74 Wild Horses Torn from Freedom and Family

Source: Elko Daily Free Press

BLM removes 74 horses in eastern Nevada

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

ELY – The Bureau of Land Management’s Ely District has concluded an emergency wild horse gather, removing 74 excess horses from public and private lands adjacent to U.S. Highway 93 and State Route 322.

The plan had been to remove approximately 100 horses from inside and outside the Eagle and Silver King Herd Management Areas in eastern Nevada. The BLM removed 31 wild horses from between Pioche and Eagle Valley, and 43 wild horses from the Bennet Springs area southwest of Panaca.

Horses removed from the range were transported to the BLM’s Indian Lakes off-range corrals located in Fallon, to be prepared for the BLM’s adoption program.

Un-adopted wild horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not sell or send any wild horses to slaughter. (yeah, right)

BLM to begin rounding up wild horses in Nevada

BLM "caring" for Nevada wild horses ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM “caring” for Nevada wild horses ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

SOURCE:  Capitalpress.com

BLM to begin rounding up wild horses in Nevada

The agency will remove up to 50 wild horses from between Pioche and Eagle Valley and another 50 from the Bennet Springs area southwest of Panaca.

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management says it’s rounding up 100 wild horses in eastern Nevada for public safety reasons.

The Elko Daily Free Press reports that the animals are being removed by a helicopter along U.S. Highway 93 and State Route 322. The roundup is being conducted this week within and outside the Eagle and Silver King Herd Management Areas.

The agency’s Ely District will remove up to 50 wild horses from between Pioche and Eagle Valley and another 50 from the Bennet Springs area southwest of Panaca.

The BLM is aiming to remove horses that have wandered outside the two management areas in search of forage.

The animals will be taken to an agency corral in Fallon, where they will be offered up for adoption.

I-Team Video Update: Mustang Monument Losing Battle with the BLM

By George Knapp , Matt Adams as broadcast on LasVegasNOW.com

“Not much need for commentary, here, as George lays it out on the line pretty crisp and clear, ‘The BLM is a corrupt, lying, thieving federal agency that puts not only our wild equines at risk but private citizens and their fiscal futures, also.  A clear example of government corruption at it’s very lowest” ~ R.T.


“…what the BLM said in public is much different from what it thought in private…”

LAS VEGAS – A $25 million eco-sanctuary meant to be a tourist attraction for rural Nevada is closed and may never re-open.

The Mustang Monument in Elko County was created as an alternative for the troubled wild horse program, but the Bureau of Land Management has stopped the project from moving forward.

The I-Team has obtained internal documents which show that what the BLM said in public is much different from what it thought in private.

The wild horse program is through by many to be the worst program in the federal government. Bad for the horses, bad for the range, bad for the taxpayers.

Every two or three years, the feds pay for an expensive study, and every study concludes that BLM needs to try something different.

BLM always reacts the same. It ignores the recommendations.

Mustang Monument was going to be a public private partnership — a radical change good for the horses, the range and the taxpayers.

The public records request shows it never had a chance.

“This is a new batch obviously, these young ones,” said Jerry Reynoldson.

At a corral on the Mustang Monument property, veteran wild horse advocate Jerry Reynoldson checks out some new arrivals. For more than 25 years, Reynoldson has tried to work with BLM on solutions to its troubled wild horse program, and he’s been a key advisor to Madeleine Pickens in her development of the mustang monument as a model for what could be done, but both now believe BLM was never going to allow it to happen.

An obscure road is an example, Pickens planned to use it to transport tourists from her guest accommodations to deeded property on the other side of her range for cookouts and to see the herd of horses that was living out there, that is, until vandals cut the fences and the horses either died or ran off. BLM won’t allow the use of the rarely traveled access road.

“BLM has given her four or five pages of questions about what she would do on the road which include, where would people go to the bathroom? The answer is, it’s a short enough drive they wouldn’t go anywhere but they don’t want to know where, they want to know how many times would they stop, how many times would they need to use a facility. Silly questions,” Reynoldson said.

