THE TRUTH #15 – FOIA documents include a report by BLM’s Lili Thomas on problems with wild horse long term holding facility contracts and a “management crisis for 33,000 wild horses in long term pastures.”

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #15 – FOIA documents include a report by BLM’s Lili Thomas on problems with wild horse long term holding facility contracts and a “management crisis for 33,000 wild horses in long term pastures.”

Debbie Coffey, V.P. of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, received FOIA documents that include an email from Lili Thomas, the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) for the BLM’s wild horse long term holding facilities, stating that there were “problems going on with these contracts.”

In the report titled “Current Status of Long Term Pasture Contracts” prepared by Lili Thomas, it states:

“Several conference calls were held in the spring of 2013 between Danny Lavergne (Contracting Officer who is with the NOC)  Zach Reichold (Senior Wild Horse & Burro Specialist in Washington) Holle Hooks (Wild Horse & Burro Budget in Washington) and Lili Thomas (Contracting Officer’s Representative, Wild Horse & Burro Specialist, Reno, NV).  These calls were to work out how the program could accomodate the legal requirements under the Anti-Deficiency Act.” 

(The abbreviation “NOC” above refers to the BLM’s National Operations Center and the abbreviation LTP below refers to Long Term Pastures)

Lili Thomas described the issue as:

“At this time we still have not issued a new solicitation for LTP contracts and the 6 month extension will expire on March 31, 2013…Once that extension is up the Program will need to remove the horses, since the BLM will no longer have a contract with these ranches.  (Approximately 28,000 wild horses are affected by the new solicitation that is still needed).”

“Conflicts and infighting between the NOC, Washington Office along with WO260 Program management not making decisions regarding these contracts has produced a crisis for the Program with these contracts.”

Read the rest of this article and see the FOIA documents HERE.

 

(Note:  The BLM does NOT put wild burros in long term holding facilities.  Please be sure to ask the BLM why they don’t put wild burros in long term holding facilities.)

Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

Read all of THE TRUTH and see other FOIA documentation HERE.

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) involved in BLM’s wild horse warehousing

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #14 – FOIA documents include a “Fact Sheet on Long Term Holding Contracts” that was sent to wild horse long term holding contractors, including Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman)

FOIA documents requested by Debbie Coffey, V.P. of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, include an email from ex-BLM employee Lili Thomas, who was the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) for wild horse long term holding facilities, to the long term holding contractors.

This email included a “Fact Sheet on Long Term Holding Contracts,” which highlights some of the main requirements of wild horse long term holding facilities.  It is important to note that the land must be privately owned, or the contractor must have long term control of the offered lands.

It is also interesting that the BLM only requires fences to be a minimum of 48″ in height and “shall consist of 4 strands of barbed wire (or other acceptable fencing material).”  Do you think a 4′ high barbed wire fence is appropriate fencing material for wild horses?  Members of WHFF did not think this type of fencing was adequate  when they saw this type of fencing at the Catoosa Long Term Holding facility in Oklahoma.  This low, barbed wire fence was all that separated the wild horses from a highway that was very near to the pasture.

Also interesting is that Lili Thomas included Ree Drummond (AKA “Pioneer Woman”) and wife of BLM wild horse long term holding contractor Ladd Drummond, on this email to all long term holding contractors.  This email seems to indicate that Ree Drummond is involved with the business of the long term holding facility.  The subject of the email included the solicitation for contractors that were “up for re-bid.”

See ALL of the FOIA documents HERE.

BLM Sets Hearing on Wild Horse Mismanagement

Story by the Idaho Mountain Express

The BLM is inviting the public to submit comments as part of a statewide hearing regarding motor vehicle and helicopter use in wild horse management operations on Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 1-2 p.m. at its Challis Field Office.

The public hearing is being held to obtain information, views and suggestions about the BLM’s use of helicopters and motorized vehicles in managing wild horses in Idaho during the coming year (February 2018 to January 2019).

The Challis Field office is at 721 E. Main Ave., Suite 8 in Challis.

 Anyone unable to attend the hearing to submit comments can submit written statements to BLM_ID_WHB_MotorizedHearing@blm.gov. Comments should include address, phone number and e-mail.

THE TRUTH #13 – FOIA documents reveal more proof of BLM’s lack of oversight of record keeping for wild horse long term holding facilities

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #13 – FOIA documents reveal more proof of BLM’s lack of oversight of record keeping for wild horse long term holding facilities.

(Note:  The BLM does NOT put wild burros in long term holding facilities.  Please be sure to ask the BLM why they don’t put wild burros in long term holding facilities.)

