The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

~ Welcome to TMP ~

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 15, 2010

Welcome Y’all! We’re so glad you stopped by! Please feel free to browse all of our pages & soak up the info! This blog page functions more like a typical website, with tabs at the top for the different pages. There are a ton of great documents posted here containing information about the American Wild Mustang & his plight. *If you are new to TMP, please take a moment to read our page “What this blog is all about…”. If you have any questions – any at all – please feel free to post them! The TMP Team will be happy to answer for you, and remember: there are no stupid questions! Thanks! The TMP Team

 

All documents previously posted in this section but no longer posted here have been moved to the TMP’s Blog Pages “Documents & Evidence” or “Quotes and Proverbs”. In the meantime, if there are any links that do not work, please let us know ASAP so we can fix ‘em. Thanks! The TMP Team

Quick Message from the TMP TeamEveryone, please remember that TMP is not now – nor has it ever been – run, operated, or affiliated with the BLM, WH&B Program, or the FWS. Any & all comments that are directed @ these agencies need to be sent to those agencies directly as they will not receive them from TMP. TMP is a place for open views & open discussions, as well as a place for information distribution. You are welcome to post any comments directed at any of these agencies on TMP as a “vent” or rant b/c let’s face it, we all need to do that sometimes. Just please remember that you also need to send them directly to those agencies as we cannot do so for you. Thank you, The TMP Team

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Posted in Daily Posts | 7 Comments »

Mighty Mouse has gone to be with his India…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on January 22, 2018

Please forgive my tardiness in posting this. It has been such a chaotic and stressful last 5 months, but if I am really honest, I think that by posting it here to all of you who loved Mouse as I did, it makes it really real.
Mighty Mouse the Mustang passed from this world on August 31st, 2017, due to complications and stress from the flooding of Hurricane Harvey. He was in a temporary stall after being evacuated due to rising flood waters. He was surrounded by loved ones and was euthanized to end his suffering.
Below is an account of the events leading up to and including his passing. I warn you ahead of time, it is long, a little rambling at times, and was largely written for my own therapeutic purposes, but you are welcome to read. ~TL

