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.

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The Bureau of Land Management Blocks Public Observation and Adoption of Wild Horses Rounded Up in Wyoming’s Checkerboard

SOURCE:  wildhoofbeats.com

Great Divide Basin Family

The Forgotten Horses – at least that is what the BLM wants them to be.

1/10/2018

by Carol J. Walker, Director Of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

I spent three weeks in September and October of 2017 observing the roundup and removal of 1968 wild horses from Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek, three of the largest remaining Herd Management Areas in Wyoming and the country.

Great Divide Basin wild horses

Although the Environmental Assessment prepared by the BLM prior to the Roundup said that they would remove 1560 wild horses total from all three Herd Management Areas, they illegally proceeded to remove a total of 1968 wild horses, contending that the 408 captured and removed foals and yearlings “didn’t count.” Although the BLM’s own numbers showed that they would only be able to remove 1560 wild horses total without bringing each Herd Management Area below Appropriate Management Level, which is illegal, and despite a lawsuit brought to stop this from happening, the horses were removed, with great and unseemly haste.

Older Salt Wells Creek stallion and mare and their young filly

This beautiful family on the run from the helicopter

I have observed the last few roundups in these three areas, in 2014, 2011, 2010, 2005 and never have I seen horses removed and shipped so rapidly, with such unseemly haste. In the past, wild horses captured would be loaded into trailers and taken to a “temporary holding facility” where they would be sorted by age and sex, left to settle and then finally after a few days to a week shipped to the short term holding facility where they would be given freeze brands, vaccinations, have blood drawn for a Coggins test, if male, they would be gelded, and then all of them would be available for public observation. If they were younger than 10 years old, they would be available for adoption, and if they were older than 10 they would be available for sale.

Salt Wells Creek stallion and his foal

Young bachelors in Salt Wells Creek

Now, for this 2017 Checkerboard Roundup the Cattoors were shipping the horses from the temporary holding facility within hours of capture, before we were even able to see them. We would finally be allowed to enter the area where the horses were being held after hours waiting and after seeing huge semis pull out filled with horses, only to see very few horses left in the temporary corrals.

Salt Wells Creek older horses and foal

In past roundups in these Herd Management Areas, the majority of the horses would be shipped to the BLM facility at Canon City, Colorado or to the facility at Rock Springs, Wyoming. Both of these facilities are open to public observation and adoption and sale of the horses. Instead, we were told that there was a “problem with the contract” with Canon City, so as a last minute change the majority of the horses would be shipped to a private facility in Axtell, Utah and several hundred would be shipped to another private facility in Bruneau, Iadaho. When I learned this, I was immediately alarmed. How would anyone be able to adopt them if they could not see them? When I asked two of the Public Affairs Specialists who were working this roundup this question, Heather Tiel-Nelson and Jason Lutterman, they both repeatedly assured me that all the horses would be prepared for adoption and the BLM would not keep the public from observing and adopting the gathered horses.

Salt Wells Creek mare and youngster

Salt Wells Creek Stallion Maestro and youngster

After the 2014 Roundup, Ginger Kathrens and I traveled to the Canon City Facility in November and photographed and filmed the horses that had been rounded up and posted photographs and videos online and used our social media contacts to spread the word very widely. We were extremely effective in getting many more horses than usual adopted, especially the older horses whom I am most concerned about and whom are always harder to place. The staff at Canon City were extremely helpful to members of the public who called and emailed wanting particular horses, and aiding in reuniting wild horse family members who had been torn apart during the roundup. They acted as though they wanted the horses to be adopted, sold and placed in good homes.

Salt Wells Creek family playing Peek a Boo

I traveled to Rock Springs as as well at the end of February, 2015 when the facility reopened and was ready to allow the public to observe and adopt horses, and I again photographed the horses and spread the photographs far and wide. The staff at Rock Springs was extremely accommodating, going to great lengths to help members of the public, including me, to find particular horses and assist in reuniting families. They genuinely wanted to help as many horses as possible find good homes.

