On the Eve of the Checkerboard Roundup, An Old Adobe Town Friend is Found

SOURCE:  wildhoofbeats.com

Mica’s Dad, still wild and free

On the eve of the 2017 Checkerboard Roundup, an old Adobe Town Friend is Found

by Carol J. Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

In 2010 I was staying in Rawlins, Wyoming to observe the Adobe Town Roundup. The day before the roundup started, I had an encounter with a family of wild horses who would change my life forever.

A wild family through the sagebrush

“Sunrise Stallion”

Just before dawn, I saw a small family peeking out at me through the sagebrush – a grey mare, a pale palomino colt and two other youngsters. I turned and saw a sight that took my breath away – a majestic sorrel stallion with the early light falling on his reddish coat. He looked at me for a few seconds, then he and his family disappeared into the sagebrush.

Mica follows his father

Mica and his mother

Mica’s parents

The next day, after a long disheartening day of watching wild horses being herded into traps by a helicopter, then separated from their family and trucked off to a short term holding facility, I caught sight of the family I had seen the day before. This time, they appeared curious and circled me. The pale palomino colt followed his father, then moved over to his mother for security. The family was directly in the path of where the roundup was taking place, and I thought that it was such a sad shame that they would most likely be rounded up and separated forever.

They were rounded up along with over 2000 other wild horses in Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek. I heard that a stunning sorrel stallion had been released and was hopeful that it was him. The pale palomino colt was shipped to Canon City. I never found out what happened to the rest of the family.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

 

Please Comment on BLM’s Plans to Destroy and Slaughter Three Herds of Wild Horses in the Wyoming Checkerboard

Source:  wildhoofbeats.com

by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

It is a very familiar and unwelcome feeling that I have, writing about the BLM’s plans to roundup and remove over 55% of the wild horses in the Wyoming Checkerboard. It seems like just yesterday I was writing about this plan that affects wild horses on 2.4 million acres in Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin. The last roundup was in 2014 when 1263 wild horses were removed from their homes and lands. 14 died during the roundup and over 100 died in short term holding facilities in the four months following the roundup.

This time, however, the situation facing the wild horses in Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Greek Divide Basin is much more dire. The consequences of being rounded up and removed from public lands could not be more serious because right now the BLM is asking Congress to lift the restrictions on killing and slaughtering wild horses, and every one of the 1560 wild horses that the BLM is planning to remove is facing imminent death. The BLM does not consider in its Environmental Assessments what will happen to the wild horses that are removed according to their Proposed Actions. They do not care about the suffering, illnesses and deaths of the horses and they do not care about you and I, the taxpayers, funding a lifetime of each horse being kept in pens, in captivity. It is a wasteful, cruel and insane policy that favors overwhelmingly corrupt livestock interests who get to graze and overgraze their private livestock on our lands, losing millions of dollars on this program each year.

In this Proposed Action, the BLM is pandering to the Rock Springs Grazing Association, which only has 24 members, and whose grazing rights on public land are a privilege, not a right – but they don’t see it that way. Land swaps could have easily solved the problem of the checkerboard of public and private lands, but it is not in their interests to cooperate. They want to control all the land. And they want the horses gone at any cost. But 70% of the land, of the 2.4 million acres in Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin is public land. It should not be managed as if it were all private land, but it is. We stopped the 2016 Checkerboard Roundup because we won an appeal which said that the BLM cannot manage all these lands as if they were private.

This time, we need your help to speak up, write the BLM and demand that they select Alternative C – no roundup or removal.

The BLM should not be allowed to move forward with this roundup only on the basis of an Environmental Assessment.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/blog/please-comment-on-blms-plans-to-destroy-and-slaughter-three-herds-of-wild-horses-in-the-wyoming-checkerboard

BLM and University of Wyoming Continue Dangerous Radio Collar Study on Wild Mares

Source:  www.wildhoofbeats.com

“They are disturbing the horses, and risking the lives of these mares with this dangerous radio collar study.  They can die from getting tangled up with these collars.  Direct observation is much more humane and more relevant.  I am hoping that all these mares survive the two years they have to endure wearing these collars, and that I will see them with other horses this summer.”     –  Carol Walker

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Notice the collar is not behind the ears, but much further down

by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

On Sunday I headed to Rock Springs, as I was told I would have an opportunity to view the release of the next group of wild mares back into Adobe Town with radio collars on their necks. If you have not been following my blogs on this you may be wondering incredulously “why would anyone do anything so cruel and dangerous to wild mares?”
Well read on and you will see.

