what are they going to do with 4,ooo horses? Their so called adoption, sneaking them out to the slaughter houses. This is really a bunch of crap, I am being polite. They have to have close to 50,000 to 60,000. They haven’t stopped to get a breather.We all know of the abuse, separating the babies from the mom’s while they send them to slaughter. How much prove does one need to stop these greedy ass holes. ON BOTH SIDES, RANCHERS AND BLM. you can add the other departments. I sure wish I was rich, to help fight these SOB’S

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  8. How is this legal, since in the HMAs (their legally designated areas) wild horses are to be given “principal” rights to forage, and the BLM has very clear authority to cancel or rescind grazing leases at any time they so choose. Grazing leases were never meant to constitute a private property right of any sort whatsoever. While I’m not a lawyer it seems the grazing by livestock constitutes a “takings” from the public trust, and removal of wild horses to enable are a further “takings” while both are subsidized by extensive taxpayer funds. Whatever happened to being a nation of laws?

    “BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs says it won’t be possible to consider lifting livestock grazing restrictions in the northeast corner of the state without removing the mustangs from four herd management areas”.

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  9. Well, if this doesn’t make clear how afraid the BLM is of the ranchers “threats” – at the same time being in bed with them – what does? When will there be someone with enough gumption to actually draw a line? Sounds like Doug Furtado has been prevented from doing anything to keep cattle off the range – the ranchers & Big Ag lobbies have too much money so can call the shots. Apparently the bureaucrats have the say in everything. The guys that are actually in the field have nothing.

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  10. funny how the horses have to suffer for what the damn ranchers do….Policy should be this………….NO CATTLE EVER on BLM LANDS……If the ranchers can’t provide enough land OF THEIR OWN, then they NEED TO DOWNSIZE THEIR HERD SIZES!!!! Why are THEY allowed to destroy what US TAXPAYERS ARE SUBSIDIZING because THEY think they need to run more cows than they can afford to buy land for?????? The mustangs were on those lands LONG BEFORE the cattle came along!!!!

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  11. The Buck $tops at the Top

    An Open Letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze
    February 2, 2016
    http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2016/02/02/an-open-letter-to-blm-director-neil-kornze/

    “But the BLM has been backing down, giving in, and failing to uphold its field managers’ decisions more and more frequently under your lead.”

    Dear Mr. Kornze,

    One might think that, given all the work BLM put into its decision and the subsequent legal defense, there would be no way the agency would back down now. Surely it would make no sense for the agency to negotiate away rational decisions and hard-fought legal wins in favor of placating law-breaking ranchers. Surely, in the interest of protecting competing land uses, the agency would uphold closures meant to protect imperiled wildlife habitat, prevent invasive species infestations, and limit ongoing degradation.

    But the BLM has been backing down, giving in, and failing to uphold its field managers’ decisions more and more frequently under your lead. One need look no further than the Battle Mountain District 250 miles south east to see the BLM’s acquiescence to other unreasonable rancher demands. There, following a well-considered drought plan,

    BLM temporarily closed the Argenta and the Battle Mountain Complex allotments to livestock grazing. Its decisions were upheld following litigation from the ranchers, and the District Manager survived the personal harassment documented in this recent L.A. Times story. But when the ranchers refused to obey the closures, BLM brought in John Ruhs from D.C. to slap their greedy hands with a pittance of a fine and to ultimately let them put livestock back onto the allotments.

    After the BLM spent nearly $270,000 dollars on a “collaborative” process figuring out the best way to throw more taxpayer money at the parched Argenta allotment in the form of new range infrastructure, the ranchers have pledged to break the rules again this spring if the authorized grazing isn’t to their liking.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. When will stop taking these wild animals these beautiful wild horses and locking them up. They have survived for centuries through drought through fires man continues to try and exterminate them. Why can’t they live wild and free Please Stop if we keep this up none will be left. These majestic horses are not worthless.

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  13. What you will have left in these areas is invasive weeds all because of the cattle along with sheep pulling up the grasses by the roots. From the description of what’s left and trying to come up with a way to prevent wildfires the stupid BLM and the stupid local government really don’t know how to handle this. The BLM won’t just tell the ranchers a flat no to keeping their cattle in destroyed grazing allotments because they have been in bed with them too long. This should have been stopped
    years ago now they can’t stop it without a shooting war. From what I understand the BLM has given up on rounding up Bundy’s cattle because of the cattle running wild have become like cape buffalo that will charge anyone they see this is according to High Country News.

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    • Barbara, surely they could round cattle up with helicopters since they seem to prefer that method for other species, and cattle tend to bunch up more readily than horses or burros.

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      • WOW Icy how come no one has come up with that before? Strange, isn’t it – the helicopters are the go-to way to round up horses – it wouldn’t work with cows????? I seem to remember way back when – cowboys on horses (!) would chase down wild cows – & rope them! Seems to me a helicopter might work just fine….

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  14. They just need to leave the Mustangs and burros alone! There are so many people in someones pocket and so many in bed with one another. I don’t know what will happen but the animals are doomed it seems. The ranchers need to back off! The mustangs have been here longer than them. They are an icon! So tired of all the money grubbers out there!! . .

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  15. Icy Spots,
    Its what was in the article so its looks like they got the info from someone that works for the BLM that would know. The article also said that Bundy don’t even know where his cattle roam or care. Do you know how dangerous Cape Buffalo are they are something you wouldn’t want to be attacked by you will lose. It could be the bulls that have become so dangerous I know the bulls that Spain raises for the bull fights will also attack anybody they see on the ground. The ranches that raise these bulls ride horses when they take care of them the bulls never see anyone walking around they only see that when they are put in the ring to fight.

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    • Barbara, with all due respect, domestic bulls are nothing like Cape Buffalo, who are ranked among the most aggressive of all trophy hunted animals. There is nothing to stop them using helicopters to both count and round them up the same as they do for horses and bison other than they are private property. However, since the BLM did gun down at least two of Bundy’s bulls from the air without any penalties they have proven they have this option, too (one I disagree with but which did happen).

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  16. Interesting that BLM wants to remove horses when cattle were along I 80 late July and mid Aug in 2014. I want to say mile marker 339 ON BOTH SIDES of the freeway. Not only that but the cattle never moved from when I saw them at the end of July to when I passed back through mid Aug.

    Where I saw them is between Elko and Wells…but closer to Wells.

    A year and a half ago it pissed me off because I knew we were in a drought. No one had said anything official…but after not getting rain for a couple of years, one knows.

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