Adobe Town family

Adobe Town Family

My experience has been vastly different this time. I have gone to considerable trouble, as has Ginger Kathrens, trying to get access to the holding facility in Axtell, Utah where most of the 1968 wild horses rounded up have been sent, and also the facility in Bruneau, Idaho. We were told no or ignored.

Older Salt Wells Creek stallion

Salt Wells Creek Family

This is what Lisa Reid, Public Information Specialist from Utah had this reply to our request to go photograph and video the horses in order to facilitate adoption and sales of the horses:

“Since the UT corral is not open to the public, the horses will be offered for adoption or purchase through upcoming internet events and other events throughout the country.  The corrals that received the horses from the gathers will not be taking requests from the public to hold specific horses.  If you are interested in taking home a wild horse from this gather, please get pre-approved and be ready for the first events in the New Year! If this changes, I will let you know.”

Great Divide Basin Mare and foal

Gus Warr, Wild Horse and Burro Lead for Utah did not reply to my email and voicemail messages.
Dean Bolstad, Division Chief for the Wild Horse and Burro Program had this reply:
“Thanks for your concern and willingness to assist.  I need to defer to the managers of the Axtel and Bruneau facilities in regards to public visits and when the horses are ready for adoption (freezemarks, health certificates, etc).  This message is brief as today is my last day at work before I retire from BLM tomorrow.  I will pass on your interest to assist.”

Salt Wells Creek stallion

Krystal Wengreen, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist for Bruneau facility wrote me this email:

“I received your email regarding the WY Checkerboard horses at the Bruneau Off-Range Corrals. Since the Bruneau Corrals are not open to the public, the horses will be offered at events and other BLM corrals after they foal and the foals are old enough to be weaned. As in Utah and Wyoming, the Bruneau Corrals will not be taking requests from the public to hold specific horses, but as the horses are able to be shipped (after foaling and weaning) to other locations they will be available for adoption or purchase.We have an annual public tour in the late spring/early summer each year and the public will be able to view and photograph the horses during the tour. At this time we do not have a date identified, but it will most likely occur between May and June, as it has the past two years. Please let me know if you have any other questions. ”

When I asked why the public would not be able to get specific horses this is what she said:

“In our experience, when people are ready and prepared to adopt, they will adopt. Unfortunately, we do not have the staff time available to track certain horses and retain those horses with the hope that someone who has placed a hold on one will indeed adopt them in the end. Adoptions are based on a first come, first served protocol at most of the adoption events.”

Salt Wells Creek

In the trap

Last, Ginger contacted Holle Hooks (Wadell), Wild Horse and Burro Program, and we were finally told that 800 of the horses would be sent to the Delta short term holding facility in late February early March and we could come in then.

Salt Wells Creek

Salt Wells Creek family

What about the rest of the 1168 horses? There are about 200 at Rock Springs, and they just had an adoption event for 60 mares last weekend, but where are the rest of the horses? What are they doing with these horses? Why won’t they let us see or photograph or video these horses?

The youngest horses may be offered at adoption events but not the older horses. What am I supposed to tell the people who are contacting me, wanting to adopt specific horses? Too bad? Good luck?

Great Divide Basin

Great Divide Basin

As we are waiting for Congress to vote on the 2019 Budget, are they assuming that Congress will vote to kill the 46,000 wild horses in holding, and hoping that we will forget about these recently rounded up Checkerboard horses? Why aren’t they motivated to help us get these horses placed? Have some of them already been shipped to slaughter?

Yes the facilities at Axtell and Bruneau are private – but they have contracts with the BLM to hold these horses, they are being paid huge sums of our money to keep the horses there and we all need to remember that THESE ARE OUR HORSES. The BLM should not be able to hide them away, or to ship all the horses over 5 years old to long term holding facilities where they never allow horses to be adopted from. The BLM staff should not be able to decide that it is too much trouble for them to help the public identify and adopt particular horses when doing so facilitates more adoptions. The BLM is behaving as though all they want to do is to do away with all these horses. This is not right. This should not be allowed. I will NOT forget about these horses and neither should the American public.