On August 25th, 2017, we received notice from the National Weather Service that Hurricane Harvey was likely going to make landfall, return to the Gulf, and then make landfall again on top of us here in Southeast Texas / Southwest Louisiana. We were already on what we call the “dirty side” of Harvey (the East / Northeast side). We had already started to see some winds and rain, but what got to Mouse so much was the thunder and lightning. The only good news we were getting at the time was that when Harvey did make landfall again on top of us, it would likely only be a tropical storm.
Tropical storms we could handle. Heck, we survived Rita and Ike as direct hits. Surely this would only be some rain, some wind, little of this, little of that. Heck, we probably wouldn’t even cancel school or miss work. Weather like this is old hat to us.
Boy were we wrong!
Starting late in the night on August 25th into the early morning of August 26th, the storms starting getting a little intense. Still, they weren’t anything we couldn’t handle. Our barn has a “winter side” that is a 24′ by 13′ run in shelter closed in on three sides, and also has a “summer side” which is a 36′ by 13′ run in shelter open on all but one side. Mouse and his buddies, Rowan (lead mare) and Pax (submissive gelding), had plenty of water, fresh hay, and feed. I had worked the week before clearing out all of the drainage to keep the standing water away. All was well… except Mouse.
You all know the beginnings that Mouse had with BLM & WH&B. His negative memory markers were something that I worked on since the day we met at the adoption. For the most part, Mouse did really well with just about everything. One of the main things he never got over, and had the worst reactions to, were very loud noises like gunfire, loud metal clangs and bangs, and heavy/continuous thunder and lightning.
He seemed to do ok for short, little storms. Mind you, he wasn’t happy about it at all, but would hide in his stall, and would only very rarely tremble. But Harvey didn’t let up.
We had 6 straight days of rain, thunder, lightning, and increasingly stronger winds.
Even though it was August on the Texas Gulf Coast, temperatures dropped to the high-60s to mid-70s where we live. Add to that the winds and rain and there was a bit of a chill in the air. The morning of August 27th, I went to the barn to check on everyone, feed, survey any damage, etc. and was shocked to see Mouse in full blown tremors.
He was only slightly wet on top of his back, not even close to being soaked or anything like that, and yet he was shivering uncontrollably. Further shocking to me was the amount of weight I noticed he had dropped in just a few days… the belly tape said he had lost 75 pounds since I had last checked him a week prior to the storm.
Now, I know not to trust a belly tape for much other than a good guess at weight, but looking at my guy standing there, I absolutely believed that he had dropped that much. Mouse has always been what I call a very “weight reactive” horse. His weight fluctuated more than any other horse I have ever owned or even known in my life to the slightest stresses. I have tried every manner of tips and tricks over the years to stabilize his weight, but between me and my vets, we all finally just agreed that he was a “hard keeper”. I was ok with that, and made adjustments as needed to maintain his weight due to stresses of life in general (new surroundings, construction, seasonal changes, etc.) just as I adjusted to many other idiosyncrasies and quirks that made Mouse, well, Mouse. I know some people don’t believe this because they have never seen it happen, but I have seen it happen in Mouse a few times and it is truly astonishing.
I have seen Mouse drop 30-40 pounds in a matter of 6 hours.
A prime example was when I left our place to take India to the vet for the last time. We were gone for about 10 hours. Mouse had an outright toddler-style fit when I loaded her onto the trailer and he couldn’t come with, and continued to throw a tantrum when we left. When I returned that evening with an empty trailer, Mouse had already dropped 45 pounds. He dropped another 25 pounds over the following night and day, but (thank God!) rebounded pretty quickly thanks to having Moon there with him for comfort. My kiddo was not happy about all the poo he had to clean up, and Mouse’s backside was raw for a few days from the diarrhea.
During this current situation, when I checked on them last around 10pm the night before, he was a little jumpy, but otherwise was ok. Then, in the early morning hours through to daylight, a huge thunderstorm hit. Hard rain, very loud thunder, and very frequent cloud-to-ground lightning along with 20mph plus wind gusts rocked on for about 5 hours.
This “weight reactive” response he had before is the only conclusion I can come to for the drastic weight drop in such a short period of time. I am still carrying a lot of guilt for not noticing sooner that he wasn’t faring as well as I thought, and I will have to deal with that in my own time and my own way. I just truly did not think he was doing that bad when I left him the night before. I mean, yes, of course, he had dropped a little bit of weight in anticipation of the storm, but I had added to his feed rations and thought that he would pull through like he always did in the past.
What I didn’t anticipate was the severity of the storm, nor did I realize how it would affect him now that he was getting a little older. All the vets that have ever seen Mouse have said the same thing: “Well, by his teeth and paperwork, he is “this age” in years (whatever age he was at the time of their visit). But, by his physical body, he is about twice that.” Thank God I keep good medical records with pictures on all the horses; I don’t know if any of the later vets would have believed I hadn’t been a horrible owner to Mouse.
The first proper veterinary check up that Mouse had after I adopted him was by a very well respected vet from Texas A&M, Dr. Hall. He explained to me then that Mouse’s histology and body condition showed a history of up and down weight, ranging from “outright neglect to somewhat normal body condition” multiple times over his 4 years of life at the time. I later found out from a BLM WH&B wrangler where Mouse was born that his mother gave birth to him prematurely after a great deal of stress. (Not gonna go into that right now, would only make me and all of you angry.)
When I let Dr. Hall know about this, he said, “Adding this information to what we already know from his blood work and exams, I want you to be prepared that this horse is not going to live to a ripe old age. You will be lucky if he makes 15.”
Well, he made it to 12 years old.
When I realized how badly Mouse was responding to the storm, I did a quick head to tail assessment and vital signs. His vitals were erratic, his temp was a little low compared to his normal “runs a little warm”, and he was still shivering. His backside already had a few raw spots from the diarrhea, so I addressed those, then got his lightweight blanket out. He had never looked at me with so much eagerness before as he did then when it comes to putting on his blanket. After 45 minutes or so, the shivering had subsided almost completely and his temp was back to his normal, and in general, he seemed to be a happy little guy. Then, the sky opened up again and dropped more hell on us.
The fear-based trembling and wide eyes came back with a vengeance.
I stayed at the barn with him most of that day, trying to calm him down, but also making sure he didn’t hurt himself or anyone else. That storm just wouldn’t quit. By the mid-afternoon, I really needed to get back to the house to handle other storm preparations. Thankfully, he was better than he had been earlier, and the storm seemed to be letting up at least a little. I left him to go take care of business. Later than night when I returned around 10pm, he wasn’t nearly as bad as he had been and I thought, oh, ok, well this is good, he’s going to be ok. I left his lightweight blanket on because the go-to-hell look he shot me when I started to take it off was pretty vicious, but mainly because of the winds and rains.
The following morning, August 28th, I checked on everyone around 7am. The storms had been pretty bad the night before again, but he seemed to be ok, a little worse for the wear, but still fair to Midland as we say around here. He had left me quite a few more, er, surprises, and his backside was a little more raw, so I addressed them and added to his rations. I left the barn around 11:30am with him still fair to Midland.
Keep in mind, all the while leading up to Harvey, we had been told by our local officials that all would be well where we live because of the low water levels in our surrounding bayous, rivers, creeks, and tributaries for the previous 2-3 months, and in fact, our main bayou closest to our house was “going to hold just fine” because it was at the lowest level it had been at all year: 7 feet, where it is normally around 20 feet plus or minus a few. So while we had preparations in place and rations for everyone in stockpile, we had no inclination that we would need to evacuate at all.
August 28th, 12:35pm: not a knock, but BANG, BANG, BANG on the front door, “Sheriff’s Office!”
Lord have mercy! All of the dogs went batshit crazy barking and growling, we all just about jumped out of our skins, holy moly! Goodness gracious!
My husband went to the door, slid in between the barely-open door and the door jam so the dogs didn’t get out, and spoke with the Sheriff’s Deputy. Even though we had been told all the way up until that morning on our local news morning show that everything was “going to hold”, now all of the sudden: “We have issued a mandatory evacuation. You have until 6pm this evening to get out. The water is already flooding homes and properties on the West side of the neighborhood. Please, do not stay. Get your family and whatever you can carry and GET OUT.”
Well! Ain’t that a peach! I have myself, my son, my husband, 5 dogs and 3 horses to evacuate in 5 and a half hours, not to mention my disabled father- and mother-in-law WHO LIVE ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
Ok. Time to rally. So, I rally.
I get on the phone and get a buddy on the way with a trailer as mine was already flooded in at my sister’s house (another area that was also “going to hold”). I send my husband and my son to the in-laws to get them out. I make a plan for pretty much everything to get this done as quickly and efficiently as possible. I’m thinking, heh, this is gonna be ok, not too big of a deal.
Boy, was I dead wrong!
Nothing could have prepared me for the amount of water that had flooded in from the West of our neighborhood in the one hour since I had driven by there on the way back from the barn – which went from NO water on the roads or in the yards to 3-4 feet! And it was still rising fast!
Before I could drive the 4 blocks to my barn, I was redirected by my son and our Fire Department. One of my in-laws’ neighbors (also one of my clients) had left his 6 year old thoroughbred gelding and two miniature mares in the pasture. He had left to take his mom and younger siblings to a relative’s house so that everyone could be together to ride out the storm. He was going to come back home to take care of things there, but was stuck in evacuation traffic. The water had risen so high and so fast the mini mares were holding their little muzzles up out of the water to keep breathing. The gelding (who only became a gelding a month and a half prior and therefore still thought he was Mr. Studmuffin) was trying to herd the mares and wouldn’t allow my son and the firefighters to catch anyone.
Ok. Rescue hat on. Just a sidebar. No biggie.
Got everyone situated without too many issues, a few, but not too many. I am rallying. I got dis.
NOT.
The owner doesn’t have an evacuation plan at all. He also doesn’t know how long it will be before he can get there.
After a facepalm and a few choice words, I finally told him to get his ass in gear and get his shit together because, after all, he wasn’t the only one needing to evacuate.
I left my son with the horses to ensure their safety until the owner could get there, my husband had finished with his parents so he went back to our house to continue our own evacuation, and I went on to my barn to get our horses out.
Whew!
Mouse was still fair to Midland, I doctored his backside once more before we left for good measure, and we were off to high ground about 30 minutes North. (In hindsight, this was not the best place to evacuate the horses.) We loaded everyone into the trailer, Mouse last as was his custom. I followed in my truck behind them just to be sure everything went ok, and we were off for a very uneventful and short trip.
No one stumbled. No one kicked. No one fell. It was actually the calmest I had ever seen them to be in a trailer.
We arrived at my friend’s barn where 3 very nice and big stalls were waiting. I untied Mouse and opened the trailer gate and, as was his custom, turned him around to walk out of the trailer.
This was when we noticed the first problem: Mouse stumbled, staggered, and couldn’t get his bearings.
I was actually almost grateful for the weight loss he’d had because the next thing I knew, I was holding him up at his shoulders to keep him standing. Almost his full weight leaning on me, his hind quarters swaying and threatening to completely crumble any second, digging in my heels to brace him up best I could, my mind ran through every second of that trailer ride and the few days prior. There was no evidence of physical trauma to his body. There was nothing other than the weight loss and the stress, which was significant – yes – but nothing he hadn’t done and been ok with before. When he stumbled the way he did, I think I half-expected to see blood running down his legs or off of his head, or a large hematoma, or something – anything – that would be cause for his lack of coordination that I just hadn’t seen initially due to the dark cloudiness of the sky.
Nope. Nothing. Nada.
I got him steadied best I could, and my friend who had been untying Pax to get him out next came back to the back of the trailer. He was stunned at the sight of us, as was I frankly, and asked what he should do. I told him to just hold up, not wanting to spook Mouse by an unfamiliar person (especially a man) walking into his space. I felt Mouse begin to stand more on his own than leaning on me. We gave him a few more minutes, and then, like nothing had happened, he just started to walk off.
Huh?
Ummmmmm…. Ok.
So, not wanting to break his rhythm, I led him to his stall. He never once stumbled, tripped, or missed a single step over the 150 yards to the stall.
I was a little dumbfounded, but I still had Rowan and Pax to get unloaded and situated along with all of their feed and supplies, so I gave him one last look to be sure and returned to the trailer. He was fine, munching on hay and checking things out.
Again, ooooooooook.
Got everyone and everything unloaded and situated. Fed, watered, and put out hay while keeping an eye on Mouse as I took care of business from outside the stall. All the while, he looked fine… from outside the stall. The rain, thunder and wind had picked up again. When I went into the stall, I realized that he was trembling under his lightweight blanket again. I quickly did another assessment. Vitals were stable but a little wonky, temp wasn’t low per se, but it wasn’t his normal either. I calmed him as best I could, and it seemed to work a little, but the storm was just getting started.
I wanted to stay longer and do what I could to help him feel better, but I still had to get the rest of my family and furbabies evacuated. I decided to leave his blanket on. I left instructions to my friend to remove it only if the weather got too warm. It seemed to be doing a good job on its own making him feel a little more secure and, another one of those go-to-hell looks when I thought I would take it off made it pretty clear he wanted it to stay on. I am also a firm believer in the effects of “hugging therapy” where Mouse was concerned as it had always been a go-to for him in these situations.
I left with a million things running through my mind but no time to think about any of them. I was worried about Mouse, but I had to trust that he would be ok or I would have lost my mind completely. I made it home, got everyone else and everything we could loaded into our trucks. We didn’t make the 6pm deadline, but because we both have trucks and mine is 4 wheel drive, and because our Fire Chief is a good friend, we were allowed to stay until the final call around 9pm.
The water had risen so high that the 5 lane highway our neighborhood is off of had to be shut down. The bottom door seal of my truck sits at 26 inches from the ground; the water was a little higher than that on my doors driving out in the center turning lane – the highest lane on the highway. The storm was still dropping rain on us, and none of the bayous, creeks, or rivers North of us had crested yet. When it was all said and done, the National Weather Service said that our specific area got 64.5 inches of rain in 6 days.
I absolutely believe it.
Initially, we were going to my aunt’s place about 45 minutes to an hour North of where Mouse was, but due to several leaks in the roof through to the ceiling, we weren’t able to stay there and ended up 2 hours North of Mouse. I wasn’t all that thrilled about being an hour away from my horses to begin with, so 2 hours was really making me nervous. However, we were so tired at 3am when we finally found a hotel room that would take us and the dogs that I pretty much just passed out from exhaustion. My plan was too get some sleep and then go back South to the barn come morning to check on Mouse.
That didn’t happen.
I have lived here all of my life and I have never seen the water completely over the highway in between him and where we were. I have seen it come close, and I have seen it get over certain low spots, but never completely over where it was impassable – especially not in my truck.
Well, I have now.
August 29th: Not only was the main highway South – a major highway, by the way – closed due to flooding, but every back road and short cut I know in East Texas was flooded, and that’s a lot. There was no way to get through. I tried to call in favors and get a taller truck, even a boat at one point, but all to no avail. It just wasn’t going to happen.
I finally gave in and called my friend. He said not to worry, everyone was fine. Mouse still had his blanket on because the temp had fallen a few more degrees and the storms were still pretty bad. He still had some diarrhea, but wasn’t trembling as bad as he had been. I breathed a huge sigh of relief at those words, but I still felt like the worst person in the world because I couldn’t get to him. Defeated, I decided to wait until the following day to see how things went with the flood waters.
August 30th: Still no passable route. Friend says everyone is still the same.
August 31st: Still no passable route, but I got a call from my friend that morning that wasn’t ok.
Mouse had gone down in his stall late the night before. Still wearing his blanket, he had gotten caught up in the straps (which were custom fitted very well and it was the same blanket he had worn for 4 years without incident). They cut the blanket off and let him rest for a bit, but Mouse couldn’t get up. They let him rest for a while longer, gave him some water, and wiped him down. After a bit, he was able to get up on his own.
Ok…. Trying like hell not to panic, then my heart fell to the floor.
That morning, Mouse went down in his stall again. He was thrashing, couldn’t get up, and had been down for hours. “It doesn’t look like he’s going to make it.” He wanted to know if I wanted him to euthanize Mouse.
Those last words sent me into orbit.
My whole world went black. I dropped my phone. I screamed. I cried. My whole body was shaking. How could this be real?! What the hell is going on?! What happened?! He said everyone was fine! Why didn’t he call me last night???!!! I picked up my phone. I told my friend, “One way or another, I will be there today! Don’t do ANYTHING other than supportive care until I get there!”
I had no idea how I was going to get through, but if I had to swim, I was going to make it to Mouse. My husband and I left immediately heading South in my truck. We made it all the way through to the last creek before the “island” where Mouse was, literally within 5 miles of him. It was not flooded, but the guys from TxDOT were concerned that the double bridges 4 lanes wide were not structurally sound enough to drive across.
Ok. Plan B.
I called a friend who was in the local fire department and requested a boat to cross. After I explained the situation, he said it would be a few minutes but would be there. I called my friend at the barn and asked if he could make it out to the bridges. Thankfully, he could and would pick me up on the other side. I was leaving my truck with my husband so that if/when the bridges opened, he could drive my truck and join me at the barn.(We were given the impression that they would open soon, but when I pressed the guy, he said “just not sure how soon and it’ll likely be a few hours if you wanna know the truth”).
After about 20 minutes and all of this coordinating, I was walking towards the side of the highway that was doubling as a boat ramp to wait on my friend with the boat, and the TxDOT guy says, “You might wanna wait on that. About 5 minutes from now, you’ll be able to drive across.”
WHAT?! SERIOUSLY!?
GRRRRRRR!!!! Whew, ok, calm down, ok. Fine. I call my friends back and cancel the ferry ride across.
30 minutes later, I arrived at the barn.
All of my anger and frustration at the TxDOT guys vanished. My heart sank even further than it had before when I saw him. He was down in the stall, and had thrashed the ground with his hooves to the point that there were deep, curved lines in the dirt. He recognized my voice when I called to him from about 25 feet away, lifted his head, and had the saddest look on his face that I’d ever seen.
I had called my vet on the way South to get him en route. He had already called back once to say he had to find another route due to the flooding. I called two more vets in the meantime just in case but neither of them could get through either.
I did a quick assessment while we waited either on my vet to drive up or another phone call. Mouse’s vitals were all over the place from one minute to the next. His temp was way elevated, even for him. His nostrils were red and flaring, his gums pale with sluggish capillary refill. His pupils were sluggish, and he was showing his third eyelid at half moon. His back legs were cold to the touch and no longer thrashed, his front legs hot to the touch and thrashing every other minute or so.
How could so much go so wrong so fast?!
The phone rang. My vet had tried two separate routes after he was first turned back, neither of which was passable from where he was. He was so apologetic, I felt so bad for him. He wanted so desperately to make it to Mouse, he just couldn’t. I told him I understood. I hung up and called 8 more vets. No one could make it to us from where they were.
We were on our own.
We spent the entire day into the evening trying to get him up, trying to keep fluids in him, trying to massage his back legs. I called Paramedic friends to see if I could get some supplies to get some fluids into him via an IV. No one could get to us.
We had made it to the “island” from the North but now, everyone and everything we needed was South of us.
After exhausting every option we could think of, all to no avail, I finally performed the final test. I tested Mouse’s reflexes; first with light physical stimuli, gradually increasing pressure, then finally with painful stimuli. He didn’t respond to any of them in his hind quarters, his flank, his barrel, or his withers.
His third eyelids were a little past half moon by then. His breathing had slowed some. His front legs only thrashed every once in a while. His vitals were circling the drain.
I lost it. Completely, totally, and utterly lost it. I had to leave the stall and the barn. My husband did his best to comfort me; friends and family who were calling to check on Mouse did the same. I finally gave my phone to my husband and went to be alone with Mouse.
I told him how much I loved him, how he was such an awesome boy, and how much I appreciated him. We spent the better part of an hour together alone on the floor of the stall. He had begun to slow down, coming towards the end after about 25 minutes. I told him it was ok, that he would be with India again. When I said her name, he almost seemed to look around for her. I dunno, maybe wishful thinking on my part.
Through tears I was trying to hide, I said my final goodbye to my buddy, my Mighty Mouse, the Mustang.
The little guy who sure did think he was mighty but was no bigger than a mouse is Mighty once again.