In the contracts between the BLM and most wild horse long term holding facility contractors, there is language that states:

“Provide weekly monitoring of the animals to assess their health and determine death loss.  Prior to submission of the monthly invoice the contractor will conduct a complete inventory of all wild horses.  The results of each inventory will be included in the monthly invoice.”

and

“Each death shall be recorded by the freezemark and/or description of the animal, date the animal was noted as dead and then submitted on each months invoice.”

Debbie Coffey, V.P. of Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) has filed FOIAs for years of invoices for all long term holding facilities.  WHFF (in their White Paper issued July, 2017 found HERE) detailed that many long term holding facility invoices did not include the required freezemark number or description of dead wild horses.

FOIA documents recently obtained prove that Lili Thomas, who was the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) and overseeing the long term holding facilities, was missing many invoices and death records in her files, and had to ask the contractors to supply them to comply with one of our FOIA requests.

Read the rest of this article and see FOIA documents HERE.

 

Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

Read all of THE TRUTH and see other FOIA documentation HERE.

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

BLM Set to Stampede and Remove 1,500 Wild Horses from their Rightful Range

Unedited propaganda as published in BLM Press Release

2018 Triple B Complex Wild Horse Gather

The gather will tenatively begin on January 23.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Purpose of Gather:

The purpose of the operation is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, and to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The BLM strives to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve, ensuring public safety is not at risk due to the overpopulation of wild horses and providing opportunities for economic growth with space for traditional uses.

Details of Gather:

The BLM plans to gather 1,500 wild horses and remove approximately 1,000 excess horses.  The BLM will release approximately 250 mares that will have been treated with the fertility control vaccine PZP-22 to slow the population growth rate of the animals remaining on public lands.  PZP-22 is a temporary fertility-control vaccine that can prevent pregnancy in wild horses for 1-2 years.  In addition, approximately 250 gathered stallions will be selected and returned back to the range.

Public Observation:

Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations.  The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands.  The BLM anticipates that viewing opportunities will begin on January 23, 2018, weather and logistics permitting.  Those wanting to view gather operations must notify Public Affairs Specialist, Greg Deimel at (775) 388-7078 prior to the desired viewing date to be added to the attendee list and receive specific instructions on meeting locations and times

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food.  The BLM recommends footwear and clothing suitable for harsh field conditions and a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle.  Public restrooms will not be available onsite.

Background: 

The Triple B Complex is located in both the BLM Ely and Elko Districts and consists of the Triple B HMA (Ely), Maverick Medicine HMA (Elko), Antelope Valley HMA west of Hwy 93 (Elko), and Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory (Elko).  The gather may also take place in areas outside of those HMAs where wild horses have moved in search of food and water and are creating a public safety hazard by traveling regularly across Jiggs Road.

The current population estimate for the Triple B Complex is approximately 3,842 wild horses.  The cumulative Appropriate Management Level for all the Herd Management Areas within the targeted gather area is 472 – 884 wild horses.  AML is the level at which wild horse populations are consistent with the land’s capacity to support them and other mandated uses of those lands, including protecting ecological processes and habitat for wildlife and livestock.

The decision record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy can be accessed at the national NEPA register. For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email wildhorse@blm.gov.

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/nevada/2018-Triple-B-Complex-wild-horse-gather

The Private Company Selling Off America’s Public Lands

story by Mya Frazier as published on OutsideOnline.com

EnergyNet, an online auction company from Amarillo, Texas, is set to make a fortune from oil and gas leases.  And good luck finding a way to protest.

When Texas oilman Bill Britain started the auction site EnergyNet in October 1999, it wasn’t exactly a state-of-the-art operation. Its homepage used a generic design template, an add-on to the Virtual Auctioneer software Britain bought from a Dallas firm. Like hordes of other entrepreneurs at the time, Britain hoped to bring the billion-dollar auctioneering model of eBay to an industry where he had a toehold. A decade and a half after graduating from West Point, Britain had started J-Brex Co., an Amarillo-based energy company, and had oil wells scattered all over Texas. If there was one thing he knew well, it was how to buy and sell drilling leases.

Britain boasted of “changing the way the oil and gas industry did business.” He pitched his auctions as “ON LINE REAL TIME,” but the technology was hardly game-changing—bidders were notified by email when they were outbid—and his timing, at the apex of the dot-com bubble, was terrible. “It burst almost the moment we got started,” Britain recently told Forbes.