Adobe Town

Adobe Town family

If you want to help, I am providing email addresses and phone numbers below of the people who should be bothered to do something to help these horses.  Please spread the word. What I want is for Ginger Kathrens and I, Carol Walker to be allowed to visit all the wild horses brought in during the Checkerboard Roundup that are now at the facilities in Axtell, Utah and at Bruneau, Idaho and to be able to photograph them and video them, and get the word out in order to help them get placed by adoption or sale. I would also like the cooperation of BLM staff to facilitate this so that people can contact them about adopting particular horses. I feel that this is the very least they can do.

Salt Wells Creek stallion

Lisa Reid, Public Information Specialist, Utah: lreid@blm.gov     W 435-743-3128
cell:  435. 979.2838

Holle Hooks, Wild Horse and Burro Program: 405 579-1862  hhooks@blm.gov

Krystal Wengreen, Public Information Specialist, Bruneau, Idaho: kwengreen@blm.gov (208) 329-4534

Gus Warr, Wild Horse and Burro Lead, Utah: 801-539-4057,   gwarr@blm.gov

Axtell, Utah Holding Facility Owner, Kerry Despain: 435-528-3990

Read this article HERE.

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

 

Congress Targets our Wild Horses and Burros

Many thanks to Susan Wagner, Pres. of Equine Advocates, for writing this excellent OpEd for the New York Daily News.

SOURCE:  New York Daily News

photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

by Susan Wagner, Pres. of Equine Advocates

Special interests in the ranching, oil and gas and mining industries and the lawmakers who do their bidding have a nefarious but underreported agenda: to round up and destroy the wild horses and burros on America’s public lands.

This is not the first time they’ve tried, but this time, the stars are aligned in the worst way, and they just might succeed.

First, some quick history. Back in the 1950s, wild horses were at the brink of extinction. They had no federal protections. People known as Mustangers were chasing, rounding up and selling them for slaughter by the thousands. Anyone who has seen the classic 1961 Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe film “The Misfits” has a sense — albeit a sanitized, Hollywood sense — of this dirty work.

That changed when activist Velma Johnston, famously known as Wild Horse Annie, inspired the passage of the Wild Horse Annie Act in 1959, which provided some protection for these animals. That law was followed by even stronger legislation — the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. It expressly prohibited the hunting, capture, injury and disturbance of wild horses and burros.

Over the years, however, lawmakers have chipped away at this legislation, removing many of its vital protections. Tremendous damage was done by the 2004 Burns Amendment; it passed without so much as a hearing and permitted the sale of these animals for commercial purposes. Many ended up at slaughter.

The biggest threat to wild horses today is a group of ranchers — known as “welfare ranchers” — who use federal lands to graze their cattle. They have made it clear that they want the horses and burros gone. They believe they are entitled to the land and water rights for their livestock.

Though they style themselves as independent pioneers, these ranchers are given huge subsidies by the federal government, enabling them to lease our public lands for a pittance, while the wild horses and burros are rounded up and sent to holding facilities operated by the Bureau of Land Management, a division of the the Interior Department.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, this program has cost the American taxpayer more than $1 billion over the past decade and is “ruinous to the public lands and the wildlife that inhabit it.”

There is no doubt that our wild horses and burros can be managed humanely, but that is not what is going on. Nearly 50,000 healthy animals are now being held captive in Bureau of Land Management holding facilities. Many suffer and die horrible deaths during the roundups, which are cruel and unnecessary.

Making matters worse, a five-year investigation released in July by the Wild Horse Freedom Federation accuses the bureau of deliberately trying to deceive American taxpayers and members of Congress about the costs and consequences of their actions.  READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

 

Save

Big Cattle, Big Gulp: Cowboys and cows are soaking the American West dry

Source:  New Republic

“Every stream on public lands grazed by livestock is polluted and shows a huge surge in E. coli bacterial contamination during the grazing season,” says Marvel. “No wonder we can’t drink the water.”