Mouse will forever be a part of my heart and memories. I am beyond grateful for the time that  I was allowed to be his mom. I will always remember laughing almost uncontrollably sometimes at his crazy antics. I will forever treasure the lessons that he taught me.

Posted in Daily Posts, Mighty Mouse the Mustang | 3 Comments »

To Clear Up Any Confusion, We Are NOT Affiliated With The “Mustang Project” in This Story…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on August 5, 2017

TO CLEAR UP ANY CONFUSION: This is NOT the #TexasMustangProject. Our blog/website page’s inbox has been flooded with messages from folks thinking the “Mustang Project” involved in this situation either is us directly or is affiliated with us in some way. We have *NO* affiliation with their group and never have had any affiliation with them. This situation is a horrible one indeed, and we do hope and pray for the best possible outcome for this horse with justice for the person(s) responsible for her suffering.
But to reiterate, this is not us, we are not affiliated with them, and never have been.
Thank you all, and stay safe!
*TL*

Posted in Daily Posts | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

It is with a heavy and broken heart that I bring this sorrowful news to everyone today…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on January 31, 2013

It is with a heavy and broken heart that I bring this sorrowful news to everyone today…

India's 1st Bridleless Lesson Nov 25, 2008

India’s 1st Bridleless Lesson Nov 25, 2008

India, our buckskin mare of 11 years and Mighty Mouse’s “girlfriend”, left this world on January 15, 2013 after a month long battle with an infection to her superior tendon sheath stemming from a laceration to her right hind fetlock. She was 19 years old.

India’s amber colored eyes and beautiful conformation were only the outer layer of her true beauty: her heart, which she gave wholly to every task she was asked to perform. Her duty and service to me and my family will forever be a treasure that we keep in our hearts.

I would like to let everyone know that Mighty Mouse is coping with the loss of his friend very well. He grieved only for a few days, pulling off of his feed only slightly. We were able to offset the grieving process by introducing a new mare to our little family just a few weeks before India’s passing. We didn’t know at the time how beneficial the new addition would be later as we were still hopeful that India would be able to beat the infection.

MM still looks to the trailer each time I hook it up to my truck to see if India will be stepping out of it, but the disappointment seems to subside more quickly each time. My biggest fear was that he would grieve himself again to a dangerously low weight as he did a few years back after losing a stable mate. However, our new addition of “Blue Moon” has worked out in the end to help MM out quite a bit. (I will post later to introduce “Moon” to everyone.)

I would also like to thank everyone in our immediate family and friends for their respect of our privacy and grieving during this difficult time. This would not have been as light a burden to bear without their support and love.

As always, stay safe.

T.

Posted in Daily Posts | 3 Comments »

I-Team / Pickens Horse Sanctuary

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on April 14, 2012

George Knapp is digging into the delays (obstructions) that Madeleine Pickens is facing regarding her Elko County horse eco-sanctuary.  It appears to be the same old issue involving the “good ole boys” holding Nevada tourism hostage.  Y’all might remember Director of Agriculture Jim Barbee’s recent “Livestock trumps horses” message that was quickly rebutted with “Tourism trumps livestock” in the local papers.  And so the games continue.

The incongruity here is that while the tourism industry isn’t trying to put livestock operators out of work, there is evidence that Nevada’s livestock lobby and it’s all-or-nothing positions are putting people in the tourism industry on the unemployment rolls.

Here’s a link to the I-Team report.  Intelligent reader comments may be helpful.

http://www.8newsnow.com/story/17337110/i-team-horse-sanctuary-faces-lengthy-delays

Interestingly enough I recently had a former cattleman tell me that he got out of the business because “You can’t make a living when your industry’s claim to fame is 200 years of tradition unmarked by progress.”  Maybe the folks in our ranching sector, an historic element of Nevada that does belong here, should join us in the 21st Century.  After all there is room in this state for everybody so long as we all play nice.

“:O) Willis

Posted in Daily Posts | 1 Comment »

New Research: Cattle vs. Wildlife

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on February 22, 2012

PLEASE CROSS POST WHERE APPROPRIATE.

Hey, everyone, check this out. It’s the result of Princeton’s recent research into cattle vs. wildlife. They determined that in a properly managed habitat, the presence of equines can actually improve livestock production. While the article is geared towards food production, it presents an argument that Craig Downer and Mineral County Commissioner Jerrie Tipton have been trying to get people to recognize for years – that in appropriate management models, equines can actually improve rangelands.
Sample findings:
Cattle paired with donkeys gained 60 percent more weight than cattle left to graze only with other cows. The conclusion was that the donkeys (used in the trials as they were more tame than zebras or horses) ate the rougher tops of the grasses, leaving the lusher, more digestible portions for the cattle. Furthermore, equines tend to remove the upper dead stem grass layer making lusher grasses more available to cattle.
It seems apparent that the models studied involved animal populations that were kept within the capabilities of the resources available to support them. I would think that overgrazing would not produce the same results.
The study didn’t address the seeding benefits provided by equines but it’s definitely a start.  Here’s the report:
http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S32/93/41K10/index.xml?section=featured
Hopefully this study will encourage some broader based thinking with respect to range science – a departure from the “us versus them” standoff – and prompt more research into which models produce benefits for livestock, wildlife, equids, and the public.
Thanks to Carrol Abel for the heads up on this report.
“:O) Willis

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, USFS, Virginia Range | 8 Comments »

LRTC’s Horse Emergency Response Team

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on January 24, 2012

Following the Washoe Drive fire a few folks have asked about LRTC’s Horse Emergency Response Team. Although we missed our initial assignment due to traffic delays, our team was the one that Incident Command held in staging until after midnight (after the winds died down) since we carry a lot of specialized equipment.
I’m providing a link to an information sheet about the team. I would like to point out that this info sheet addresses just the “core” equipment supplied by the team. The team is often (gratefully) filled out by other competent volunteers and their trailers from Lyon County and occasionally from as far away as the Fish Springs Posse down in Douglas County. For example, Sheila Schwadel brought her trailer all the way up from Gardnerville and joined up with us at the staging area for the Washoe Drive fire.
We will be organizing and participating in some training this spring. Any folks interested in becoming more integrated into emergency evacuation and sheltering activities, and/or in providing support activities that help produce successful evacuation and sheltering operations, are welcome to attend.
Here’s a link to the info sheet: http://www.whmentors.org/men/hert1201.html
Thanks to everyone who supports these kinds of emergency activities.
“:O) Willis

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, Virginia Range | Leave a Comment »

“Keep Their Light Shining!”