A road that’s been trod for a century by cows, sheep and horses can’t be used to transport visitors because someone might have to pee.

BLM is making sure they keep putting their foot out and tripping me up every time,” said Mustang Monument founder Madeleine Pickens. “I keep getting up, they stop me.”

Pickens spent $6 million for two sprawling ranches because she was encouraged to do so by BLM. She offered to get other investors to buy another 2 million acres, and take all 30,000 wild horses the BLM had in storage, a plan which BLM admits would save the taxpayers more than $100 million in just five years.

In public statements, BLM said it wanted to work with Pickens, but privately, it’s another matter. Public records obtained by the I-Team show that BLM staff plotted the demise of Pickens plan from the beginning. A 2008 white paper discusses how the law could be used to prevent the project. BLM blacked out the details as being privileged information.

BLM declined to be interviewed for this report, but in a written statement explained why, after seven years, the bureau still has not completed an environmental review.  We need more information, the BLM told the I-Team and since there are “unresolved issues” with the Pickens plan, no such analysis would be appropriate.

In one candid memo, BLM admits an unspoken concern that the proposal would be politically perilous in cattle-friendly Elko County.

BLM staffers imposed ever-changing conditions that they knew would stir up opposition, not only from ranchers but also from wild horse advocates, such as forcing the roundup of existing horses on the range, making all of the Pickens horses sterile, and putting fences around the entire public acreage.

In 2015, BLM finally tipped its hand. When Pickens asked during a meeting what it would take to get the necessary permits, bureau staffers issued a startling demand.

“They said, we’ve had internal discussions. If you’d be willing to surrender your grazing and water rights, we could work with you on the project,” Reynoldson said.

Giving up the grazing and water rights would in effect mean giving up the property itself. Pickens was stunned, and decided soon after that the monument would not open in 2016 for visitors, knowing BLM would never allow it.

“The BLM, the Interior Department have blown up stories and created fabricated issues that simply don’t exist. The only thing I can say is, it’s a failed program. It’s a failed agency. I feel sorry for them. Every time I do something, they fine me, or they find a way to come and get me. It’s a witch hunt,” Pickens said.

The Mustang Monument opened for a period last year and high-end tourists, especially foreign visitors, they loved it. Pickens already had reservations lined up for this year, but she never opened because the BLM wouldn’t allow her to move forward and also because of opposition from Elko County officials and residents.

There will be more on this story Friday.

http://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/i-team-madeleine-pickens-losing-battle-with-the-blm

Nevada Gov Sides with Welfare Cows While Trashing Wild Horses

Story by Scott Sonner as published on The Spectrum

Sandoval urges relaxed grazing restrictions as drought wanes

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

RENO, Nev. – Gov. Brian Sandoval is urging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to reconsider livestock grazing restrictions in northeast Nevada, saying that may now be unwarranted given a wet winter that has drought conditions on the mend.

The Republican governor who recently called for expedited roundups of wild horses in Nevada says the agency’s current management scheme wrongly prioritizes mustangs ahead of ranchers — a matter of much debate for decades in the 10 western states where the mustangs roam from California to Colorado.

Sandoval said widespread precipitation has provided healthy forage and water resources in areas stung by five consecutive years of drought.

“Drought conditions in 2015 were a very different story and decisions based on that timeframe need to be revisited — especially decisions that drastically affect an industry and the livelihoods of many hardworking Nevadans,” he said in a letter last week to BLM Nevada State Director John Ruhs arguing against grazing restrictions anticipated this summer based on last fall’s assessments.

Sandoval said he’s concerned about the growing over-population of horses, “the negative impact they have on our rangeland, and the burden of the proposed solution being solely put upon the livestock industry.”

He said the proposed action “prioritizes wild horse populations above livestock producers.”

Nevada is home to nearly 28,000 wild horses — more than half of the 47,000 estimated in the West. BLM argues the range can sustain less than half that many — about 12,000 in Nevada and 26,000 nationally.