Despite such inauspicious beginnings, by 2012 EnergyNet had become one of the industry’s biggest auction sites for oil and gas leases, even if overall sales on the platform were relatively modest. But over the next couple years, Britain began inking exclusive contracts to host lease auctions of public lands, including with state land agencies and, most notably, in 2015 with the Bureau of Land Management.

The platform took off. Less than a year into the Trump administration, transactions have risen to $1.25 billion. About half the transactions through the first three quarters of 2017, or about $600 million, were leases of public lands.

EnergyNet typically earns a 2 percent commission with state agencies; federal land commissions are set at 1.5 percent. By October of 2017, EnergyNet had earned an estimated $9 million auctioning off America’s public lands, based on an Outside analysis. Once fourth-quarter transactions are finalized, earnings could potentially rise to $15 million or more. (EnergyNet, a private company, doesn’t disclose profits.)

Donald Trump campaigned on the promise to unleash America’s estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves—a vision now being executed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Once-protected national monuments, like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, are now vulnerable to drilling. And Britain’s once-obscure auction site provides the platform through which this massive opening of federal lands for energy extraction will happen—all without the pesky problem of public protests.

So how did a private company become the biggest seller of America’s public lands?…(CONTINUED)

https://www.outsideonline.com/2269336/obscure-texas-company-selling-public-land

The BLM: Who’s running the show?

Since the BLM has removed state websites and staff directories from the internet, and they now have only one portal for very limited information for the public, we thought we’d give you a quick update on who’s running the Bureau of Land Management at national and state levels.  Source:  BLM

Brian Steed   Brian Steed

Deputy Director, Programs and Policy, Bureau of Land Management

Exercising Authority of the Director

Brian Steed is the BLM’s Deputy Director for Programs and Policy, exercising authority of the director. Before joining the BLM in October 2017, Steed served as Chief of Staff for Representative Chris Stewart of Utah. Before that, he taught economics at Utah State University and was once a deputy county attorney in Iron County, Utah. Read the full biography

Michael Nedd   Michael D. Nedd

Acting Deputy Director, Operations

Michael D. (Mike) Nedd is the Acting Deputy Director of  Operations.  Prior to this appointment he served as Assistant Director for the BLM’s Energy, Minerals & Realty Management Directorate. In this capacity he provided vision and leadership for developing and implementing programmatic policies, guidance, oversight, and human and fiscal resources for the BLM’s renewable energy, fluid and solid minerals, lands and realty, and cadastral survey programs. Read the full biography

Official photo of BLM Alaska Acting State Director Karen Mouritsen   Karen Mouritsen

BLM Alaska Acting State Director

Karen Mouritsen was an attorney practicing law for DOI, but she was motivated to make a career change to the BLM after serving on detail as an Associate District Manager and learning how challenging and rewarding it is to work together as a team with many talented BLM employees.  Read the full biography

Photo of BLM Arizona State Director Raymond Suazo   Raymond Suazo

BLM Arizona State Director

Ray Suazo is the BLM Arizona State Director, responsible for leading a staff of nearly 500 employees and the management of more than 12 million surface and 17 million subsurface acres of public lands in Arizona. Ray joined the BLM Arizona State Office in 2006. He served as Chief Information Officer, Deputy State Director for Business and Support Services, and Associate State Director before his appointment as the Arizona State Director in 2011.   Read the full biography

BLM California State Directory Jerry Perez   Jerome E. Perez

BLM California State Director

Jerome E. Perez is the California State Director for the Bureau of Land Management. He previously served as the State Director for BLM Oregon/Washington and as the Deputy Regional Forester of the U.S. Forest Service’s Intermountain Region. Read the full biography

Shoop_Acting CO SD   Greg Shoop

Acting BLM Colorado State Director

Greg Shoop has worked for the BLM on and off since 1977. He has been BLM Colorado’s Associate State Director since 2014 and is currently serving as its Acting State Director. Read the full biography.