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on December 13, 2011

Attention: All Wild Horse and Burro Friends!

Upon the 40th Anniversary of the Wild Free Roaming Horses & Burros Act Of 1971, please come to honor America’s Wild Horses & Burros & their rightful freedom. Be present in testimony against their current outrageous treatment and to demand much needed reform to reinstate Wild Horses & Burros in the wild where they have been largely and illegally replaced. It is important that we make an impressive showing so that the true intent of this noble act be restored, meaning larger, truly long term viable herds. Wild Horse Annie worked tirelessly to achieve this groundbreaking legal protection & it must not be ignored. We must learn to share freedom with such noble and freedom-deserving animals as these.

Date & Time of Epic Event: Thursday, December 15th, 2011. 4-7 pm

Place of Event: Meet at Comma Coffee House At 312 South Carson Street, Carson City, Nevada. This is right across the street (west side) from the Nevada State Legislature Building & Grounds and just south of the silver-domed capitol.

Schedule of Activities:

4-5 pm: Speech by Wild Horse Ecologist/Enthusiast Craig C. Downer, 4th Generation Nevadan, & Author of 2 books about Wild Horses & Burros, (one 4 years in writing), now being released. Speech will highlight the positive contributions by Wild Horses & Burros to the North American Ecosystem and proofs they are native to our continent, as well as expose official corruption in the program while outlining an intelligent solution to reforming this aspect of American Life – one so linked to its spirit and soul. Slide photos of the exquisite wild ones in their beautiful natural homes throughout Nevada and the West will also be shown & questions/comments entertained.

5-7 pm: Candlelight Vigil on sidewalk in front of the Nevada State Legislature. This will honor the true magnificence of Wild Horses & Burros living in freedom and signal the urgent need to restore the heart of the law – to restore the now largely empty legal areas with Wild Horses/Burros in the wild, on BLM and US Forest Service Lands with fair resources allowed for them by our public servants.

7 pm – on: Get Together For This Wishing. For more information contact Craig at 775-901-2094; ccdowner@yahoo.com; or Cat at om.sweethome@yahoo.com

Be there for our noble companions of the ages!

Posted in Daily Posts | Leave a Comment »

“Signs of Courage” Through the Eyes of a Future Veteran

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on November 10, 2011

I am very proud to share the following with you all. It was written by Timmy, the son of my partner while I was still “riding the box” as a Paramedic in EMS. Little Timmy was in the 6th Grade when he wrote this wonderful glimpse through the eyes of a child as to what Courage really means. As Timmy has grown up, his father, Firefighter and Retired Staff Sergeant Timothy Acord, Sapper, US Army has reason to be very proud, and that he is… Little Timmy is not so little anymore, no, and in fact is now Timothy Acord, E3, Private First Class, US Army. Timmy plans to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a Sapper as well.

Sappers Lead the Way!

It is with great pride and honor that we offer our undying gratitude to both of them and all Veterans. Your service and sacrifices will not be forgotten.  

Signs of Courage

by Timothy Levan Acord, 6th Grade, Groves Middle School, Groves, TX

“Signs of Courage” What does that mean? The dictionary says, “Courage is knowing the danger, difficulty and fear of the situation and having the willingness to overcome it.” To me, it is a person being real brave. To someone else, it might mean something different. I spoke to the men at the Groves Fire Department, who happen to face courage every day, and this is what they said:

I asked Mr. Jamie Johnston, “Do you think you have more courage than a person who doesn’t do the job you do?” He said, “No, because I feel I have a different kind of courage.”

I asked Doug Bledsoe, “How did you feel on 9/11?” He said, “Before 9/11, I was concerned about business, money and school. After that, my outlook changed and those things didn’t seem so important anymore.”

I asked Mr. Greg Dale, “What if you were in a burning building and a person you were trying to help had a broken bone?” He said, “First, get them outside to safety and then give the person to EMS.”

Mr. Jerry Boudreaux is a Captain that has worked for 34 years as a Fire Fighter. I asked him, “Have you had a bad dream?” And he said, “Yes, and it was a long time ago, and there was a burning building called the Black Cat, and I lost a boy in the burning building, and I had a bad dream about it.”

I asked Mr. Kelly Moore, “Have you ever wished you had picked another job?” He said, “No, because I like helping people.”

I asked Mr. Rodney Lewis, “Have you ever wished you had picked another job?” He said, “No, because I really enjoy what I do and I always enjoy helping people in their time of need.”

Through talking to these brave people who face this courage every day, I have learned that the word “courage” means a lot more than what the dictionary says, and what I thought courage meant. I learned that anyone who wakes up and goes to work every day,  day in and day out – be it a Teacher, Fire Fighter, Butcher, Paramedic, Banker, Housewife, or a Police Officer – we all face courage in our way every day.

My father has a sticker on his truck which says “POW-MIA All Gave Some, Some Gave All”. This means we all give what we can every day, but there are a few people that end up giving all as did those on 9/11.

And so I say to all of you, when you feel like you can’t go on, that life is too hard, remember these words: Courage is knowing the danger, difficulty and fear of the situation and having the willingness to overcome it. And thank God we live a country where we are able to choose how we live!

Posted in Daily Posts | 5 Comments »

Carson City Oct. 25th Rally Press Release

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 26, 2011


Carson City, NV October 25, 2011
At least 61 people from communities in six Nevada counties came to the rally on October 25th. The street in front of the Nevada State Legislature was constantly filled with the sounds of honking horns as motorists traveling through downtown “voiced” their support.
All the region’s television news crews were present including our Spanish language station. The print media was represented including the Associated Press.
The object of the rally was to focus public attention on the mismanagement of the historic Virginia Range herd by the Nevada Department of Agriculture. This herd that Velma “Wild Horse Annie” Johnston first fought to protect falls under the authority of the state, not the Bureau of Land Management.
Management of this herd was traditionally accomplished through non-profit groups that operated under cooperative agreements with the state. About three years ago then-Director of Agriculture Tony Lesperance summarily rescinded all cooperative agreements for the  management and control of the horses, for the supervised placement of horses with adopters, and even the saddle starting of horses by the Department of Corrections’ acclaimed inmate horse training program. All these activities were funded by the non-profit groups, not the taxpayers.
This action has, as was predicted, resulted in horses roaming through residential neighborhoods, horses roaming onto highways, horses that have been removed going to kill buyers, and the prison horse training program no longer saddle starting Virginia Range horses.
This demonstration was named “Rally for Solutions.” The participants were protesting incomprehensible actions by the Nevada Department of Agriculture that continue to put both the horses and the public at risk. The demonstrators hope to put enough pressure to bear that the department returns to some sensible and workable management models that
protect the herd, that protect the public, that protect horses that have to be removed and that don’t have to rely on dwindling tax support. It appears that the rally has achieved just that.
Immediately after the rally many of the advocates worked until well after dark taking in a large number of horses from a Bureau of Indian Affairs impound that will now be assured safe homes or sanctuary. The allied groups, that have taken in over 1,000 horses since the beginning of 2010, will continue to solve problems on the range and “in the corrals” in cooperation with agencies that wish to achieve solutions to free roaming horse issues and ensure humane placement of horses that have been removed.
Willis Lamm

Posted in Daily Posts, Virginia Range | 6 Comments »

Meeting Notice: Virginia Range Horses

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 25, 2011

I have just been informed that the Stagecoach Advisory Board has placed the Virginia Range horse removal issue on its agenda for its November 2nd meeting. Former horse program manager Mike Holmes indicated that he would attend, and if asked, would discuss the history of horses in this area, what the issues really are, what the Department of Ag seems to be doing and what needs to be done. (I’m trying to be objective with this announcement so I’m avoiding suggesting who has done what to create the present problem.)
Interested citizens are encouraged to attend. Mike Holmes is our best source of knowledge about this horse issue and he has a history of telling it like it is.
We all know that this is an emotional issue. The Stagecoach Advisory Board has a history of being liberal when it comes to allowing the audience to speak, ask questions and discuss town matters. Furthermore the Board has no authority over these horses and is empowered only to make recommendations to the County Commission on matters of concern to our residents. So please be orderly and respectful during the meeting so that the Board, if it makes a recommendation, can accurately represent the position of our citizens.