Nevada BLM spokesman Stephen Clutter told The Associated Press that agency officials are conducting tours with grazing permittees to observe on-the-ground conditions and discuss management options and changes for the 2016 season.

Clutter agrees there’s been “significant improvements” in drought conditions over the past year but expressed caution. “The effects of drought are cumulative and it can take several years of good precipitation for vegetation to fully recover,” he said.

At the governor’s wildland fire briefing in Carson City last week, Nevada State Water Engineer Jason King said the 2015-16 winter was good when considering the four years prior.

“I characterize it as an average water year,” King said. “We’re doing much better than we were, but we’re not out of the drought and we shouldn’t forget that.”

Clutter said grazing restrictions are one of the tools the agency has to protect the ecological health of the range, and the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 is just one of many laws that guide BLM.

Under that law, areas where the animals were found in 1971 are to be managed “principally but not necessarily exclusively” for wild horses or burros, Clutter said

Greta Anderson, deputy director of the Idaho-based conservation group the Western Watersheds Project, said it’s clear ranchers have no legal right to graze their livestock on public lands.

“They have the privilege of having the preference to graze when conditions are favorable as determined by the BLM and based on science,” she said. “First in line should be the endangered species like the sage grouse that absolutely need to be relieved of livestock grazing in their range if they are going to recover.”

Anderson said Sandoval’s letter is “indicative of how politicized public lands livestock grazing is — with the industry getting politicians to strong-arm agency decision making.”

“Instead, the governor should be concerned with job creation programs for a sustainable economy,” she said, “and propping up the cowboy culture of the arid West isn’t it.”

http://www.thespectrum.com/story/news/2016/05/29/sandoval-urges-relaxed-grazing-restrictions-drought-wanes/85141246/

Scott Sonner on BLM Nevada Director urging the roundup of 4,000 mustangs

SOURCE:  Las Vegas Sun

“Suggesting that wild horses are a problem for sage grouse, while ignoring the comparatively massive impacts of cattle and sheep, is a bit like suggesting that the captain of the Titanic should be worried about the ice cubes in his passengers’ cocktails rather than the icebergs floating in the North Atlantic.”  – Erik Molvar, WildEarth Guardians wildlife biologist

BLM’s Nevada director urges roundup of 4,000 mustangs

In this June 5, 2013 photo, some of the hundreds of mustangs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management removed from federal rangeland peer at visitors at the BLM's Palomino Valley holding facility about 20 miles north of Reno in Palomino Valley, Nev. The Cloud Foundation and Friends of Animas are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to declare wild horses threatened or endangered in North America under the Endangered Species Act. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

In this June 5, 2013 photo, some of the hundreds of mustangs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management removed from federal rangeland peer at visitors at the BLM’s Palomino Valley holding facility about 20 miles north of Reno in Palomino Valley, Nev. The Cloud Foundation and Friends of Animas are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to declare wild horses threatened or endangered in North America under the Endangered Species Act. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

RENO — Concerned about continued deterioration of drought-stricken rangeland in Nevada, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s state director wants to round up 4,000 wild horses in Elko County — more mustangs than were gathered across 10 Western states combined last year.

BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs says it’s unlikely he’ll be able to consider lifting livestock grazing restrictions in the northeast corner of the state without removing the mustangs from four-herd management areas over 600 square miles stretching to near the Utah line.

Ruhs, Gov. Brian Sandoval, livestock interests and state wildlife officials argue the roundups also would benefit the greater sage grouse.

Nevada Agriculture Director Jim Barbee anticipates that without the roundups, anywhere from a 25 percent to a total reduction in grazing will be necessary in some areas, resulting in as much as $1.8 million in damages to Elko County’s economy.

Conservationists say the call for more roundups is a misguided attempt to placate ranchers at the expense of horses and grouse. Cattle do far more damage than mustangs to the range and the imperiled bird, they say.