Last week, the last mare to be released, Dove, who ran off with her family, had a radio collar that had slipped way down her neck, into what is NOT the correct position for the collar. Many people have been commenting on this, and I am still waiting for an explanation from USGS and the BLM about this. Here are the guidelines for the radio collars:

“The collar should rest just behind the ears of the equid and be tight enough so it does not slip down the neck, yet loose enough that it does not interfere with movement when the neck is flexed. The collar must fit snugly when the head is up to minimize rubbing. USGS researchers used 0-1 finger between collar and neck, depending on season collar is deployed to give consideration to the potential for weight gain. Other studies (e.g. Committee on Wild Horse and Burro Research 1991) have had problems with the fitting of collars due to animals gaining weight in spring, or losing weight in winter, causing collars to become too tight or too loose. In the USGS study, researchers did notice collars were looser or tighter at different times during the year, but it did not affect the behavior of collared mares or jennies, or cause sores or wounds on mares or jennies. Whenever collars are deployed they should be fitted by experienced personnel who can attach the collar quickly but proficiently to minimize handling stress on the animal.”

I am very concerned that this collar must be too loose, can slide around, and probably quite easily get caught in a hoof or a branch or a cliff or a fence. In my opinion, the University needs to immediately trigger the mechanism that they claim can remotely release the collar. I will keep you posted when and if I receive a response and explanation.

10 wild horses from Adobe Town are still at the Rock Springs facility. The longer they are there. the more likely they are to get diseases or become injured. They need to release these horses back into Adobe Town, where they were captured, immediately.

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The first mare to be released

There were three mares in the trailer Monday morning as I followed the line of BLM and researchers out to the release sites. I was again the only member of the public along. We drove for over 2 1/2 hours before arriving at our first stop, which was in the northeast portion of Adobe Town, very near where the last mare, Dove had been released with her family.

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Dulcinea, looking calm

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She trots down the road toward the incoming family band

This grey mare was older, and moved slowly out of the trailer, no panic for her, just curiosity as she looked back at us. I am calling her Dulcinea. She moved along familiarizing herself with where she was, for she had been trapped probably 15 miles from this area. Suddenly we see a family of wild horses moving along the hillside straight toward the road. She sees them, and lifts her head, then trots across the road toward them.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Link to Daily Gather Reports:

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/2017-Adobe-Town-Wild-Horse-Gather

The Adobe Appys: How Did the Fillies Get Their Spots?

Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

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Sundance and his Family

by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Last week I drove to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. My last trip to see the Adobe Appys was in September, and I was very excited to see them in the new snow that had fallen the day before.

I found it hard to believe that it has been almost 2 years since the 10 horses in three families had been rounded up, sent to a holding facility, then were reunited here at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. Of course there were now 13, with three fillies born here at the Sanctuary.

Sundance and his family were the first I saw. Their pasture was blanketed in white, and they were easy to spot as I drove in late Wednesday afternoon, as most of them were in the lower part of the pasture, with very few other horses around.

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Sundance and Aurora, Storm is behind him

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Sundance and Storm

When I got out to see them the next morning, the first thing I noticed was that Snowfall was hanging around Diamond Girl and their filly Zarina. As the filly and her mother started toward me, I thought Zarina had snow on her face, but as she came closer I realized it was spots! The filly did not seem to mind as I burst into laughter, delighted with her new spots. She came very close, checking me out, and even had to taste my jacket.

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Snowfall, Diamond Girl, and their Filly Zarina

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She has spots!

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She came very close

READ THE REST OF THIS STORY HERE.

UW, BLM to Begin Controversial and Inhumane Wild Horse Movement Study

Source: UWYO.edu

“From the destruction of wild horse’s genitals to the installation of dangerous collars the rogue federal agency, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), continues to enlist the aide of America’s institutions of higher learning to be partners in their crimes.” ~ R.T.

It works on cows

“It works on cows, duuuuuhhhh!”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the University of Wyoming are beginning a study to learn more about wild horse seasonal use and movements in the Adobe Town herd management area (HMA).

The study will begin with a bait-trap gather and radio collaring of up to 30 wild mares during February. No wild horses will be removed during this nonhelicopter gather.

UW scientists Derek Scasta and Jeff Beck, both in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, are heading the research. Jake Hennig, a Ph.D. student in the department, also will participate. They will use the information gleaned from the radio collars to learn more about how wild horses interact with their environment. Specifically, the researchers will study migration patterns and herd movements in the HMA. The BLM says it will use the study results to ensure wild horse herds continue to thrive on healthy rangelands.

The Wyoming Department of Agriculture has provided $120,000 to start the research. The BLM also has contributed funding.