Acting State Director Mitch Leverette   Mitch Leverette

BLM Eastern States Acting State Director

Mitch Leverette started his BLM career 30 years ago as a staff geologist in the BLM California State Office.  He worked in the California State Office for over 17 years working across several mineral programs and positions.  Mitch started working in the Washington Headquarters in 2004 as Deputy Division Chief for Solid Minerals and was promoted to Division Chief in 2008.  Read the full biography

Acting BLM Idaho State Director Peter Ditton  Peter Ditton

Acting BLM Idaho State Director

Ditton attended Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology where he graduated with a degree in geological engineering.  He began a career with the BLM in the cooperative education program out of Great Falls, Montana working as a petroleum engineer.  He has worked in DC and a number of states including Alaska, California, Idaho and Arizona.  Ditton has also held a number of detail and full-time positions including: petroleum engineer, planning coordinator, field and district manager, Associate State Director for Alaska and Idaho, California State Director. Read the full biography

Jon Raby, BLM Montana-Dakotas   Jon Raby

BLM Montana-Dakotas Acting State Director

In Montana-Dakotas, Raby will oversee more than 8 million acres of public land and over 47 million acres of federal mineral estate in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.  HIs career includes over 20 years with the BLM in Oregon, Montana and Washington D.C. In addition to the BLM, Jon has also worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service.  He has also been the BLM Liaison to the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management, and the Chief of Staff in the BLM Director’s Office in Washington, D.C.   Read the full biography

BLM Nevada State Director John Ruhs, Reno, Nevada, BLM photo   John Ruhs

Nevada State Director

John Ruhs has served as the Ely District Manager and Winnemucca District Fire Management Officer. In addition to his work in Nevada, John has also served as BLM’s Senior Special Assistant in Washington, D.C., and District Manager of the High Desert District in Wyoming. He has also worked for the BLM in Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon. Read the full biography

Aden Seidlitz   Aden Seidlitz

Acting BLM New Mexico State Director

Aden Seidlitz began his BLM career in 1983 as a Petroleum Engineer in Wyoming, a Petroleum Engineer/Program Leader at the Alaska State Office, and a Supervisory Petroleum Engineer in Montana.  He became an Acting Area Manager, then Associate Field Manager and then an Acting Field Manager in Montana.  He worked as a Field Manager in Utah and became BLM’s Chief for the Fire Planning and Fuels Management Division in Boise, Idaho, and then became the BLM Boise District Manager.  Aden was selected as the New Mexico Associate State Director on 2012, and is now Acting State Director.  Read the full biography.

Jamie Connell, BLM Oregon-Washington State Director   Jamie Connell

BLM Oregon-Washington State Director

Connell received her B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from Montana Tech in 1985, and began her BLM career as a petroleum engineer in Miles City, Montana. Connell’s managerial experience includes stints for the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service in locations across the West, including Great Falls and Malta, Montana; Boise, Idaho; and the cities of Montrose, Silverthorne, Glenwood Springs, and Grand Junction, all in Colorado. Connell most recently served as the State Director for BLM-Montana/Dakotas.  Read the full biography

BLM Utah State Director Ed Roberson. BLM photo   Ed Roberson

BLM Utah State Director

As BLM Utah State Director, Ed Roberson, who has had a 37-year career with the BLM.  He was most recently Director of the BLM National Operations Center in Denver. Roberson also served in top BLM roles in New Mexico, and held senior level positions in Washington, D.C., including a seven year tenure as the BLM Assistant Director for Renewable Resources and Planning.  Read the full biography

Official photo of Wyoming State Director Mary Jo Rugwell.   Mary Jo Rugwell

BLM Wyoming State Director

Mary Jo Rugwell was selected as the state director for the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming. She had been acting state director for about a year and a half prior to being chosen. Mary Jo served as the Associate State Director in Wyoming for over two years. She  is a native of Cheyenne, WY.  Read the full biography

 

Will Trump put a ‘hired gun’ for ranchers in top BLM post?

by Tay Wiles as published on High Country News

The president is considering a BLM director who has continually fought the agency

Karen Budd-Falen

Nearly a year after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the agency that manages 246 million acres and that is critical to the functioning of the American West still has no permanent leadership. In November, Brian Steed, the former chief of staff for Utah State Rep. Chris Stewart, R, became the third person in 11 months to temporarily take on the duties of Bureau of Land Management acting director. One potential pick for the director job is Karen Budd-Falen — a long-time antagonist of the bureau. In other administrations, her background would make her an unlikely pick. In the Trump administration, she’s a contender.

Budd-Falen is a polarizing figure in the West. She is one of the region’s preeminent property rights lawyers, known for representing ranchers in disputes with federal land agencies like the BLM and U.S. Forest Service.

By the time she was 32, in 1991, Newsweek had dubbed Budd-Falen the “hired gun of choice for ranchers facing court action from federal agencies.” That reputation has only grown; her supporters say she’ll bring positive change to the BLM to curb federal overreach fueled by environmentalists. “Karen will certainly take a look at multiple use from a different set of glasses than previously administrations have,” Utah Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Brent Tanner said. “One of the advantages of Karen … is she has based her career around the legal issues affecting livestock grazing on public lands.”