“The BLM is scapegoating wild horses instead of addressing the true causes of range degradation and threats to sage grouse,” said Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.

Nevada is home to nearly 28,000 wild horses — more than half of the 47,000 estimated in 10 western states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

BLM officials argue the range can sustain less than half that many — about 12,000 in Nevada and 26,000 nationally.

Ruhs estimated in an April 13 letter to the agency’s headquarters that it would cost about $4 million to remove about 4,000 animals in Elko County. He said the population of those herds is at five times the appropriate carrying capacity. “Some of the allotments/pastures within the impacted area will need to be closed to livestock grazing in 2016 and into the future to limit further damage to these ecosystems or until appropriate management of the wild horses has taken place,'” he wrote.

Sandoval warned last week if the Interior Department refuses to adequately fund the program, “the state will pursue all legal options to protect our local producers and communities.”

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, said in a letter to Secretary Sally Jewell that he’s disappointed the BLM has not responded to a request he and others made in November for an update on herds across the West.

“Over the past few years, many ranchers have already taken reductions in their grazing allotments, yet horse populations have only increased, not decreased, over that time,” Heller wrote Friday.

The BLM gathered 7,242 horses nationally in 2012; 4,064 in 2013; 1,689 in 2014; and 3,093 last fiscal year. It removed about 1,000 in Oregon in November, about 125 in southern Nevada in February, 54 in Utah in March, and this summer plans to remove about 535 in Wyoming and 300 in Utah.

But the agency currently plans no large-scale roundups in Nevada — or anywhere else — through the end of September because of budget shortfalls driven largely by the cost of housing more than 45,000 mustangs now in government corrals and pastures at a lifetime cost of $48,000 per animal.

The Nevada Association of Counties, Nevada Farm Bureau and others filed a lawsuit last year to force the government to step up roundups, but a U.S. judge in Reno dismissed the case.

“Unfortunately, the removal of cattle from areas where horse populations are significantly over (appropriate management levels) does not alleviate the impacts to native species, including sage grouse,” Nevada Cattlemen’s Association President David Stix Jr. said.

WildEarth Guardians wildlife biologist Erik Molvar disagreed. “Suggesting that wild horses are a problem for sage grouse, while ignoring the comparatively massive impacts of cattle and sheep, is a bit like suggesting that the captain of the Titanic should be worried about the ice cubs in his passengers’ cocktails rather than the icebergs floating in the North Atlantic,” he said.

BLM to let pubic have a quick peek at our wild horses imprisoned in Indian Lakes Rd. holding facility (on private property) in Fallon, NV

 Scan_Pic0002

It’s just a really quick peek, and instead of allowing the public to walk around the corrals, like we were allowed to do on the original tours, the BLM now puts you on a wagon, so that you can’t look too closely or take too many photos.  (photo: Debbie Coffey)

SOURCE:  BLM

Release Date: 05/04/16
Contacts: Jeremy Wilhelm, 775-475-2222, jwilhelm@blm.gov
News Release No. 2016-014

BLM offers two public tours of Fallon wild horse and burro corral

RENO, Nev. —The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is offering two public tours of the Indian Lakes Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corral in Fallon, Nevada, on Friday, May 20. The corral is one of three in Nevada that provides care to wild horses and burros removed from the range. Tour attendees will be able to observe a new water sprinkler system designed to increase animal comfort and reduce dust at the facility.

The public tours are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and each will last about two hours. Each tour will accommodate up to 20 people. Spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The public can sign up to attend and get driving directions to the facility by calling the Palomino Valley Center (PVC) at (775) 475-2222.

About a 90-minute drive east of Reno, the Indian Lakes Off-Range Corral is located at 5676 Indian Lakes Road, Fallon, and is privately owned and operated. Tour attendees will be taken around the facility as a group on a wagon to learn about the facility, the animals, and BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. The new water sprinkler system will be in operation during the tour. The system includes 25 high-powered sprinklers that have the ability to provide cooling and dust abatement for most of the facility. The sprinklers are supplied by a commercial well that has the ability to pump approximately 700 gallons of water per minute.