Bait-trapping involves setting up temporary corrals within the HMA to attract wild horses safely into the corral. When a certain number of horses has entered the pen, the gate to the corral is closed. Once the horses are gathered, trained personnel will load and transport selected mares to the Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility. After the horses arrive at the facility, staff from the U.S. Geological Survey will place collars with GPS tracking devices on the horses. The horses will then be returned to the HMA.

The 20-30 mares that BLM will select to wear GPS collars will be 5 years old or older. All other wild horses gathered will be immediately released shortly after the selected mares are sorted and held for collaring. All mares will be released at or near the same location where they were gathered. The selected contractors are in the process of identifying trap site locations and will begin the bait-trapping process soon.

Corrals could be set up in stages over a period of days to allow the horses to grow accustomed to the enclosures. About three to five trap sites are required to distribute radio-collared mares throughout the entire HMA. Bait-trapping is an effective method for capturing small numbers of selected horses.

The number of people in the trap area will be limited to key personnel to ensure a successful and safe gather for the horses.

Public viewing opportunities will be limited. Public viewing is always allowed at the wild horse holding facility overlook in Rock Springs, where the mares will be taken to be collared. Public viewing also will be allowed at the release sites of the collared mares. The BLM will keep a list of people who would like to attend the releasing of the collared mares and notify them at least one day before the releases. Media and interested public can view and photograph the mares being released with the GPS collars. To add your name to the list for public viewing, contact BLM Public Affairs Officer Tony Brown at (307) 352-0215.

The BLM’s Rawlins Field Office released the decision record and finding of no significant impact for the Adobe Town HMA Wild Horse Movements and Habitat Selection Research Gather Environmental Assessment Nov. 9, 2016. The decision was to allow enough wild horses to be gathered by bait trapping, so up to 30 selected mares could be outfitted with GPS collars. The BLM will use two separate contractors to conduct the bait-trapping operations.

Click (HERE) to view BLM Press Release

Equine Advocates and Animal Welfare Groups Challenge Adobe Town Wild Mare Experimentation by BLM and Wyoming State University

Press Release

“if the BLM had any concern at all for the safety and well-being of the wild horses under its care they would not use dangerous radio collars…”

Rawlins, WY – On December 8, Appellants Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) and Citizens Against Equine Slaughter (CAES) filed an Appeal and Stay Order with the Interior Department’s Board of Land Appeal (IBLA) to stop the BLM from collaring Adobe Town wild mares and using helicopters inappropriately in an unnecessary, unsafe and wasteful experiment. The BLM in partnership with Wyoming State University (UWY) plans to capture and fit some 30 mares with radio collars to see if they will move into the void created by the 2016 Checkerboard roundup.

16CarolWalker002Carol Walker, WHOA member, noted that the 2016 Checkerboard roundup never took place due to a recent 10th District Court decision that the Wyoming roundup was in violation of the law. She added that: “if the BLM had any concern at all for the safety and well-being of the wild horses under its care they would not use dangerous radio collars and insist on either bait trapping or rounding up the wild mares with helicopters in the coldest part of winter, but would instead hire Interns to observe and document the movement of the wild horses in Adobe Town.”

Former BLM manager Lloyd Eisenhauer of Cheyenne, WY, another WHOA member, stated that “harassing the Adobe Town horses and upsetting their natural behavior for no valid scientific reason is not research, it is abuse.“ The plaintiffs point out that the BLM’s decision to proceed is not supported either by the evidence, by the record, or by a consideration of alternatives; it is simply a case of “this is what we want to do and we’re going to do it anyway.”

Organizations endorsing this Administrative Appeal and Petition of Stay include: In Defense of Animals, Mobilization for Animals, Pity Not Cruelty, Wild Equid League of Colorado, Wild Horse Freedom Federation, and Union for the Preservation of Wildlife.

This is the second time CAES and WHOA have worked together on an IBLA appeal, winning the first to stop cruel experiments to sterilize wild mares. Notably, other organizations such as environmental and animal welfare groups have also joined in supporting these legal actions to protect the horses! We will continue working to improve and preserve life for American wild and domestic horses.

Media Contact:
Theresa J Barbour
Citizens Against Equine Slaughter
Attorney pro se
541.315.6650

Action Alert: Adobe Town Wild Horses in Wyoming Under Siege Again – Please Comment by May 6

Alert issued by Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Published on WildHoofBeats.com

Stop the Adobe Town Roundup and Radio Collar Study

A wild horse family in Adobe Town

A wild horse family in Adobe Town

The Bureau of Land Management has announce plans to roundup and remove wild horses from the Adobe Town Herd Management Area in the Red Desert of Wyoming. This roundup is in addition to the BLM’s proposed roundup of 500 wild horses from the Checkerboard portions of the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas.