Marvel, who retired from WWP last year, spent two decades haranguing and suing the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the government bodies that are supposed to regulate ranching on the public domain. “Forest Service and BLM staffers see their job as the protection and enabling of ranchers. They are the epitome of what is meant by agency capture.”

by Christopher Ketcham

The American West faces its fifteenth year of low rainfall, sparse snowpack, and warming temperatures in what climatologists believe is only the beginning of a climate-change-induced megadrought that may last a century or more. Major cities across California recorded historically low precipitation levels in the last two years. At least 78 percent of the state is now categorized as suffering “extreme drought,” including the state’s Central Valley, the nation’s most productive agricultural region. California hasn’t been this dry in 1,200 years.

We tend to blame the exurban sprawl dweller for water waste. The profligate of the cul-de-sac, he obsesses over car washes, floods the Kentucky bluegrass on his lawn, tops off his swimming pool, takes the kids to water parks, and tees off at green golf courses tended among cacti. He is the wrong object of our ire, however. Personal and industrial consumption for drinking, washing, flushing, watering the lawn, detailing the car, and cooling nuclear plants, accounts for less than 10 percent of water use in the eleven arid states of the West.

We’d do better to look at what we eat when casting about for villains of the water drama. Food production consumes more fresh water than any other activity in the United States. “Within agriculture in the West, the thirstiest commodity is the cow,” says George Wuerthner, an ecologist at the Foundation for Deep Ecology, who has studied the livestock industry. Humans drink about a gallon of water a day; cows, upwards of 23 gallons. The alfalfa, hay, and pasturage raised to feed livestock in California account for approximately half of the water used in the state, with alfalfa representing the highest-acreage crop. In parts of Montana, as much as 90 percent of irrigated land is operated solely for the production of livestock feed; 90 percent of Nevada’s cropland is dedicated to raising hay. Half of Idaho’s three million acres of irrigated farmland grows forage and feed exclusively for cattle, and livestock production represents 60 percent of the state’s water use. In Utah, cows are the top agricultural product, and three-fifths of the state’s cropland is planted with hay. All told, alfalfa and hay production in the West requires more than ten times the water used by the region’s cities and industries combined, according to some estimates. Researchers at Cornell University concluded that producing one kilogram of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing one kilogram of grain protein. It is a staggeringly inefficient food system.

One obvious and immediate solution to the western water crisis would be to curtail the waste of the livestock industry. The logical start to this process would be to target its least important sector: public lands ranching.  READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Public comments needed to make sure wild horses & burros are protected in amendments to BLM’s Land Use Plans in CA and NV

(photo:  Carol Walker)

Your comments are needed to make sure wild horses and burros are protected in possible amendments to very important BLM Land Use Plans (LUPs) in California and Nevada.  You can cite this report: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/lup/90121/123510/150623/SO3353-report.pdf   (wild horses are noted on page 37, the second box from the bottom).  Tell the BLM you want our wild horse & burro herds to be maintained in viable numbers.  Per the equine geneticist hired by the BLM, Dr. Gus Cothran, the minimum wild horse and burro herd size should be 150-200 animals. Within a herd containing this number, about 100 animals would be of breeding age.  Of those 100, approximately 50 horses or burros would comprise the genetic effective population size.  Dr. Cothran has stated that 50 is a minimum number.  A higher number would decrease the chances for inbreeding.  (A decreased genetic effective population size leads to both inbreeding and the loss of alleles by genetic drift, increasing the probability of population extinction.)   Also, if the BLM skews the sex ratio to favor males, the number should be higher.

Members of the public can convey comments to the BLM via a website and via email.

For more information please contact Matt Magaletti, BLM Nevada State Office, at 775-861-6472

Source:  Elko Daily Free Press

RENO – The Bureau of Land Management announced opportunities for the public to comment and share issues on the agency’s consideration of potential amendments to its Nevada and California land use plans, specifically elements of land use plans that address greater sage-grouse conservation. Meetings cover Northern Nevada, including one slated for Elko on Nov. 8.

On Oct. 5, the Department of the Interior announced its intention to revisit land use plans in 10 western states to improve greater sage-grouse conservation and to strengthen communication and coordination between western states and the federal government. The existing plans, which were amended in 2015, provide guidance and direction to BLM managers in Nevada for the management of greater sage-grouse habitat.