The Indian Lakes facility can provide care for up to 3,200 wild horses or burros. The facility encompasses 320 acres containing 43 large holding pens, each pen measuring 70,000 square feet that will safely hold about 100 horses. The horses receive an abundance of feed tailored to their needs each day, along with a constant supply of fresh water through automatic watering troughs. Free choice mineral block supplements are also provided to the animals in each pen. A veterinarian routinely inspects the horses and provides necessary medical care as needed.

BLM strives to place horses that have been removed from the range into good, private homes. Horses at the Indian Lakes facility are made available to the public for adoption or sale throughout the year at off-site adoption events and through BLM’s Adoption or Sales Program. For more information visit: on.doi.gov/1Lkz8DD.

Visit on.doi.gov/1KUorJq to learn more about the Indian Lakes Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corral and the scheduled public tours.

BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs urges roundup of 4,000 wild horses in Elko county this summer

BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs crawls into bed with welfare ranchers and Nevada Gov. Sandoval by urging this massive roundup of wild horses in Nevada.

635792205939979811-Ruhs-Photo     BLM Nevada Dir. John Ruhs

Source:  krqe.com

In this June 5, 2013 photo, some of the hundreds of mustangs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management removed from federal rangeland peer at visitors at the BLM's Palomino Valley holding facility about 20 miles north of Reno in Palomino Valley, Nev. The Cloud Foundation and Friends of Animas are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to declare wild horses threatened or endangered in North America under the Endangered Species Act. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

In this June 5, 2013 photo, some of the hundreds of mustangs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management removed from federal rangeland peer at visitors at the BLM’s Palomino Valley holding facility about 20 miles north of Reno in Palomino Valley, Nev.                (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

US agency’s Nevada boss urges roundup of 4,000 mustangs

RENO, Nev. (AP) – The Bureau of Land Management’s Nevada director wants to round up 4,000 wild horses in Elko County this summer in response to the continued deterioration of drought-stricken rangeland.

That’s more mustangs than were gathered across 10 Western states combined last year.

BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs says it won’t be possible to consider lifting livestock grazing restrictions in the northeast corner of the state without removing the mustangs from four herd management areas.

He says the horse gathers also would benefit the greater sage grouse.

Conservationists say the call for more roundups is a misguided attempt to placate ranchers at the expense of horses and grouse. They say cattle do far more damage than mustangs to the parched range and the imperiled bird.

 

Mixed reaction to Sandoval threat to sue BLM over wild horses

By JIM MYERS – as published on the Las Vegas Review Journal

“The Propaganda War Against Wild Horses and  Burros Continues…”

BLM Antelope attack in 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM Antelope, NV attack in 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

WASHINGTON — Gov. Brian Sandoval’s threat to pursue legal options to boost federal funding for managing wild horse populations drew mixed reaction from Nevada’s congressional delegation Wednesday.

Reps. Mark Amodei and Joe Heck expressed support Tuesday for the strategy laid out so far by their fellow Republican.

“If you have a guy like Brian Sandoval (angry) at you, you have really hit rock bottom,” Amodei said, noting the governor’s reputation for being an “even-keeled, thoughtful” state leader.

He said Sandoval’s strategy was a “big, big message” to the Bureau of Land Management in Washington, making it clear he was not including the agency’s representatives in Nevada in the same negative view.

Amodei credited the Nevada BLM officials for trying to deal with livestock producers honestly and blamed the Washington office for not heeding their requests.

Heck favors ensuring sustainable herd levels and maintaining access to grazing lands for local ranchers and farmers while requiring the federal government to meet its obligation to fund the efforts, an aide said.

Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy said the federal government, as the largest landlord in Nevada, has a responsibility to provide stewardship of the public lands it controls.

“Unfortunately, the BLM has not lived up to its end of the bargain by failing to manage Nevada’s wild horse populations,” Hardy said. “Instead of stepping up to the plate and addressing the problem, the federal government is planning to rob hard-working Nevadans of their livelihoods as our sensitive habitats continue to get destroyed.”