In the flyover subsidized by the Rock Springs Grazing Association in April 2015, which conveniently did not include photographs because  “The survey lead indicated his reluctance to use photography, as it requires additional circling around groups that could cause air sickness” there were reported to be 858 wild horses. Somehow the population in Adobe Town jumped from 519 wild horses in October 2014 after the Checkerboard Roundup  to  in April 2015, 858 wild horses, no doubt the result of every mare and stallion on the range giving birth. Although the dubious count of 858  is only 58 more wild horses than the 610-800 Appropriate Management Level allows, the BLM is determined to do a roundup because of pressure from the powerful Rock Springs Grazing Association.  The members of that organization view the public land in Wyoming as its own private domain. They receive millions of dollars in subsidies from our government for grazing their livestock on our public lands. They would like to see all of the wild horses removed from the area. The BLM has not said how many horses it plans to remove, but the usual practice is to remove down to the low side of AML, so at least 258 wild horses will lose their homes and their freedom.

Scoping Document Details can be found here: http://bit.ly/AdobeTownGather

In addition to this, the BLM is proposing to to a “research study” where they will put radio collars on 15-40 wild mares that have been rounded up and separated from their families. They will return the mares to the range to study: ” habitat selection, seasonal use and movement between habitats, and migration patterns with and outside of the HMA. “

The research will be done with the University of Wyoming and “an animal care and use protocol for collaring would be submitted to the University of Wyoming Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for review by a panel of veterinarians and animal welfare officials.”

Radio collaring is a very dangerous practice for wild horses. In the past, wild horses have been seriously injured, suffered and died because of collars becoming too tight, and getting hung up on fences and brush. They are not considering doing this to the stallions but apparently it is acceptable to use risky and life-threatening procedures on wild mares. If they really want to study behavior of wild mares, do not round them up and remove them from their families – this will completely disrupt the social bonds of the wild horses as well as their behavior. A real research study would study wild horses as they are now found. Hire some interns to go out and actually observe the horses in the wild. It is possible to do this – I have been observing and documenting and tracking and photographing wild horses in Adobe Town since 2004. If you must use a tracking device, use the tags that you are planning to use with the stallions, not the dangerous and life threatening radio collars. If it is so hard to find and track the horses in this area, then there is no way you will be able to find and help alleviate the suffering of any wild mare who is in trouble with her collar.

This “radio collar research” is clearly a precursor to what the BLM has planned to do with the White Mountain Herd in Wyoming this year – round them up and study them with radio collars for a year, then spay the mares in the field and continue to study them with radio collars the next year. Perhaps the BLM thinks that by not including the part about their ultimate goal being the cruel and dangerous spaying of wild mares in the field that they will have less controversy for this Environmental Assessment.

There is no overpopulation of wild horses in Adobe Town. Stop the BLM from rounding up the Adobe Town wild horses and stop them from conducting dangerous and life-threatening “radio collar research” on wild mares. Tell them to conduct a study with observers in the field without a roundup. And tell them to stop livestock grazing in wild horse herd management areas.

Regarding conflicts between livestock grazing and wild horse use of lands in Wild Horse Management Areas:

  • 4710.5 Closure to livestock grazing.

(a) If necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment or injury, the authorized officer may close appropriate areas of the public lands to grazing use by all or a particular kind of livestock.

(b) All public lands inhabited by wild horses or burros shall be closed to grazing under permit or lease by domestic horses and burros.

(c) Closure may be temporary or permanent. After appropriate public consultation, a Notice of Closure shall be issued to affected and interested parties.

Please send your comments by email and by mail by May 6. If you really want to help the horses, please send individual emails and letters using your own words – the form emails are all only counted as 1 by the BLM. Feel free to use any information from this post.

Written comments should be received by May 6, 2016, and should be emailed only to blm_wy_adobetown_hma@blm.gov (Please include “Adobe Town Scoping Statement Comments” in the subject line), mailed or hand-delivered during regular business hours (7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) to: Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, BLM Rawlins Field Office, 1300 North 3rd Street, Rawlins, WY 82301. Fax: 307-324-4224.

BLM Launches Scoping on Adobe Town Wild Horse Removal

Source: SweetwaterNOW.com

“Public input is valuable early in the process…”

Photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Wild Hoof Beats

Photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Wild Hoof Beats

RAWLINS — The Bureau of Land Management’s Rawlins Field Office proposes to gather and remove wild horses from the Adobe Town Herd Management Area (HMA). In conjunction with the University of Wyoming, BLM may have the opportunity to conduct a research project by placing radio collars on approximately 15-40 mares returned to the HMA.