What:   Stagecoach Town Advisory Board meeting
When:  7:00 PM, Wednesday November 2nd
Where: Stagecoach Community Center, 8204 US-50 West (next to the old fire station just west of Shetland St.)

For further information please contact the Citizen Advisory Board Liaison:

Maureen Willis, t.775-463-6531, mailto:mwilliss@lyon-county.org

The Community Center is accessible to persons with disabilities.

~Willis

Posted in Daily Posts, Virginia Range | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

NAS Committee Tasked with Reviewing the BLM’s WH&B Management Program… Get To Know The Members & Their Questions

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 24, 2011

 

The National Academies of Science will be conducting a meeting on October 27 and 28, 2011 in Reno, NV to determine whether the BLM is using the best science available in managing wild horses and burros on Western range lands. The agenda also includes hearing from BLM and a panel of Wild Horse & Burro genetics and population experts. For more information on this committee and the scope of the project, see below. Thanks, The TMP Team

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

New Scheme to Auction Off Virginia Range Horses & Already a Horse Trap Found In Stagecoach

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 24, 2011

My phone didn’t stop ringing yesterday afternoon with people calling who were concerned about the following press release. (The concerns that people raised follow the copy of the press release.) ~Willis

The NV Department of Ag, Office of the Attorney General, the Nevada Department of Corrections, the Governor’s Office,& HORSE POWER

by Horse Power on Friday, October 21, 2011 at 4:16pm

Nevada Department of Agriculture to Begin Collection of Nuisance Estray/Feral Horses near Highways

Sparks, NV 10-21-2011 – The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) will begin trapping nuisance Virginia Range estray/feral horses near highways today. This action is a result of over 30 horses being hit on highways 50 and 95 by vehicles over a period of less than two months.

“We planned to begin this collection of nuisance estray/feral horses two weeks ago but needed private property owner’s permission to set up the panel traps,” said Ed Foster, NDA spokesperson. “We finalized that agreement with property owners today,” he added.

The Virginia Range horses fall under the jurisdiction of Nevada estray/feral laws. The NDA is responsible for carrying out those laws.

This estray/feral horse collection does not have a time limit. Captures will be compared to equine/vehicular interaction data on a daily basis.

This collection will strictly follow Nevada estray/feral law (NRS 569). After capture, the horses will be transported to the Stewart Facility in Carson City and held there until they are photographed, branded and advertised per statute. Through a special agreement with the Nevada Department of Corrections, these horses will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the Stewart facility rather than Fallon livestock auction yards. Notice will be given as to when this event will occur. This change in practice will reduce operational costs as well as staff time resulting in increased efficiency.

This agreement is a collaborative effort by the Nevada Department of Agriculture, Office of the Attorney General, the Nevada Department of Corrections, the Governor’s Office, the horse advocacy group HORSE POWER, and concerned private property owners.

( Working together for the Horses )

So here are the concerns being raised.
NDoA appears to be using Horsepower and NDoC’s Stewart Conservation Camp as a means to “sanitize” the auctioning of Virginia Range horses.  NDoA has apparently found a way to cut out the middleman (the auction yard) and the kill buyers will simply go to Carson City instead of Fallon to acquire their horses.  Historically, given the numbers of horses NDoA says that they will be bringing in, the kill buyers will be interested.
I’ve had people ask me if this means that their wild horse license plate money might be used to facilitate the sale of horses to kill buyers and/or have asked, “What is my license plate money being used for?”  I’d prefer not to speculate on that so I’d suggest that you ask Horsepower.
Here are the problems that I have with this scheme:
If NDoA and Horsepower wanted to prevent the horses from being vulnerable to the kill buyers, the law allows NDoA to enter into a cooperative agreement with Horsepower wherein Horsepower could be responsible for the placement of horses.  Under the old agreements, the cooperators facilitated and monitored adoptions, and brand clearances (equivalent to titles) weren’t issued for a year and after adopters proved good care.  The law doesn’t presently allow NDoA to write adoptions and set adoption requirements.  That authority is delegated to cooperators.
If Horsepower wants to get into the horse auction business, that’s their decision.  However I have concerns over what might happen to the inmate saddle horse training program if the kill buyers come to the same facility that the BLM horses use and remove Virginia Range horses.  Much of the public does not distinguish between Virginia Range and BLM horses and such “auctions” could have a significant adverse public relations impact on BLM and the prison training program.  (In my opinion the prison training program is our greatest asset with respect to horse placement in this region and its image needs protection.)
The law allows for the Nevada Department of Corrections to be the legal “cooperator” and establish adoption requirements, monitor adoptions and certify compliance.  However Horsepower’s announcement simply discusses the horses being “auctioned off.”  Also, historically back when Virginia Range horses went through the prison training program, one of the non-profit cooperators was legally responsible for facilitating the adoptions, not NDoC.
If there are some legally enforceable controls established to ensure that all Virginia Range horses removed from the range will not be at risk of being bought by the kill buyers or by a handful of private citizens who buy horses to turn over to the kill buyers, then this proposal could be a step forward.  However if such protections are not part of the design of this scheme, I have to agree that it’s little more than a sanitizing operation.
Hopefully some clarifications will be forthcoming.
Willis

Sunday, October 23, 2011: Although the Nevada Dept. of Agriculture has stated that it is after “problem” horses that constitute highway hazards in Mound House, Silver Springs and Fernley, a horse trap has been reported by residents near Roy’s Road in central Stagecoach and Daryl Peterson was spotted looking over the horses behind Iron Mountain Estates. 

It might pay for everyone to report any traps discovered so that we can keep track of what’s going on.
Willis

Horse Trap in Stagecoach, NV October 24, 2011

Map of Horse Trap in Stagecoach, NV October 24, 2011

Posted in Daily Posts, Virginia Range | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Craig Downer Responds to Pancake Complex PEA

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 24, 2011

Our friend, Craig Downer, has graciously passed on his comments in response to the Pancake Complex Preliminary Environmental Assessment. For those of you who know Craig, you will find that he has once again outdone himself. For those of you who are not familiar with Craig’s work, you’re in for a real treat! For reference, please see Pancake Complex Preliminary Environmental Assessment. ~T

October 21, 2011
BLM Ely District Office
HC 33 Box 33500
Ely, NV 89301
Email: PancakeComplex@blm.govrthompson@blm.gov
Attn.: Gary W. Medlyn, Egan Field Manager

Subject: Objection to proposed wild horse roundups in Pancake Complex: Pancake HMA, Sand Springs West HMA, Jake’s Wash HMA (proposal to zero out), and Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory (USFS)

Dear Mr. Medlyn:

Thank you for providing me with this opportunity to comment.  I have reviewed the Pancake Complex Preliminary Environmental Assessment and am very disturbed by its negatively tendentious plans and questionable justifications toward this vast, 1,259,739-acre area’s wild horses.  The proposed action is not at all fair to this national heritage and North American returned native species nor to the individual wild horses who have proven their survivability and ability to fit into the natural ecosystem in question, nor does it accord with the chief tenets of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.  At its 40th anniversary, we Americans should now be celebrating this noble act’s true realization rather than lamenting its subversion.  Unfortunately your proposed plan for these horses falls within the latter category.

My analysis of some of your tables reveals a true egregiousness.  To cut to the chase, Table 1: Herd Management Area, Acres, AML, Estimated Population, and Estimated Numbers for Removal reveals that as of May 2011 what you term to be an over-populated herd within the four legal areas actually had 571 legal acres per remaining individual horse. This included 517 legal acres per individual horse in the 855,000-acre Pancake HMA, 1,029 legal acres per individual horse in the 157,436-acre Sand Springs West HMA, 1,164 legal acres per individual horse in the 153,663-acre Jake’s Wash HMA, and 347 legal acres per individual horse in the 93,640-acre Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory.  Regardless of how many times you state otherwise, this is not an over-population, but rather an under-population from any fair and objective point-of-view.  A couple hundred acres per horse would not be an over-population in this area provided you exercised your legitimate authority to secure an adequate water supply for the wild horses.  America needs true defenders of its wild horses, not officials who all-too-willingly abrogate their responsibility to defend the rights of these wonderful animals and the General Public who support them.

The crux of the problem concerns your (BLM’s & USFS’s) over-allocation of forage to livestock, principally domestic cattle and sheep grazing within the legal wild horse areas.  Examining your EA’s section 4.5: Livestock Grazing and particularly Tables 3, 4, & 5, your Animal Unit Month (AUM) figures reveal the following year-round equivalent of cattle grazing within the four wild horse areas, taken both separately and as a composite.  In the Pancake HMA, current permitted livestock use equals 1,826 cattle.  In the Jake’s Wash Herd Area (HA, so named because you have decided to zero it out), current permitted livestock use equals 696 cattle.  In the Sand Springs West HMA, the current permitted livestock use equals 40 cattle. Excluding permitted livestock use in USFS’s Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory, which would add considerably, the minimal grand total for year-round livestock usage is 2,562 cattle.  We conclude that there are more cattle grazing just in the three BLM HMAs than there are year-round wild horses in the four legal areas which, according to Table 1, sum to 2,208 horses – and the latter is likely to be an exaggerated number that includes the 2011 foals but does not adequately account for mortality factors.  Though the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act clearly states that the resources of the legal Herd Areas (BLM) and Territories (USFS) are to be “devoted principally” for the wild horses or burros upon their legal grounds, such is clearly not occurring at present what with 54% of the grazing resource going to domestic livestock and 46% of the grazing resource going to wild horses.  This wild horse population should be left alone. It is in the process of filling its ecological niche and attaining natural self-stabilization of its numbers – if we people would only allow it to do so.