The public scoping meetings will be held in Reno, Elko and Ely to provide venues in areas covered by the sage grouse plan. BLM staff will be on hand to gather information about potential issues to be considered related to any plan amendments.

Meeting Locations:

Reno

Location: The Nugget, Sierra Room 1, 1100 Nugget Ave., Sparks

Date and Time: Tuesday, Nov. 7, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Elko

Location: Elko Convention Center, 700 Moren Way, Elko

Date and Time: Wednesday, Nov. 8, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Ely

Location: Bristle Cone Convention Center, 150 W. Sixth St., Ely

Date and Time: Thursday, Nov. 9, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Members of the public can also convey comments to the BLM via a website and via email.

For more information please contact Matt Magaletti, BLM Nevada State Office, at 775-861-6472.

How much forage does the BLM allow livestock to eat on public lands vs. what they allow for our wild horses & burros?

Fax this to your Congressional Representatives:

SOURCE:  Animal Welfare Institute

“of the total number of livestock and wild horses and/or burros known or authorized to graze within HMAs and their associated grazing allotments, 1.8 percent are wild horses, 0.4 percent are wild burros and the remaining 97.8 percent are livestock.”

We encourage all people interested in public lands issues to be sure to read the Animal Welfare Institute report (2012) Overview of the Management of Wild Horses & Burros.  AWI presented this to the National Academy of Science.  Although this report was issued in 2012, the issues are all current.  This report gives an excellent overview of wild horse & burro issues and the mismanagement of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program.  We will be pulling out a few excerpts for some articles, since this report counters all of the false information by sources at the recent National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting, by the livestock grazing activists and in the media.

AUM is Animal Unit Month – The BLM has defined this as the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month. (AML is Appropriate Management Level)

Pages 145-149 of this AWI report indicate the following:

 Figure National – 7

For the ten western states occupied by wild horses and/or burros, BLM data reveals that the total number of authorized AUMs for 2011… included actual AUM use of 8,297,403 for cattle, yearlings and domestic bison, 53,119 for domestic horses and burros, and 708,280 for domestic sheep and goats.  The 2011 estimated combined population size for wild horses and burros within HMAs was 33,805, while the combined high AML for wild horses and burros was 26,576.
 
These figures correspond to AUMs of 31,537 (for the estimated population) and 25,225 (based on combined high AML). Consequently, the number of AUMs for livestock within the ten western states in which wild horses and/or burros are found are 287 times the AUMs based on estimated wild horse and burro population size and 359 times the AUMs for wild horses and burros based on high AML.  It is worth noting that, in a number of instances, the permitted use AUMs designated by the BLM were well in excess of the active AUM level (amount of use that could be allowed); a discrepancy that could not be explained by a BLM official.
Figure National -8
According to the BLMs Rangeland Administration database (accessed in September 2012), a total of 4,565,208 livestock (i.e., cattle and yearlings, domestic bison, domestic sheep, domestic horses and burros, and goats) have be en grazed on the estimated 669
allotments found entirely or partially within HMA boundaries within the past BLM billing cycle. This equates to 4,286,252 permitted use AUMs. When adjusted to compensate for the percentage of each allotment found within or outside of HMA boundaries, the total number of stock grazed is 1,302,259, which correlates to 1,626,450 seasonal/annual permitted use AUMs. When compared to the combined high AML for wild horses and burros for 2012, which corresponds to 299,562 annual AUM s, total livestock AUMs on HMAs is 5.4 times higher than the AUMs for wild horses and burros.
 
