by Carol Walker as published on Wild Hoofbeats
The Bureau of Land Management Announces a Scoping Period for Public Comments for Four Little Known Wild Horse Herds With No Way for the Public to Find It
by Carol Walker
The North Lander Complex Herds are four wild horse herds in Wyoming: Conant Creek, Dishpan Butte, Muskrat Basin and Rock Creek Mountain. These herds are not famous like the Pryors or Sand Wash Basin or Onaqui, but they deserve just as much attention and respect and also deserve to have a fair chance for public review and comment just as any other wild horse herd does. The last helicopter roundup of this herd was in 2012. The four herds are located on over 375,000 acres.
When I was trying to find the Scoping Document and the Dear Reader Letter on the Bureau of Land Management’s eplanning site which is where all the information needs to be placed for the public to review and comment, I could not find anything. But I could find the Scoping Documents for previous scoping periods in 2016 and 2018. Here they are: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/70450/570
But this time, there is nothing on eplanning for 2021. The whole point of the eplanning site when it was set up a few years ago was to have a site that is searchable for documents that need to be reviewed and commented upon by the public. Every other wild horse herd in Wyoming puts their Scoping Documents here for review.
Because you cannot find this tiny bit of information anywhere unless you were sent it in the mail, I am copying the information from the News Release:
News Release BLM Lander Field Office
Media Contact: Sarah Beckwith (307) 347-5207 firstname.lastname@example.org
April 1, 2021
BLM seeks input on future wild horse gathers in the North Lander Complex
LANDER, Wyo.—The Bureau of Land Management Lander Field Office requests public input as it analyzes future wild horse gathers in the North Lander Wild Horse Complex.
The North Lander Complex is in southeast Fremont County and is made up of the Conant Creek, Dishpan Butte, Muskrat Basin and Rock Creek Mountain herd management areas. The North Lander Complex’s appropriate management level (AML)—the point at which the wild horse population is consistent with the land’s capacity to support it and other mandated uses of those lands—is 320–536 horses. The BLM estimates that there are more than 1,600 horses in the complex.
“Gathers will be needed in the North Lander Complex to return the population to within its AML, slow population growth and remove wild horses that have strayed outside of the complex,” said Lander Field Manager John Elliott.
The BLM’s analysis will include various alternatives for gathering and implementing population control measures to achieve and maintain the AML. Population control methods that may be considered include gelding or vasectomizing stallions; reducing the reproducing population through adjusted sex ratios; using intrauterine devices (IUDs) on mares; and using the fertility control drug GonaCon.
Public input is valuable early in the process and will enable the BLM to develop a well-informed environmental assessment. Comments should be received by April 30, 2021 and may be emailed to BLM_WY_North_Lander_Gather@blm.gov or mailed to Wild Horse Specialist, BLM Lander Field Office, 1335 Main Street, Lander, WY 82401.
All comments, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask that your identifying information be withheld from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
For more information, contact BLM Wild Horse and Burro Specialist Clay Stott at (307) 332-8400.
What is missing from this pitiful News Release:
- The news release does not even give the acreage of the 4 herds.
- There is no map.
- There is no information on when the last flyover count was done, how often it was done and how it was done to arrive at the estimate of “more than 1600 horses in the complex.”
- There is no information on birth and death rates.
- There is no information on how any of these draconian methods of vasectomization, spaying, IUD insertion, Gonacon would be applied.
- There is no information about the cattle and sheep grazing leases in the area.
- There is no information about when or how the roundup or roundups will be conducted.
If you look at the Scoping Document from 2016 they provide a table with population counts and estimates, and ironically they have this to say about NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act:
“One essential element of the NEPA process is scoping. Scoping activities are initiated early in the process to: identify reasonable alternatives to be evaluated in the environmental analysis; identify environmental issues of concern related to the proposed gather; determine the depth of analysis for issues addressed in the environmental document; and identify potential mitigation. Known resource issues or potential conflicts to be addressed in the EA include: recreational activities such as hunting, wildlife and wild horse viewing; special status plant species; wildlife, and special status wildlife species; historic trails; oil and gas development and rights-of-way; wild horse population control treatments; and livestock grazing. This scoping notice has been prepared to describe means by which governmental agencies, the general public, and other interested parties may participate in and contribute to the analysis process. Public input is important in establishing the scope of analysis for any NEPA document, and the BLM encourages public participation.”
I would say that this plan and its lack of visibility is designed to discourage public participation and input. I did contact the Wild Horse and Burro Expert, the Field Office Manager, the Public Relations Specialist and the Cheyenne State Office to no avail.
Here are talking points for your comments, please use your own words:
- Please put the Scoping Documents and all relevant information on the eplanning site and give the public 30 more days to comment once the information is up.
- Give the information on when actual flyover counts were done for the four herds.
- Never use IUDs on wild mares. This is a dangerous, unproven and unnecessary idea.
- Never spay wild mares. There is a tremendous amount of research and documentation that this cruel and barbaric and dangerous procedure should not be done.
- Skewing the sex ratio away from the naturally occurring 50-50 male female split will increase injuries, death and will disrupt the structure of family bands. There are no scientific studies proving that this is beneficial.
- Do not geld wild stallions. Gelding completely changes natural wild horse behavior and will destroy the herd.
- Remove the grazing leases on the Herd Management Areas and manage wild horses as the principle species as they should be, according to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act.
- Change the Appropriate Management Level for the area. 320 wild horses on 375,000 acres is only 1 horse per 1,172 acres.
- If birth control must be used, use PZP since it is proven to be reversible, safe and humane.
What I request that you do is use your own words.
Comment to the BLM by April 30, 2021:
Email to BLM_WY_North_Lander_Gather@blm.gov or mailed to Wild Horse Specialist, BLM Lander Field Office, 1335 Main Street, Lander, WY 82401
President Joe Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Phone (with employee directory): (202) 208-3100
FedRelay number: (800)877-8339 (TTY)
Your Senators: https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm
Your Representatives: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
Nada Wolff Culver, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Land Management
Phone: 202-208-2801, Email: email@example.com
Our wild horses are counting on you. Please get the word out and make your voice heard.