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BLM Proposing Fence, Water Projects for Wild Horses in Colorado

The Horse

Piceance East Douglas HMA

Piceance East Douglas HMA

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comment on two projects the agency believes would benefit wild horses in the Piceance-East Douglas herd management area (HMA) in Rio Blanco County, Colorado.

The BLM plans to reconstruct nearly a mile of four-strand barbed-wire fencing near Duck Creek as part of a larger effort to ensure the 137-mile perimeter of the HMA is adequately fenced to reduce conflicts resulting from wild horses leaving the HMA.

Additionally, the agency said redeveloping Corcoran Spring could help ensure the spring provides a reliable source of water in both wet and dry years as well as help protect the spring source.

The preliminary environmental assessment of these two projects is now available for public review at or at the White River Field Office, located at 220 East Market Street in Meeker, Colorado.

Comments can be submitted to and will be most helpful if received by Dec. 15, the BLM said.

For more information, contact range technician Melissa Kindall at 970/878-3842.

10 replies »

  1. Barbed wire = death to horses from horrifying injuries. I will and suggest others write in to request using smooth wire, which still hurts but make less problematic injuries if they tangle in it. Since the old fence has been down and horses expect it to remain so, I will also ask them to flag the top wire so horses can see it from a distance, especially if they are moving fast. If we don’t allow Hollywood trip wires anymore, we shouldn’t create new ones here.

    Smooth wire may cost more but they just saved (how much?) that was set aside for the OSU “research” so should be able to do this.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. NOW they are concerned? Will write & suggest, Icy. Does make you wonder where all the money for “research” has gone, tho. Nice of them to do water projects, huh?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good idea to allow wild horses access to water. But aren’t they really paying the welfare ranchers to fence their own property off, which they should have had to pay for themselves decades ago. Barb Wire and HORSES = Murder. Really??? Be real cowboys and ante up for some horse/wildlife safe fencing material. The only thing barb wire is good for is cows, welfare ranchers and it does make an awesome base for my western style Christmas wreathes… #KeepWildHorsesWild

    Liked by 1 person

    • Seriously – why would the ranchers want to shell out for fence? If the horses come on their land – the horses disappear! Heck we – the taxpayers – are already paying for the allotments – whats a little wire? At least this way the fence gets put up. I do hope the BLM pays attention to the comments about barb wire.


  4. More on the Piceance East Douglas herd (the West Douglas herd was zero’d out last year) from 2011:

    The Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area encompasses 190,130 acres, with an AML range for wild horses of 135-235 animals. This equates to 809 – 1,408 acres of forage to sustain a single wild horse within the HMA. Since 1997, Wild horses have been authorized 2,568 AUMs and, according to the EA, are currently responsible for consumption “128% above allowable use“. Cattle are allocated 6,935 AUMs, however, even exceeding allowed forage, wild horse use is still 1,110 units below what cattle are allocated.

    Four Grazing Allotments encompass 166,888 acres of the HMA. And while wild horses are present throughout the year, cattle are permitted through the peak of forage growth and watershed. Cattle numbers vary between 50 in one grazing allotment to 550 in several others. Even at high AML for wild horses this exceeds their numbers by 315 animals. The only months of the year cattle are not authorized are August and September. …

    Oil and gas development encompasses approximately 2,920 acres within the HMA, or 10 acres per well pad (292 wells). Three horses have been killed in vehicle collisions in direct connection to oil and gas infrastructure since 2007.

    Shell Frontier Oil and Gas owns 19,000 acres of private land within the HMA plus an additional 200 acres near Cathedral Bluffs. A conflict with a livestock operator prompted the installation of a four strand barb-wire fence around their private land. According to the EA, this conflict has now been resolved; the fence has 100 foot gaps, allowing wild horses to pass through. …

    Grazing allotment acreage within this HMA accounts for nearly 86% – leaving perhaps 14% for wild horses to roam freely or at the very least, with minimal constraint. If not taking into account 292, ten-acre oil platforms.


  5. Barbed wire!? What is wrong with smooth wire? Since we had cattle we did use some barbed wire, but the top strand around my horse pen was smooth. Now we use mainly hot wire. No cutting. I know that would not probably be a good solution to wild horses. The main thing is to quit kissing private ranchers a…s and leave the land to the the wild horses and donkeys like it was supposed to be. Fencing and water is a good idea to keep the cattle and sheep and whatever out. I hope and pray that our new so called president will be on the wild horse and burro’s side.

    Liked by 1 person

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