This is only an estimate since livestock use is not consistent across an allotment. This is because the animals tend to utilize those portions of an allotment that are most suitable in regard to water, forage, shelter, and other requirements. For the purpose of this analysis, the number of AUMs and individual livestock obtained from various BLM data sets was multiplied by the percentage of the allotment found within each HMA. Due to the lack of equal distribution of livestock a cross an allotment, these figures may under-or over-estimate actual use.
Livestock authorization and stocking rates are not static, but frequently change over time as a consequence of rangeland condition, economics, environmental factors (such as prolonged drought), changes to allotment permit conditions, changes in the type of
livestock grazed, and other factors. For the ten states that harbor wild horses and burros, livestock AUMs are highly variable. For example, based on BLM data, total livestock AUMs were 9,708,638 in 1996, declining to 9,058,802 in 2011.
In sum, based on the BLM data referenced above, 1,302,259 livestock are authorized to graze within HMAs occupied by an
estimated 24,264 wild horses and 5,017 wild burros as of February 2012. Therefore, of the total number of livestock and wild horses and/or burros known or authorized to graze within HMAs and their associated grazing allotments, 1.8 percent are wild horses, 0.4 percent are wild burros and the remaining 97.8 percent are livestock. At the state, individual HMA, or HMA complex level, these
statistics differ. Regardless of the geographic scale of the analysis, however, the number of livestock grazing on HMAs is far in
excess of the number of wild horses and/or burros.

Public comments needed on BLM’s plans to roundup wild horses on the Onaqui HMA in Utah

(Photo: BLM)

Public comments are due by Oct. 31 on a BLM Salt Lake City Field Office Scoping Notice for a roundup of wild horses in the Onaqui Herd Management Area in Utah.  Send a personal comment to  blm_ut_cedarmt_onaqui@blm.gov   and in the subject line, put Onaqui Wild Horse Gather/Population Control and Research

We are sharing this public comment written by our friend, wild horse & burro advocate (and beekeeper) Susan Rudnicki:

To: blm_ut_cedarmt_onaqui@blm.gov

BLM—           It has come to my attention that the Utah BLM is considering removing a majority of the Onaqui Mountain wild horse herd—325 horses out of a herd of 450.   This is a reckless gutting of the genetic viability of this herd, a 72% decrease that can not sustain genetic resilience, a authoritative opinion of Dr Gus Cothran, equine geneticist.

   The citation by BLM that the horses are to be removed to preserve sage grouse habitat also is not underpinned by the facts at hand.  The public is well aware of the proposal by the current administration to ACTIVELY REDUCE sage grouse habitat protection, as announced  by  Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke,  who released the recommendations of his sage-grouse “review team”.  A short summary of some of the recommendations does not seem to support the contention by Utah BLM that wild horses are a significant impact to Sage Grouse.  Instead, the list tries to damage the already concocted 5 year planning process that went into the good-faith flexibility of the 2015 Approved Resource Management Plan Amendments (ARMPAs) and test how far the Interior Department can bend the rules without getting sued. Where is the “protection of Sage Grouse”,  as purported to be driving a removal from Onaqui HMA?
   In fact, the BLM plan for wild horse removals is factually contradicted by a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service study released in 2012 that did not cite wild horses as one of the top five threats to sage grouse. Instead, it cites energy development, transmission right of ways, fire, invasive species, and commercial development as the top threats.   Interestingly, these human installations are the very things Zinke has openly committed to smoothing the way for opening on our public lands.  
 
   The round-up proposed by BLM in Onaqui would seem to be driven instead by industrial considerations, as described in the list below, gleaned from Zinke’s team list.    I am a citizen and taxpayer able to discern when scapegoats, such as the wild horses, are being used for distraction purposes.   
   The Zinke report and the forthcoming processes that will revise the ARMPAs  are determined to weaken any provisions that inhibit industry, including proposals to:
  • Narrow the buffer zones that would protect leks from fossil fuel development disturbance;
  • Remove Sagebrush Focal Area restrictions (“SFA” the most important habitat) for fluid mineral operations, and ultimately consider getting rid of SFA altogether;
  • Train staff to weaken grazing Habitat Objectives so that they are not included as terms and conditions of livestock grazing permits in key grouse habitats;
  • Encourage captive breeding of grouse and increased predator killing – which science has proven don’t work – instead of habitat protection which does; and
  • Create the false impression that livestock grazing is good for sage-grouse habitat, when in fact there is no scientific evidence that even light grazing by domestic livestock is beneficial.
   I am a astute reader and am able to discern conflicts of interest masquerading as cover for “takings”  Sage Grouse AND wild horses are protected and stand to get in the way of industrial development for private profit.
 