The radio collar research would allow BLM to learn about habitat selection, seasonal use and movement between habitats, and migration patterns with and outside of the HMA. Before collaring any wild horses, an animal care and use protocol for collaring would be submitted to the University of Wyoming Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for review by a panel of veterinarians and animal welfare officials.

The removal of wild horses from the Adobe Town portions of the HMAs will be conducted under Section 3 of the Wild and Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burros Act of 1971 (WHA), 16 U.S.C. §1333 and by regulation, 43 CFR 4720.1, and the consent decree entered by the U.S. District Court on April 3, 2013, in Rock Springs Grazing Association v. Salazar, Civ. No. 11-263-NDF (D. Wyo.) (2013 Consent Decree).

Consistent with the 2013 Consent Decree, the BLM conducted population surveys in April 2015. The census data from this survey estimated that there are approximately 858 wild horses within the Adobe Town HMA, which exceeds the appropriate management level (AML) of 610-800 wild horses.

The wild horse population is expected to increase by approximately 20 percent each year. Census flights to estimate current wild horse populations will be conducted in April of 2016. Population estimates from these flights will be adjusted upward by 20 percent to account for the 2016 foaling season.

Public input is valuable early in the process and will enable the BLM to develop a well-informed environmental assessment. Written comments should be received by May 6, 2016, and should be emailed only to blm_wy_adobetown_hma@blm.gov (Please include “Adobe Town Scoping Statement Comments” in the subject line), mailed or hand-delivered during regular business hours (7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) to: Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, BLM Rawlins Field Office, 1300 North 3rd Street, Rawlins, WY 82301. Fax: 307-324-4224.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.  While you may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

For more information, please contact the BLM Wild Horse Specialist, at 307-324-4200.

A copy of the project map and additional details can be found online. 

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/59671/71927/78926/Signed_Scoping_Letter.pdf

BLM wants to remove 500 wild horses from Wyoming’s Checkerboard lands

Source: HorseTalk.co.nz

Welfare Ranchers Continue Their War on Native Wild Horses

Photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Wild Hoof Beats

Photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Wild Hoof Beats

Federal authorities propose to remove 500 wild horses from Wyoming’s Checkerboard lands, so-named because of its alternating public and private land parcels.

The Rock Springs Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)  proposes to remove all the wild horses from the Checkerboard lands within and outside of the Great Divide Basin, Salt Wells Creek, and Adobe Town herd management areas (HMAs).

The three HMAs total about 2,427,220 acres, with 1,242,176 acres falling within the Checkerboard region.

The BLM says wild horses found within contiguous solid block lands in the HMAs will not be gathered.

The agency says 2015 population surveys revealed that about 232 wild horses lived on Checkerboard lands within the Great Divide Basin HMA, about 242 on Checkerboard lands within the Salt Wells Creek HMA, and around 26 wild horses on the Checkerboard lands within the Adobe Town HMA…(CONTINUED)

BLM moves to remedy shortcomings over 2014 Wyoming roundup

Source: HorseTalk, photography by Carol Walker, music by Opus Moon

“The court vindicated our concerns with BLM’s complete failure to analyze the impacts of this action on wild horses and the natural environment, as well as the agency’s failure to engage the public before pressing forward with this ill-advised decision.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has completed an environmental assessment as part of its moves to remedy shortcomings pinpointed by a judge over its 2014 roundup of nearly 1300 wild horses from Wyoming’s Checkerboard lands.

It has published a 41-page environmental assessment, together with a finding of No Significant Impact, for which it is now seeking public feedback. The BLM opened a 30-day comment period last Friday.

The documents were issued after horse advocates successfully challenged aspects of the roundup through the courts, with a judge ruling in March this year that the BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in its preparations for the Checkerboard muster.

A total of 1263 wild horses were permanently removed during the operation from public and private lands in the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas (HMAs).

The three HMAs total about 2,427,220 acres, with 1,242,176 acres falling within the Checkerboard region – so-named because of its alternating public and private land parcels.

US District Court of Wyoming Chief Judge Nancy Freudenthal issued an order stating that the BLM violated the environmental act when it conducted the operation in the southwest of the state. He remanded the violation back to the BLM to “remedy the deficiencies”…(CONTINUED)

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/11/22/blm-remedy-shortcomings-2014-wyoming-roundup/#ixzz3sJJAULHL