Critics say Budd-Falen is anathema to the stated mission of the BLM, which is to manage land for multiple uses, not just for ranching or the extractive industry. The attorney has long been a harsh critic of the agency she would lead. “Karen Budd-Falen has attacked the Bureau of Land Management over and over, and now she is trying to secure the top post,” said Land Tawney, director of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. “This tragic irony must not be ignored.”

It’s not just Budd-Falen’s apparent disposition to the mission of the BLM, critics say. Her history would follow her to the agency and could be an added challenge. “I think first and foremost she would have a significant perception challenge with public lands stakeholders,” said Bob Abbey, who served 34 years in state and federal government and was the BLM director from 2009 to 2012. “It will take her months to earn the respect and trust within the organization and among public lands stakeholders. … I don’t think she’s the right person for the job right now.”

Budd-Falen is a fifth-generation Wyoming resident, originally from Big Piney, population 521. Her family members have long been active in Western politics on the side of the Sagebrush Rebellion. Her father, Dan Budd, a rancher who served in the Wyoming legislature from 1981 to 1992, opposed the foundational 1976 Federal Land Policy Management Act, in part because it allowed the BLM to retain vast acreages instead of continuing to pass the land into private ownership, as had been the previous policy since the 19th century.

Budd-Falen earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wyoming. After law school, she worked as a lawyer at the Denver-based Mountain States Legal Foundation, a non-profit founded in 1976 as part of a wave of conservative resistance to new environmental laws, such as FLPMA and the Endangered Species, Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. She served as a law clerk to the assistant solicitor for Water and Power and in the office for land and minerals, both at the Interior Department under former President Ronald Reagan. More recently, she was part of Trump’s Interior transition team. She now lives in Cheyenne and co-owns a law firm with her husband, Frank Falen, which focuses on property rights.

Federal land management

Budd-Falen has not publicly taken a stance on the conservative Western movement to transfer federal land to state control. But in November she spoke at a public event in Hamilton, Montana, that also featured a presentation from Republican State Sen. Jennifer Fielder. Fielder is the head of the American Lands Council, a non-profit whose mission is to transfer lands from the federal government to the states. (In an interview, Budd-Falen told High Country News she didn’t know that Fielder would be speaking at the event.) That appearance is one of many examples critics say explain her position on federal land management. “(Budd-Falen) may say she has no opinion on (land transfer) but her career has been spent propping up that ideology,” Greg Zimmerman, deputy director of the progressive nonprofit Center for Western Priorities, said.

For her part, Budd-Falen said she understands that the notion pushed by many land transfer advocates, that the federal government can’t legally administer land in the West, is not upheld by the courts. “Supreme Court rulings have very clearly said… the federal government can hold these federal lands,” she said. “Until you get the Supreme Court to change its mind, then that’s the current interpretation of the Constitution.” When asked if she agreed with that interpretation, Budd-Falen said she did. The Wyoming attorney also said it would be too costly for her home state to take on managing all of its federal lands. “I don’t think it’s feasible,” she said.

On the topic of national monuments, however, Budd-Falen has lauded Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for their 2017 review of designations over 100,000 acres. “I think there is enough land out there, and people are smart enough, that we can have multiple-use and still protect the land (without large monuments),” she told Fox News in May. At the Montana event in November, she criticized the Obama Administration’s monument designations: “If you read the Antiquities Act, it says you are to designate the smallest area possible to protect the artifact you are trying to protect. I looked at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, surely that’s not the smallest area possible to protect these things,” she said. As head of the BLM, Budd-Falen would oversee both monuments, which public lands advocates say were essential to protecting valuable scientific and cultural resources.

Property Rights

The importance of property rights is foundational to Budd-Falen’s worldview. In 2011, at a Constitutional Sheriffs panel event in Yreka, California, she said that all rights in the U.S. Constitution are “based on the right of ownership of private property.” This interpretation stems from an established school of thought in which property rights hold a supreme position in the Constitution, says Gregg Cawley, a professor of environmental politics at the University of Wyoming. In this view of the Constitution, Cawley says: “‘Property’ was a kind of short hand symbol for everything an individual needed to live their life as they wanted…. a ranch is ‘property’ in the sense of land but (that ranch) is also a means for the owners to secure their ‘rights’ to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’”

