Equine Rescue

Connection Between Wildfire, USFS, BLM and Wild Horse Management?

Kati Weis at CBS Denver is doing the kind of powerful investigative journalism that made CBS a leader in investigative expose’ work.

Infographic courtesy of CBS Denver & William E. Simpson II

And her latest piece about wild horses and the BLM, which is part of a critically important series, is a world class investigative piece! 
Yet, as amazing as her latest segment on wild horses and the BLM is, that segment primarily hits just the ‘problem’, which is part of the bigger-story that needs telling, in order to actually save American wild horses and taxpayers hundreds of $-millions in annual costs due to direct and indirect costs of mismanagement of wild horses.
And the problems cited in that CBS Investigative Report are not limited to just Colorado!
The highly flawed management of wild horses by the BLM is seen across virtually all BLM managed wild horse Herd Areas in multiple states, as well as wild horse territories managed by the USFS.
Speaking of the USFS, they now spend over 90% of their budget ($8-Billion+ dollars/year) on wildfire suppression (firefighting)! Shockingly only 5% is spent on prevention.
And what kind of ‘prevention’ is 5% of the USFS budget funding?
Prescribed (‘controlled’) Burning, which as we see in New Mexico, can become disastrous uncontrolled wildfires!  It’s fair to say that the U.S. Forest Service has now morphed into the U.S. Fire Service, where burning the forest has arguably become their new revenue model.
Background and the larger picture:
I believed that I had negotiated the implementation of the Wild Horse Fire Brigade through the DOI and BLM in 2015 – 2016, via one-on-one discussions with the Deputy Director of the DOI back then, Mr. Tim Williams.
It was at that time I saw the undisclosed and unauthorized use of wildfire by the USFS to clear forests to create more livestock grazing (when a forest is burnt-down, the first thing that grows is grass and brush).
Having a background in forest and livestock management, I immediately realized they were duplicating the Brazilian model for increasing livestock production while reducing production costs via super cheap grazing via permits from the USFS.
Prior to the spotted owl debacle (blaming logging for what is now know as a problem with the Barred Owl devastating spotted owls), now debunked, the USFS use to be in the business of forest management for sustainable logging… However, wrong headed environmentalists collapsed a successful forest management paradigm that had been working for over a century.
But now, the USFS spends the vast majority of their entire budget on firefighting, which they cleverly call ‘suppression’ (about $8-billion/year).
 And of that, less than 5% is spent on wildfire Prevention! Shocking, since an ounce of prevention = pound of cure. One must ask WHY?  Following the money leads to a very concerning conspiracy.
I wrote an article back then about what I was seeing:  https://healthyforests.org/2017/08/william-simpson-the-deforestation-of-america/
Then, after dozens of emails and phone calls, in late 2017, Congressman Greg Walden and other legislators reached out in writing to the Chief of the USDA and DOI.
But by then Mr. Ethan Lane a very powerful man (Pres. Public Lands Council and head of Beef.org) arguably made a behind closed doors deal with newly appointed Ryan Zinke.
And instead of relocating (see definitions herein below) and reWilding the horses into wildfire grazing roles as native herbivores restored as keystone herbivores into selected remote wilderness areas that are both economically and ecologically appropriate, Zinke and Lane ostensibly made a closed-door deal to take advantage of Catastrophic Wildfire to clear forests and create even more cheap grazing lands, the same way they did and are doing in Brazil!
Because of the removal of the Rain forest in Brazil and the evolved cheap livestock grazing, Brazil now arguably produces the cheapest beef in the world. The American livestock industry took careful notes as a result of having to compete with Brazilian beef.
In 2019, I realized that the DOI and USFS were all-in on expanding livestock grazing via burning forests, because they all made money at the expense of taxpayers. And that scheme allowed the USFS to duplicate the BLM revenue model of selling ‘grazing permits’ in grasslands that were once forests.
The USFS had come to learn there were more tax-dollars for them via ‘wildfire suppression’ than there was for forest management, and wildfires as ‘controlled burns’ became the new revenue model for the USFS!
The doubling and tripling of wildfire suppression budgets to the USFS has resulted in the doubling of the numbers of wildfires as well as their size and intensity…
WHAT does this tell us?
Actual wildfire statistics are alarming:  https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/IF10244.pdf
In 2019, it became obvious that my Plan (Wild Horse Fire Brigade) for saving forests and wildlife via reestablishing the native herbivory starting with wild horses, had been shelved in favor of expanding livestock grazing at the expense of our forests, wildlife and wild horses, I issued this press release:
The shakedown of American taxpayers is larger than just the livestock industry deal with the BLM, and the USFS is now involved in a very big way!
Americans and elected officials must come to understand that a preponderance of published science supports the fact that:
Nature’s herbviory controlled wildfire effectively for millennia, keeping them in the realm of normal wildfires that burn low and slow due to minimal flashy fuels, and there’s a huge pile of published science that supports that concept. 
Most of the 100+ studies are cited as supporting references to my own Study (see end of my Study):
Eric Molvar’s idea of ‘buying out grazing permits’ is not a holistic solution, and fails in the understanding that even the complete removal of all livestock from the existing HMAs doesn’t fix one of the biggest problems facing wild horses and cervids… the Apex predators in these areas have been virtually eliminated over the past 2-centuries with great prejudice and at great cost to American taxpayers and ecosystems. 
And in the the general area of Herd Areas, chronic wasting disease (CWD) is spreading like wildfire, also a result of missing apex predators.
And it’s an indisputable fact that it will take many decades of work to reestablish those apex predator populations in proper ecological balance.
Apex predators control populations of large herbivores, including and especially wild horses, keeping them in balance with ecosystems and eliminating the weak, sick/diseased and elderly animals which is what maintains genetic vigor.
In the meantime, in absence of proper apex predators populations, wild horse herds will grow, and without Natural Selection, genetic erosion will occur, harming the long term survival of the species. 