  The removal of the wild horses by BLM in the Onaqui HMA must change,  to focus instead on fertility control. The plan to treat 60 mares in FY2018 is not adequate to slow reproduction. Volunteers with the Wild Horses of America Foundation are ready and able to implement a larger population control program.
 
   I do not want my taxpayer dollars used on another expensive round-up and stockyard impoundment for wild horses. 
 
   Finally, per the most recent recommendation of the BLM National Advisory Board, all wild horses in holding are to be slaughtered or sold to foreign countries for slaughter in the next three years.   This is NOT acceptable to the public at large, who are granted by the 

 WILD FREE-ROAMING HORSES AND BURROS ACT OF 1971
(PUBLIC LAW 92-195)

to be the public which enjoys and oversees the animal’s protection.  Any horses taken in the Onaqui HMA could become caught in this tug of war between Federal agencies.   
 
I remain a active, informed American taxpayer,
Sincerely, Susan Rudnicki

The 22.2 million acres of Herd Areas that the BLM took away from wild horses & burros

SOURCE:  Animal Welfare Institute

AWI has repeatedly questioned the decisions to permanently remove all wild horses and burros from the range – decisions that continue to be made – without an area-by-area analysis it is impossible to verify the scientific, land use, legal, or other evidence relied on by the BLM to support its decisions.

We encourage all advocates, both new advocates and longtime advocates, to be sure to read this Animal Welfare Institute report (2012) Overview of the Management of Wild Horses & Burros.  AWI presented this to the National Academy of Science.  Although this report was issued in 2012, the issues are all current.  This report gives an excellent overview of wild horse & burro issues and the mismanagement of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program.  We will be pulling out a few excerpts for some articles, since this report counters all of the false information by sources at the recent National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting, by the livestock grazing activists and in the media.

As the BLM and the livestock grazing activists complain about the “overpopulation” of wild horses and burros on public lands, lets take a closer look at the 22.2 million acres that have been taken away from the wild horses & burros.

We’re hoping that other wild horse & burro advocacy groups and advocates will join us in focusing on, and fighting for, this “tool in the toolbox” that isn’t mentioned by the BLM:

Instead of killing all of our wild horses & burros that are currently in BLM holding facilities, put them back on our public lands.

Herd Areas and Herd Management Areas:

HERD AREA (HA)Upon passage of the WFRHBA, the federal government surveyed wild horse and burro populations to identify those areas where, as Congress directed, they were to be protected and managed. These areas were designated as HAs. It is not clear exactly when each area was surveyed and whether such surveys were conducted once or multiple times over the course of a year or two. Hence, it is not known if the areas originally designated as HAs for wild horses and burros encompassed sufficient range to meet the needs of the animals throughout the year. At that time, very few studies had been undertaken to understand wild horse and/or burro biology, ecology, behaviors, or habitat needs. It is probable, therefore, that the efforts made to establish wild horse and burro range were ill-informed as to the biological and ecological needs of the species.

HERD MANAGEMENT AREA (HMA)HMAs were not designated in the 1971 law. It is not clear how the BLM delineates the boundaries of HMAs. Presumably it considers geography, topography, presence of private lands, land use patterns, water availability, forage production, space, cover, and economic and political factors when establishing such boundaries. In some cases, adjoining HMAs are considered as an HMA complex and managed accordingly. Each HMA, as articulated in the BLM Handbook, is to have a Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP) to provide additional guidance on how each HMA is to be managed. It is not clear how many HMAs have corresponding HMAPs at present.

This excerpt is from pages 143-145 of the AWI report:

Since 1971 for all ten western states that provide habitat for wild horses and burros, HMA acreage represents only 58.8 percent of total HA acreage, reflecting a loss of 22,181,755 acres of potential wild horse and/or burro range.

The nearly 22.2 million acres lost to wild horses and burros includes the land lost to wild horses and/or burros as a result of decisions to “zero-out” the herds or permanently close HAs to their use.