Republican Sen. Dean Heller said it is BLM’s job to determine whether the range conditions can support wild horse populations.

“It’s not fair for local ranchers to be penalized because BLM isn’t carrying out the law,” Heller said. “While more resources are necessary, the problem is larger than that. The agency has no comprehensive strategy for wild horse management.”

A spokeswoman for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Democrats support additional funds for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program and are not standing in the way of providing adequate funding.

“That’s Republicans,” she said.

Democratic Rep. Dina Titus did not comment.

The Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, Nevada Farm Bureau Federation and Nevada Association of Counties welcomed Sandoval’s announcement.

“Wild horse populations in Nevada have skyrocketed to levels unsustainable for the ecology of Nevada’s rangelands and are also impacting sage grouse habitat, horse health and the livelihood of Nevada’s ranching operations, many of which have been in operation for generations,” the groups stated in a statement.

“In response to this situation, the BLM has indicated that there will potentially be further grazing reductions in Elko County.”

Jeff Fontaine, executive director of the Nevada Association of Counties, said horse overpopulation affects not only livestock producers and wildlife habitats, but also local communities and county services.

“Damage from wild horses just in southeast Elko County alone could result in an economic loss of $1.8 million,” Fontaine said.

Welfare Ranchers Forced to Scale Back in Elko County NV

Featured in the Elko County Free Press

“Sorry but I live in an agricultural community surrounded by cattle, horses and donkeys and not once have I heard any of them do the whining and hand wringing that the welfare ranchers on OUR public lands do over what they feel is their “entitlement”.  I just don’t have one ounce of sympathy in my soul for them.  Here in Texas we buy, fence, manage and pay taxes on our grazing land and we do NOT take handouts from the government.  Out on our public lands the welfare cattle ravage the range, destroy the watering holes and out number the wild equines 100 to 1.  The numbers in the article, below, are skewed and it is a big bunch of welfare propaganda but it does do my heart good to see the government leeches stress over their free ride.  Sorry, again, but it’s about time that subsidized grazing cease upon a national, natural keepsake, our public lands.” ~ R.T.

“Let the Whining Begin…”

Privately owned welfare cattle being herded onto public land and wild horse habitat  during the Antelope Valley roundup of 2011~  photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Privately owned welfare cattle being herded onto public land and wild horse habitat during the Antelope Valley roundup of 2011~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

ELKO – Cattle grazing will likely be reduced on allotments south of Wells this summer because of an overpopulation of wild horses.

Elko County Commissioner Rex Steninger said he was told by Nevada State Director John Ruhs that the BLM planned to closed several of the allotments.

“Director Ruhs said his agency would be sending letters out Monday notifying the permittees that they needed to schedule meetings with their BLM representatives,” Steninger said.

The Elko BLM office confirmed Monday that letters were being sent to 10 permittees regarding 14 allotments.

The letters are about “starting a conversation regarding utilization objectives on allotments, specifically in areas that are affected by excess wild horse use,” said Greg Deimel, BLM public information officer.

The allotments are located in four herd management areas: Antelope Valley, Maverick-Medicine, Goshute, and Spruce-Pequop.

Elko County Commissioner Demar Dahl said Tim Smith of the state BLM office told him most of the allotments would be completely closed to grazing, but a few of them could be left open with 50 percent reductions in grazing levels.

Deimel said the BLM negotiated last year with ranchers in the area and they agreed to voluntarily reduce grazing by 10,000 AUMs (animal unit months), or about half their normal level.

Grazing conditions are expected to be better this year because of greater precipitation. Deimel said the BLM wants to meet with permittees on the ground in each allotment to evaluate range conditions.

He said there are no current applications in progress for horse gathers in that part of the state.

According to Steninger, Ruhs has submitted requests for horse gathers to ease the problems, but even if those requests were approved, it would be too late for this grazing season. The earliest a horse gather could be organized now would be this fall, he said.