This exalted view of property rights inspires Budd-Falen’s work in defense of ranchers. She has spent much of her career defending ranchers’ rights to water, easements, and grazing federal land. Early in her career, Budd-Falen took on a client who is now one of the West’s most notorious cattlemen, Cliven Bundy of Bunkerville, Nevada, over a grazing rights dispute. Bundy is now known for leading an armed standoff against federal agents in 2014 over his illegally grazing cattle. Back in the early 1990s, he was just one of about a dozen southern Nevada ranchers Budd-Falen represented in court…(CONTINUED)

http://www.hcn.org/articles/public-lands-will-trump-put-karen-budd-falen-a-hired-gun-for-ranchers-in-top-blm-post?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email

Burro’s shooting death prompts investigation, outrage

SOURCE:  Havasu News

Burros wander the streets of Oatman, an old mining town in Mohave County, about an hour’s drive from Lake Havasu City.

By Flickr user Keppet

By BRANDON MESSICK Today’s News-Herald

The New Year’s Eve shooting death of a young burro has ignited a firestorm on social media.

According to Needles resident Eileen Sparks, the burro was found by motorists inside the town of Oatman, the victim of a gunshot. The animal appeared to be dazed, she said, and unwilling to move from the roadway. A bullet wound was clearly visible against the burro’s body.

“We were driving in for the day when we saw him,” Sparks said. “Some off-roaders had gotten out of their vehicles…the pure shock on their faces made us stop. In our eight years coming here, we’ve never seen a burro that had been shot. They were trying to get him out of the road, but he just stood there.”

Another driver contacted authorities, Sparks said, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management dispatched a ranger to the scene. According to BLM officials, the burro’s injuries were so grave that the animal had to be euthanized.

“It’s one of the saddest things I’ve seen,” Sparks said. “My heart is broken. We need to find out who did this…I want to contribute to a reward to find out who did this.”

Sparks isn’t the only one. Oatman visitors and residents have spread the story through social media, quickly identifying the yearling as a familiar sight in the town.   Read the rest of this article HERE.

Challis wild-horse policy is biased

Wild horses on the Challis Herd Management Area in Idaho (photo: BLM)

The Idaho Mountian Express just posted an OpEd by Marybeth Devlin.  Although her comment was edited a bit, Marybeth stated “You never know who will be receptive to the message of Truth.  I am grateful to Idaho Mountain Express.”

SOURCE Idaho Mountain Express

By MARYBETH DEVLIN

The population management level at the BLM’s Challis Herd Management Area (185 to 253 horses) is a political construct. Per the 167,848 acres—262 square miles—of this horse-herd management area, the management level’s high bound—the maximum number of horses that BLM claims the range can support—limits the population to one wild horse per 663 acres, which is more than a square mile.  However, its low bound—the number down to which BLM manages the herd—restricts the stocking density to one wild horse per 907 acres, which is about one and a half square miles. Even if there were 292 wild horses present, as the BLM says, it would mean one horse per 575 acres.  No reasonable person would deem that excessive.

Contrast that with the livestock density:  Per the typical six-month season, the stocking density that BLM approved for livestock in the Challis wild-horse habitat is one cow and calf pair (or five sheep) per 88 acres. That equates to just over seven pairs—14 cows or calves (or 35 sheep)—per square mile.

Livestock get most of the grazing slots. Within the Challis Herd Management Area—where the mustangs are, by law, supposed to receive principal benefit of resources—livestock have been awarded most of the animal-unit months: 11,439 AUMs (84 percent) to commercial livestock and 2,220 AUMs (16 percent)—to wild horses.

The BLM claims the Challis herd increased from 241 horses in 2016 to 292 horses in 2017, a growth rate of 21 percent. Gregg, LeBlanc and Johnston (2014) found the average birth rate across wild-horse herds to be just under 20 percent. But they also found that 50 percent of foals perish before their first birthday.  Thus, the birth rate is just a temporary blip in the data.  To find the herd growth rate, we start with the surviving foal rate (10 percent) and then subtract a conservative estimate of adult mortality (5 percent).  So, the expected, normative herd growth rate is, at most, 5 percent.

The BLM’s claimed rate is more than four times the normative growth rate. The likely explanation for the discrepancy is that the BLM incorrectly used the somewhat-higher-than-average birth rate as the growth rate.  However, given BLM’s 13-year history of injecting the Challis fillies and mares with the pesticide-sterilant PZP, the birth rate should have been significantly lower than average.  Not only is it higher, but it is misreported as the growth rate.

The BLM says it plans to conduct an aerial census soon. However, that’s not encouraging. Read the rest of Marybeth’s OpEd HERE.