The number of HAs affected, 172 according to 2012 data, encompass a total of 24,898,923 acres (including 19,514,123 BLM acres). Due to the net increase of 2,716,808 HMA acres compared to HA acres in the ten states, the net loss of lands is adjusted to approximately 22.2 million acres. This means that of the 245 million acres managed by the BLM and of the 157 million acres managed for grazing, only 13 and 20 percent, respectively, is available for use by wild horses and burros combined (with a much smaller percentage managed for wild burros).

Even within HMAs, however, the total land area utilized by wild horses and burros is much less, as topographic, geologic, and other factors reduce the amount of land suitable for wild horses and/or burros.

The BLM justifies the loss of the over 22 million acres of wild horse and burro habitat claiming that of the 15.5 million acres under BLM management:

  • 48.6 percent (7,522,100 acres) were closed due to a checkerboard land pattern that made management infeasible;
  • 13.5 percent (2,091,709 acres) were transferred from the BLM through legislation or exchange;
  • 10.6 percent (1,645,758 acres) had substantial conflicts with other resource values;
  • 9.7 percent (1,512,179 acres) were lands removed from wild horse and burro use as a result of court decision, urban expansion, habitat fragmentation, and land withdrawals;
  • 9.6 percent (1,485,068 acres) were lands where no wild horses or burros were present when the WFRHBA was passed in 1971 or where all animals were claimed as private property;
  • 8.0 percent (1,240,894 acres) were lands where a critical habitat component was missing, making the land unsuitable for wild horse or burro use or where too few animals existed to permit effective management.

 The remaining 6.7 million acres were never under BLM management. See Figure National 6.  Though AWI has repeatedly questioned the decisions to permanently remove all wild horses and burros from the range – decisions that continue to be made – without an area-by-area analysis it is impossible to verify the scientific, land use, legal, or other evidence relied on by the BLM to support its decisions.

The number of HAs has been variable over time. While the number of original HAs is not known, since 2005 the number of HAs has been reported by the BLM to range from a low of 134 in 2005 to 347 in 2012. However, the BLM’s own data is confusing. For example, in 2005 while reporting a total of 134 HAs the BLM separately reports a total of 317 HAs along with another 106 “HAs with no acres in HMAs.” Similarly, from 2006 through 2008, the BLM reports either 105 or 106 HAs “remaining undesignated,” though it is unclear what this means.

The number of HMAs has varied over time. While an annual record of the number of HMAs was not available, as recently as 2008 there were a total of 199 HMAs (GAO 2008). Over the past seven years, the number of HMAs has ranged from 201 in 2005 to 179 today. In some cases, HAs or HMAs were combined, contributing to a smaller number of HMAs while, in other cases, when HAs were permanently closed to wild horses and burros, a number of HMAs were lost.

 

Does the End of the Checkerboard Roundup Mean the End of the Lives of Wyoming’s Wild Horses?

Source:  wildhoofbeats.com

Does the End of the Checkerboard Roundup Mean the End of the Lives of Wyoming’s Wild Horses?

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

*Reminder* Please call your U.S. Senators to save our wild horses and burros.

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The largest groups of wild horses I had ever seen being driven at once by helicopter

As we drove down County Road 430 toward the Colorado border, I had a sinking feeling that we were headed toward Bitter Creek Road, where 167 wild horses have already been rounded up and removed. I was initially told that no more than 200 horses would be removed from this area, that there would still be horses there. But now, since the helicopters could fly into Adobe Town at the every southern border with Colorado as well as in Salt Wells Creek from this location, that this was why we were going here.

The winding road up Kinney Rim

The winding road up Kinney Rim

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In fact, 236 wild horses were rounded up this day, 54 for Adobe Town and 182 from Salt Wells Creek. This stunningly beautiful area is in the shadow of Kinney Rim, one of the stunning and immense formations of hills in Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek. Just up over the rim and about 12 miles over was Eversole Ranch.

Coming from a long way away

Coming from a long way away

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Galloping in

I did not hear any helicopters for a long time – they had headed south toward the border, and I think they were bringing wild horses from quite a long way away.   READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

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