If the drastic and grossly unfair Pancake Complex roundup proceeds as planned and taking the mid-point Appropriate Management Level of 499 wild horses, there will remain only 19% of total forage allocation for the wild horses (499 divided by 2,562).  This is a clear violation of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, as the wild horses’ presence is being marginalized and minimized even within its legal areas – which taken as a whole only represent a small fraction of the public lands. Their restoration to principal presence within their legal areas would constitute true “multiple use” as opposed to the status quo of monopolistic use on the public lands by especially livestock.  Additionally, BLM is planning to zero out, or eliminate, all wild horses from Jake’s Wash Herd Area. This HA contains a sizeable 153,663 acres; and though the 132 currently surviving wild horses here clearly disprove BLM officials’ claim that the area is unsuitable for wild horses, these officials persist in listing inadequate habitat components such as water, forage, shelter, etc., though the chief missing factor is their willingness to defend the wild horses’ rightful water, forage, shelter, and other survival requirements!

Alternative F, the No Action Alternative is the more fair and only reasonable and legal alternative of those presented by the E.A., yet it is discredited even in the E.A. as being invalid.  –Talk about tendentiousness against wild horses in the wild!

In addition to the above, I have the following complaints:

Page 18: You make light of the “Remove or Reduce Livestock within the HMA,” yet it is the only truly fair and legal option here.  You evade your responsibility to reduce or eliminate livestock, yet you are clearly willing to do this and in drastic measure to the wild horses themselves!  (The wild horses, by the way, have a right to live here, while livestock permittees only have a cancelable privilege to graze their livestock here.)  You refer to the 2008 Ely Record of Decision and Resource Management Plan and to the Tonopah Resource Management Plan, but fail to honestly criticize these in light of the actual law protecting the wild horses and establishing their rights to live their free-roaming life at healthy, viable population levels upon certain areas of the public lands.

Page 19. Your clear abrogation of responsibility is indicated on this page when you claim that the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 4710.5 is only for emergencies “and not for the general management of wild horses or burros.”  This is simply not true by any reasonable interpretation of this code and again reveals your prejudiced attitude toward the wild horses.

Page 22. I question your statement that fences do not restrain wild horse movements within their legal areas, given the fact that they are open-ended.  Much of this would depend upon how long they are and where they are located.  Your least and last consideration seems to be for the wild horses themselves.

You make no intelligent comparison of relative livestock, big game, and other conflicting or potentially conflicting interests including ORVs and mining operations in relation to the wild horses and how this affects their well being in the wild.

You go out of your way to state that the Pancake Complex has not been designated as a wild horse “range” and point out the four in the U.S. that have.  Yet all the original wild horse and burro areas should be considered as “ranges” according to any fair interpretation of the Act.  Again you give more importance to regulations than to the federal law itself!

Pages 22-23: Your discussion of available water sources says nothing about how you could take steps to secure or improve water availability for fairer numbers of wild horses.  You seem to be grasping for excuses to justify your miserable treatment of the wild horses.  The utilization trends and consumption rates you quote do not in fact reveal a dire situation caused by wild horses, though your implied conclusion indicates just this.  Your justification for zeroing out Jake’s Wash HMA is very arbitrary, and you make not even the feeblest attempt to do something to keep the horses here.  As stated above, the 132 surviving wild horses disprove your contrived case against them.  It is obvious they are your targets.  By fomenting cooperative agreements with other entities as enabled under Section 6 of the Act, BLM officials could, in fact, secure year-round water, forage, etc., for the spirited Jake’s Wash wild horses, whom I have had the rare privilege to observe since 1980.

Page 24: Again, objectively viewed, your presentation of facts for Sand Springs West HMA is unconvincing as a case against the current number of wild horses.  And I find it revealing how you avoid bringing livestock into consideration in regard to those areas that are being over-utilized.  I also suspect that existing fences within the two HMAs, one HA and one Territory could be preventing a more extensive and natural rest rotation – or equitable distribution of grazing pressure.

Pages 26-27: I very much object to the creation of an one-third non-breeding segment of the wild horse population, and as a wildlife ecologist, predict that this would result in a dysfunctional herd lacking the true vitality that is required for long-term survival.  This is very much contrary to the true intent of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.  For the same reason, I disfavor the 60% male to 40% female sex ratio and view this as very disruptive to the social structure of individual bands and to the herd as a whole.  It has been abundantly proven that mature bands of long standing naturally limit the wild horses’ growth rate when the wild horses are allowed to fill their ecological niche without excessive interference by people.

Page 29: I also note that you plan on administering PZP to all released mares and again caution against the adverse effects PZP could cause both to individual wild horses, e.g. stress, pain, dysfunction within horse society, ostracism, and to the social structure of the harem-band as well as to the whole herd.  As you may have heard, I am proposing Reserve Design as a much better solution to the wild horse challenge, but this will require letting the horses be the principal presences and letting them realize their ecological niche within adequately sized and composed habitats and cutting back on livestock and other monopolistic uses.  This would result in natural self-stabilization by intact social units and is true to the noble intent of the Act.  In this same regard, I am entirely opposed to the gelding of stallions. Even your statement that up to 5% of castrated stallions may die as a consequence should be enough to cancel this cruel proposal that is so thoughtless of the horses themselves.

Page 33: Your frequent tampering with the wild horse population prevents the establishment of a harmonious wild-horse-containing ecosystem, one that is enhanced overall as to biodiversity, soil richness, food chain/web, seeding dispersal, etc., since the horse is a true returned “keystone” species here in North America.

Page 34: You make light of the kicking and biting that occurs immediately after capture when the horses are first penned – and this occurs among both the stallions and the mares, not just the stallions.  I have observed this on several roundups and it both can and frequently does result in serious injury and even death of the wild horses so traumatized and unnaturally crowded together.  Our goal should be to leave these wonderful animals alone in their rightful legal and ancestral lands and to let them be born, live out their lives, and pass on naturally contributing their remains rather than to be subject to this unnatural and terrifying chasing by helicopter, violent capture and manipulation and a life of confinement, or a cruel trip to the slaughter plant, e.g. in Mexico or Canada.  This is clearly wrong and not what the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act intended.

Page 49 ff: You imply that wild horse reduction would improve wilderness values thus ignoring the many positive contributions wild horses make to the ecosystem.  In fact, they greatly restore the North American ecosystem, as they are not a ruminant digester like nearly all other large and more recently arrived grazers, but a post-gastric digester and thus help build soils and disperse seeds of a greater variety of plants and to a much greater degree than the ruminants.  They restore North America’s naturalness and they also greatly bolster the food chain or web both through their droppings and by contributing their mortal remains.

Page 48: Finally, wild horses are very inspiring to people, to the General Public as a whole.  Their presence in the wild is a healing one, both to the natural life community and to those economically disinterested people who come from near and far too just experience their presence.  Ask the thousands of wild horse advocates in this nation of ours and throughout the world what I am talking about.  It is high time that as public officials and servants sworn to uphold all the laws of the land you listen to us rather than just to those vested interests who for one greedy reason or another have targeted these returned North American natives for discrediting and elimination.

Sincerely yours,

Craig C. Downer
Wildlife Ecologist, Author on wild horses and burros, etc., board: The Cloud Foundation
P.O. Box 456
Minden, NV 89423-0456
T. 775-901-2094
Email: ccdowner@yahoo.com

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, Ely FO, FY2011, Jakes Wash, Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory, Pancake Complex, Pancake HMA, Sand Springs HMA, USFS | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Nightmare and Reality

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 17, 2011

If anyone is undecided about whether or not they are anti- or pro- horse slaughter, I beg of you to read on. I am truly begging anyone that has not yet made up their minds to please read the information and stories presented in this post. PLEASE! You owe it to yourself to know the full story. ~TL

My friends, it is with a heavy heart that I write to you this day. While following up on a research project, I came across a story about a horse named Rhapsody Rhose. Her human was Jaime Cowan. As I read Jaime and Rhapsody’s story, I realized that their story was quite literally my nightmare come true. After speaking via email with Jaime, it seemed prudent to share with you all this experience.

Anyone reading this could easily say to themselves, “But that won’t happen to me,” or something along the lines of, “That would never happen here.” My friends, this is sadly the worst possible assumption anyone could make.

The following is an account of just how hard their story has been driven home to us here at TMP. Please, do not interpret this as an attempt to strike fear into your hearts and minds. We simply wish to convey the gravity of the situation so that you may also take preventative steps to avoid a similar outcome. At the end of this post, there are links to websites and organizations that combat horse theft. Please, take a few moments to look over some of their suggestions. There are also links showing what you can do should you ever have to face the same situation as Jaime.

Many thanks in advance, and as always, stay safe. ~The TMP Team

P.S. Of particular interest in the video “Part 1” was his confession of how he trapped Wild Mustangs when he couldn’t get enough domesticated horses bought to make a load to slaughter. 