Before humans meddled in these ecosystems, Natural Selection allowed wild horses to survive in North America for 1.7-Million years… it works!   
Citing the problem with the BLM and Wild Horses must lead to a ‘workable’ solution.  ‘Workable’ = economically and ecologically feasible.
Problem —> Solution
Arguably, none of the big-dollar gold-plated non-profits have tendered anything better than ecologically and economically flawed work-arounds.
These big-dollar non-profits use their $-millions in donations to influence media and bogart the conversation and media time available on the subject, and getting far more air-time than they are worthy-of, given they have used well over $100-Million in donations and have had over a decade to effect a solution, and have not!
What is the empirical result of all of that time and money and media exposure?
Wild horses are in the worst predicament than at any time in the past.
There is no workable cost-effective solution that is both ecologically and genetically sensible.
And even as these big-dollar wild horse non-profits bogart the conversation, they attempt to sequester and ignore (providing no support) a new science supported concept (‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’), which posits the rewilding and relocating wild horses into carefully selected, remote critical wilderness areas that are ecologically and economically appropriate.
There is just one Plan that comes from Nature, instead of more artificial meddling and management with adverse impacts and unwieldy costs to taxpayers, directly and in directly, through taxes and the hundreds of $-millions in donation dollars that have been provided, yet have failed to lead to any positive result, just more debates, lawsuits, roundups and general turmoil as wild horses are being decimated.
There is genuine cost-effective and ecologically appropriate path:

Wild Horse Fire Brigade restores wild horses back into wild intact wilderness ecosystems, where wild horses can resume their evolved roles as keystone herbivores, thereby, re-balancing wilderness ecosystems that are currently suffering from catastrophic wildfires due to collapsed native species herbivories.

ABC NEWS WATCH 12 coverage: https://www.kdrv.com/video/more-wild-horses-equals-less-fire-fuels/video_8b3c4ab9-9e43-5c6f-ae4b-89351b795ab1.html


This new article  highlights a legal, natural, holistic and humane solution that takes wild horses out of harm’s way, and provides them with homes in naturally operating ecosystems, instead of highly manipulated and artificially managed grazing areas with ongoing never-ending conflicts in many current Herd Management Areas.

Keeping wild horses in problematic BLM and USFS Herd Areas, that have been depleted long-ago of the co-evolved natural predators of wild horses, does wild horses a huge genetic injustice.
And anyone who insists they must be kept in such ecologically damaged areas, under any circumstances, 1971 Act or not, needs to review the science of Natural Selection in contrast to the proper, sustainable, natural management of wild horses and cervids.
Natural Selection by apex predators is critically important to the long-term survival of wild horses and maintains the genetic vigor of the species by naturally culling weak, sick and elderly horses, as well as naturally controlling populations and keeping them in balance. Humans are incapable of doing what Nature does effortlessly through millions of years of evolution.
More Potential Folly:
The notion of reintroducing apex predators into Herd Areas that have long-ago been depleted of apex predators to increase livestock production, listens good.
But that concept, while noble, is ill-conceived because it is no longer timely at this late stage for wild horse conservation given the relatively few remaining wild horses.
Simply, it is a bridge to far as such a program will require decades of hard work and luck to reestablish proper population densities of apex predators, even with immediate government approval, and cooperation of public land users.
It’s just not going to happen, and the few remaining wild horses in the Herd Areas don’t have ‘decades’ of time left.
As it’s happening right now, wild horses in America may very well be made extinct via the two-prong plan in the sinister PATH FORWARD, which was devised with heavy input from the industrial livestock lobby, HSUS, and giant corporations wanting more public land use for extraction of oil and minerals, as well as livestock production.
The key tactics of the PATH FORWARD are: 
1) Reduce populations of wild horses as much as possible, making them more vulnerable to genetic erosion, making tactic #2 more effective; 
2) Treat all remaining horses with chemicals that cause genetic erosion and sterility (PZP and GonaCon). 
The combination of tactics 1 + 2 = extinction for wild horses over the next 50+ years.

Relocating and re-wilding American wild hoses is by far the best answer, economically and ecologically.
Let’s untie the kids from the BLM railroad track that has the oncoming BLM freight train…  It’s much wiser than attempting to stop the train, and its massive financial momentum.

4 replies »

  1. I believe everything you’ve written. The problem is that the BLM and USFS have already decided to get rid of the horses. They’re not looking for any other solution, which is why your great work is being ignored. As I ‘ve said many times, we need a massive public outcry to stop the roundups. It shouldn’t be that hard to get, but nobody is doing the kind of organizing that’s necessary to get it, certainly not the horse advocate groups. If we could solve that problem, we could save the horses with ideas like yours.


  2. Sorry, I didn’t see that quite naturally, this would already have been posted here when I posted it on the other thread!

    But anything that doesn’t involve killing and rounding up with helicopters is worth a listen. I was skeptical at first when I read the headline.


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