“This is going to be really tough news for the affected ranchers,” Steninger said. “Everyone is already getting ready to turn their cows out on these grazing allotments and to announce the closures now leaves no time to find alternatives.”

Deimel said the agency would be discussing options with ranchers such as using alternative pastures.

He said the has BLM gathered 1,750 horses in the region since 2011 and it is still overpopulated by “thousands” of horses. Getting the numbers down to the minimum authorized level would involve removing approximately 1,000 horses from each of the four herd management areas, he said.

Other permittees might be affected beyond the current allotments now being evaluated, according to Deimel.

“They had to have known what the horse numbers were for months,” said Steninger. “I don’t understand why they waited until now to make the announcement.”

“I’ve worked with Director Ruhs before and he has proven to be a good man. He was very helpful during the disputes over the closed allotments in Lander County. He was a welcome relief over his predecessor,” Steninger added. “I suspect he is following orders from above. This doesn’t sound like something he would do.”

Julie Gleason, a member of the local Resource Advisory Council to the BLM, said the planned closures were news to her.

“We just met with the director last month and nothing was said then,” Gleason said in a press release.

“The only solution is to remove horses from the ranges,” she said, “but every time we get something going, the environmentalists stop us.”

“It is an absolute disgrace that the misguided whims of environmentalists are given precedence over the livelihoods of our ranching families,” Steninger said.

The BLM has had little success at controlling wild horse populations. The most common method has been to round up horses and burros exceeding the congressionally authorized limit of 26,715. Yet, there are now more than 58,000 still on the ranges, according to BLM estimates.

Deimel said their numbers “double every few years.”

BLM claims wild burro population increased 64% in 1 year. Baloney!

 

blue-wing-allotment

Be sure to ask the BLM to reduce (or eliminate) livestock grazing in the Blue Wing/Kamma Wild Horse and Burro Complex

Scoping comments due April 7, 2016. This public comment is for scoping which means it is our chance to tell the BLM what we want in the upcoming Environmental Assessment (EA) to remove wild burros from the NW-Nevada Blue Wing/Kamma Wild Horse and Burro Complex (6 HMAs).

By looking at the BLM’s herd stats, the BLM is claiming that between (March) 2013 and 2014 the burros increased by 54% and between (March) 2014 and 2015 they increased 64%.  Independent research has shown us that wild burro populations increase at only about 5% annually so ask BLM to prove their baloney – they can’t.

Here are some ideas of things you can ask the BLM to include in their upcoming EA:

  • All vegetative data for the past 10 years – photos and reports.
  • Maps that show locations of wild horses and burros at the time of their last aerial census AND all photos and data sheets and reports for those census reports that scientifically support their census numbers.
  • Scientifically defensible verification that these wild horses multiply by 20% each year and burros 13% as BLM has stated.
  • Maps showing ALL fences (perimeter and interior) on the HMAs and how these fences impact intermingling of the wild horses and burros to allow for genetic viability.  Note* these 7 small HMAs are connected by legal herd areas (HAs) that have been zeroed out which causes these WH&B to now be in small isolated and below genetic viability “islands”.
  • Scientifically defensible data that show that any previous wild horse/burro capture/removals have SOLELY been responsible for any range improvement (forage/water).
  • All data on ALL livestock on all of these (seven) HMA’s – including dates in and dates out, the number of acres, the number of AUM’s and the number of animals (cattle/sheep).
  • If any WH&B have been trapped in these HMAs in the past 5 years and how many and when.
  • If there has been sex ratio skewing or any type of fertility control given to these animals in the past 5 years.
  • Be sure to ask the BLM to reduce or eliminate livestock grazing in the Blue Wing/Kamma Wild Horse and Burro Complex

Email your scoping letter to Attn: Samantha Gooch, Project Lead, at:

BLM_NV_Blue_Wing_Complex_EA@blm.gov by April 7, 2016 to be considered in the development of the EA.