The Nightmare

About a month ago, I awoke in the middle of the night screaming and throwing punches. Clate woke up as well and immediately ducked to miss a punch I had thrown into the air at an invisible assailant. Luckily, he was able to wake me from the nightmare before I seriously injured him or myself. He tried to calm me, and tried unsuccessfully to understand the incoherent words I was crying. When he was finally able to comprehend my words, he also understood my fear and violent reaction:

“They took him! They took him and I couldn’t stop them! They took Mouse!”

I had been having a nightmare.

Someone elusive and evil had stolen Mighty Mouse away from our pastures in the dead of night. They had taken him to Mexico, and through my dream vision, I saw him standing in the death line. My dream vision flashed back to our home, with Clate and I sitting in the living room, and the phone rang. It was someone telling me of Mouse’s situation. My disbelief was quickly replaced with an awful fear and dread as I raced to the barn only to discover he was indeed gone.

My dream vision then flashed to the cab of our truck as we raced down the highway headed for the border. Texas is a huge state, and we live on the Eastern border. Mouse was across the Western border. Chevrolet makes an awesome truck, but even our big V8 Silverado couldn’t drive fast enough to get there in time.

Again, my dream vision flashed back to Mouse standing in that line, unknowingly awaiting his death. He looked back as though I were standing right there with him. The look on his face was one of confusion and curiosity. Mouse, forever the curious one, was totally unaware of what fate lay ahead of him. Suddenly, fear replaced curiosity’s position alongside confusion as the horse already inside the chute screamed. Mouse jerked his head towards the scream, and then frantically back at me.

Even though it was only a dream, I literally felt my heart breaking inside of my chest. The pain was immense. My beloved Mustang had no idea what was going on, and had no idea where I was, or why I wasn’t there. And try as I did, I couldn’t get there!

Flash back to the truck. My fingers furiously dialed number after number to reach every contact I had in the Texas Department of Public Safety’s State Troopers Offices, the Texas Attorney General’s Office, then on to the Texas Courts System. I called every last friend and ally I had as fast as I could, all the while my vision flashing me back and forth to Mouse standing there in that line. All of my contacts assured me they would do whatever they could to stop this horrible atrocity from taking place. But they should not have made those assurances, for such a thing was not in their power. Mouse was already across the border. He was no longer inside any of their jurisdictions.

I was too late.

As my dream vision flashed back to Mouse, he was now next in the death line. I screamed. I fought. It wasn’t enough. My boy stepped through the opening of the chute. The knife was raised, and just before it came down, I awoke from the nightmare.

The Reality

My nightmare was just that: a dream that sent the deepest fear I’ve ever felt through my entire being. A desperate sprint to the barn confirmed that Mighty Mouse was indeed still safe here at home and not in the clutches of an unspeakable horror. I must have stood there in the barn for what seemed like forever making sure that the dream was in fact just a dream, and that I was really touching his mane.

Relief doesn’t even begin to describe what I felt.

The nightmare had been so incredibly real that I still had a pain deep in my chest, one that persisted until the following afternoon. Breathing did not come quite as easily as it should have. Hot tears still flowed down my face. Anger, intense and furious, welled up inside of my body. As I stood there in his stall rubbing his neck and smelling his mane, Mouse was aware of my emotional state. He responded as a comforter, as my friend, and almost in a reassuring manner as if to say, Mom, I’m ok. I’m here, safe and sound.

But Rhapsody Rhose was in fact not safe and sound, and Jaime was in fact living my nightmare on an even grander scale that I could ever possibly dream or would ever want to.

I’ve spent the last month in a state of heightened awareness, wary of those who slow down even a little in front of our pastures, wary of any noises I hear in the middle of the night, and constantly checking to make sure of the horses’ safety. India is my son’s mare, and is much bigger than Mouse, so I fear for them both.

This fear is very strange to me. I am not the type of person that fears many things, and I am certainly not afraid to defend those whom I care for and love with whatever means are necessary. However, I am finding through this fear that even though I am fully prepared and capable of such a defense, I cannot be everywhere at once. And there are those amongst us who are not afraid of consequences to their actions. Indeed, they do not care about said consequences.

Where I live and where I was raised, we haven’t always locked our doors. In the past, we’ve often left for days on end with the front and back doors left unlocked and even open, especially in the summertime. Now, we are sure to lock every door and window before going on a five minute trip to town and back. Jaime lives in a place much the same as we do, and likely much the same as many of you do as well.

My point is simply this: We as the American People have taken for granted the safety and security of our homes, barns, and pastures for far too long. We who have not been affected by such tragedies as the Cowan family has should count ourselves extremely lucky that we have been but merely “missed” by that tragedy’s aim thus far.

If Jaime and Rhapsody’s story proves but one thing to us all, it is that we must be vigilant. Rhapsody Rhose was taken by someone the Cowan family trusted. This trust was given to this person with no cause to doubt it. And yet, Rhapsody is still gone.

We cannot allow this to happen to othersWith Jaime’s story, others – possibly in the same position with horses at a boarder – can put measures in place to help prevent the same outcome.

(FYI: Under Texas Penal Code Chapter 31, Sec. 31.03(e)(5)(A), horse theft is a third degree felony if you steal less than ten horses and a first degree felony to steal ten or more horses. Both are state jail offenses. Contrary to what many have believed for years, horse theft is not a hanging offense in Texas. At least, it’s not legally.)

Many pro-slaughter advocates would have the American public believe that slaughter is a necessary means to dispose of horses that inevitably will be among any horse population. These “inevitable” horses include those who are lame, sick, old, or those with severe behavioral problems that cause them to become a danger to humans.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Most horses that end up in slaughter are in fact robust, healthy animals. Many are highly trained and certainly capable of continuing life in the service of humans as companions and/or laborers. Even higher populations of these horses were sold under the pretense that they would go to a “good home”, some owners even being promised that their beloved Equine would be the new companion of a small child.

But this isn’t always the case. There are no solid statistics yet available, but it is believed that between 40,000 to 55,000 horses are stolen each year. It is relatively easy to take a horse, put it in a trailer, haul it to an auction and make a quick dollar. Sadly, many horses that go through an auction end up at a slaughterhouse.

Rhapsody Rhose was a Purebred Polish Russian Arabian Mare born April 9, 1989. Rhapsody was never bred. She was raised and trained for pleasure riding only, as was her mother, Romantica Rose, who still survives. Rhapsody’s bloodline contained several patron lines. She was the granddaughter of National Grand Champion Marsianin and daughter of Borexpo. She was valued between $5000- $25,000. She was sold to the kill buyer for $65. She wasn’t a show horse, a racehorse, a mare that produced wonderful foals and she never won any trophies. She was also not an “inevitable” horse.

Rhapsody was not bad. She did nothing wrong. She was not old and she had no lameness.  Her trot was amazing; her canter was breathtaking. She was not ugly.  She did no harm and did not disappoint. 

Click here for Jaime Cowan’s Story, The Story of Rhapsody Rose

Links:

WARNING: The following videos give first hand accounts from a “kill buyer”. He is graphic in his detailing of events that he and his fellow “kill buyers” committed and witnessed. Viewer discretion is advised.

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Tentative Gather Schedule as of October 1, 2011 (Color Coded)

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 8, 2011

The Tentative Gather Schedule as of October 1, 2011 has been released. To make reading the schedule easier, we have color coded it and put it into a pdf format for you to download. It is also available as the jpeg image below. National Wild Horse and Burro Tentative Gather Schedule October 1, 2011 (Color Coded by TMP) (pdf)

 

 

 

Posted in Antelope HMA, BLM, Daily Posts, Elko DO, Ely FO, FY2011 | 3 Comments »

Nevada Horse Wars Starting Again???

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 8, 2011

PLEASE CROSS POST AND TAKE ACTION! This is an issue that is very serious, but more so is extremely important to ALL wild horse advocates across the world. The state of Nevada contains more wild horses than any other state in the Union. The decisions made in the Nevada State Legislation, with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDoW), and with the Nevada Department of Agriculture NDoAg) set the precedent for the other states containing wild horses. We’ve seen this disturbing trend many times over. (See Nevada Passes SJR5… Why YOU Should Care & What YOU Can Do…).  For the back story to this issue, see the following links in chronological order:

KOLO posted a news story on the station’s web site showcasing the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s latest scheme to get rid of the Virginia Range horses is to have them declared a “safety hazard.”
http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines/WIld_Horses_Declared_Safety_Hazard_131366353.html
Previously the department’s excuse for removing horses was that they were devastating the range.  “The range is devoid of forage,” was one infamous quote (lie) that the previous Director of Agriculture told the State Legislature.  Unfortunately for that lie, the Department of Wildlife looked at forage in the Virginia Range and determined that grass and plants look really good back in the hills.  (Listen toThe Last Wild Place, 1300 AM, 102.5 FM on October 16th at 10:00 AM in the Reno / Carson City / Douglas County region.)  NDoW representatives were interviewed regarding the reintroduction of bighorn sheep and the Department determined that there was plenty of forage for everyone.  BTW, this is an exciting project worth learning about.)
So now NDoA is claiming, “The wet winter and spring have been good to Nevada’s wild horses–plenty to eat and water to drink. But now those resources are drying up and herds are heading down the Virginia Range Mountains to roadways—endangering both themselves and drivers.”
Maybe NDoA should talk to real wildlife biologists before coming out with this stuff.
Horses are on the highways as a product of illegal feeding and incompetent management.  Illegal feeding is a historic problem and it tends to get worse when the Department of Ag. is perceived as not doing anything constructive with the herd.  Incompetent management runs the spectrum with this Department.  The most glaring example involves the Department’s flat refusal to let the non-profits control the movement of the horses through agreements with those groups, a strategy that was successful for years.  The non-profits raised their own funds so these control activities came at no expense to the taxpayers, which also speaks to the pure BS coming out of NDoA when they claim they can’t do anything because they don’t have the funds.
I live on the wild horse range and work on horse issues on a regular basis.  Stepping back and taking an objective view I have to say that there are an awful lot of horses on the Virginia Range, however this population has not created the devastation that the Department has gone around screaming about, and the horses on the highway problem is one directly caused by a Department that is clueless about what it is doing yet refuses to learn, even from its former and current experienced horse people.
It seems that if your solution doesn’t match what some rural rancher subscribes to who is on the Board of Agriculture, it’s ignored – even if it historically solved the problem.

So here’s where this whole business is going to get nasty:
Previously the Department misled the public when discussing picking up horses.  They would discuss the trapping process and that the horses would go to the prison horse facility to be health checked, microchipped, etc.  But they left out the part about the horses then going to the livestock sale where the kill buyers bid on them.  (In 2003 the State Legislature, at the urging of then Acting Director of Agriculture Don Henderson, changed the law to allow the Department to place horses with cooperating non-profits due specifically to warnings about what would happen if the horses went to the sale yard.  This procedure, written in the law, is categorically ignored by NDoA.)
I will give my old nemesis Ed Foster credit for disclosing the part about the sale yard in his interview with KOLO News.  Thanks for giving us the straight story on that aspect of this issue.
So the Department is once again gearing up the horse disposal machine for Velma (Wild Horse Annie) Johnston’s herd.  Never mind that Storey County Commissioner Bill Sjovangen warned that the horses were important to his county’s tourism (the county’s largest source of income) and its’ tourism “brand.”  Don’t let real issues slow down the horse removal machine.
The sad reality is that the current administration of the Nevada Department of Agriculture won’t listen, or even follow the law, unless you go after them with a spiked club.  Given that they have had plenty of opportunity to learn and have refused, the only logical solution is to go over the Director’s head to the Governor and force this issue to come to the table.
Meanwhile, as Don Henderson warned, agencies that the Department historically relied on to assist (e.g., BLM, Nevada Dept. of Corrections inmate horse crew) have warned that they won’t be involved in any activities that result in horses going to the kill buyers.  They have their own reputations to protect.  I for one would hope that the Governor looks at the implications that negative horse issues have on tourism and jerks this matter straight.
Here are some people you can contact if you have concerns / opinions about this matter:

***Director of Agriculture Jim Barbee    mailto:jrbarbee@agri.nv.gov    775-353-3613
***Governor Brian Sandoval  (Contact information page)   http://gov.nv.gov/contact/

The time to act is before this train leaves the station.

Thanks for caring.

Willis

For those new to TMP to understand a little more about the gravity of this situation and the trust we place in the reporter of this news: Willis Lamm is the Communications Officer for the Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates (AOWHA). He is also a very dear friend of ours. Willis works more than 95% of the year – day in and day out, night in and many nights out – to help the Virginia Range Wild Horses and their many brothers and sisters across the Western United States. Least Resistance Training Concepts and the Wild Horse Mentors are just two of Willis’ projects. (See LRTC Wild Horse Mentors ) Along with a host of advocates in the Stagecoach, Nevada area, Willis and his wife Sharon also work diligently to help the orphaned foals on and off of the range. (See P-Nut Update and Another Horse in the House!!!).

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 6 Comments »

***Comments Due By Oct. 24*** BLM Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Wild Horse and Wild Burro Gathers at Garfield Flat and Marietta Wild Burro Range

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 3, 2011

BLM Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Wild Horse and Wild Burro Gathers at Garfield Flat and Marietta Wild Burro Range

Carson City, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Carson City District, Stillwater Field Office released the Preliminary Garfield Flat and Marietta Herd Management Areas Gather Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) for public review and comment. The proposed gather area is southwest of Hawthorne, in Mineral County, Nev.
The EA analyzes two proposed gathers; a wild horse gather to apply fertility control to mares and remove 223 excess wild horses from the Garfield Flat Herd Management Area (HMA), and a wild burro gather to remove 66 excess wild burros from the Marietta HMA. The proposed horse gather is tentatively scheduled for February 2012, and the wild burro gather is tentatively scheduled for 2013. 
The proposed gathers are needed to achieve and maintain the established appropriate management levels (AMLs) and remove excess wild horses and burros. The proposed gather also would prevent further range deterioration resulting from the current overpopulation of wild horses and wild burros within the areas.
The Garfield Flat and Marietta HMAs Gather Plan and EA analyzes the application of fertility control on mares, and the removal of approximately 223 excess wild horses from inside and outside of the Garfield Flat HMA. About 240 wild horses would be gathered, 26 – 33 mares would be vaccinated with a two-year fertility control vaccine (Porcine Zona Pellucida – PVP-22), then released back into the HMA, leaving 83 wild horses in the Garfield Flat HMA. Treating the mares will slow the rate of herd reproduction, assisting in maintaining the AML, and reducing the number of excess wild horses that would need to be removed in the future. The AML for the Garfield Flat HMA is 83 to 125 wild horses.
The proposed gather for the Marietta HMA would remove 66 excess wild burros leaving 78 wild burros within the area. The AML for the Marietta HMA is 78 to 104 burros.
The EA may be reviewed online:  www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field/blm_information/nepa.html 
The BLM would appreciate receiving substantive comments on the EA by October 24, 2011. Comments received during the public review period will be analyzed and considered as part of the decision-making process.
Only written comments will be considered. Written comments for the Garfield Flat and Marietta Gather Plan and EA may be submitted by email to:GarfieldEA2011@blm.gov, by mail to: BLM Stillwater Field Manager Teresa Knutson, 5665 Morgan Mill Rd., Carson City, NV 89701, or by fax to: 775-885-6147.
Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available.
For additional information about the proposed gathers, call or email Steve Kramer, Planning and Environmental Coordinator, 775-885-6005,skramer@blm.gov.

DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-0529-EA
NEPA Register > DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-0529-EA
NEPA Project Summary 
NEPA #:  DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2011-0529-EA Status:  Active
Project Name:  Garfield Flat and Marietta Herd Management Area Gather Plan Decision Date: 
EIS OEPC #:  FONSI Date: 
Applicant:  BLM Stillwater Field Office, Carson City District    
Project Description:

The Proposed Action would involve gathering an estimated 240 wild horses, 66 wild burros, removing approximately 157 excess wild horses, 66 excess wild burros, and releasing 60 wild horses back into the Garfield HMA after treating/retreating an estimated 26-33 mares with the fertility control vaccine (PZP-22) and adjusting the sex ratio to favor males. The estimated 157 excess wild horses to be removed includes 85 excess wild horses which are established on lands within the Marietta Wild Burro Range HMA. The use of the PZP-22 should maintain AML range by reducing the population growth rate and reduce the number of excess wild horses that would need to be removed in the future. Should the gather efficiency exceed 80% of the current wild horse populations, additional mares (up to 33) would be treated and released back to the Garfield Flat HMA. The BLM intends to continue with this treatment protocol by returning to Garfield Flat every 2-3 years to maintain AML by continuing the population control protocols of gathering and re-treating the mares with PZP. If gather efficiencies utilizing a helicopter does not achieve the desired goals of the Proposed Action, water/bait trapping may be utilized to capture sufficient numbers of horses to achieve these targets. The management actions contained within the proposed action are also supported by a recent report received from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) which recommends that the BLM increase the level of use of fertility control and other population control methods (sex ratio adjustments, geldings, etc.).

Project Location:

The Garfield Flat and Marietta Herd Management Area, Mineral County, Nevada

 
Project Lead:  John Axtell    
Phone Number:  (775) 885-6146    
Office(s):  Stillwater FO Lead Office:  Stillwater FO
Counties:  Mineral    
Program(s):  Wild Horse and Burros Special Interest(s):  Riparian-Wetlands
Special Status Species

Links: 
Document            Interested Party Letter           

Maps: 
Map Set Name Publication Date  
Garfield_Marietta_HMAs_MAP 09/21/2011

 

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 2 Comments »

BLM Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Pancake Complex Wild Horse Gather

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 3, 2011

BLM Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Pancake Complex Wild Horse Gather

Ely, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office and BLM Ely District, Egan Field Office are soliciting public comment on the Pancake Complex Wild Horse Gather Preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA), which analyzes several management alternatives including the Proposed Action which is a pilot management alternative.  The newly proposed method calls for a phased-in approach to reach the appropriate management level over a six to 10 year period by reducing removals, implementing fertility control, adjusting sex ratios and  managing a non-breeding population of geldings.  The BLM will accept comments until Friday, Oct. 28, 2011.

The proposed gather area is located in south-central Nevada approximately 30 miles west of Ely and 80 miles northeast of Tonopah, Nev.  The proposed gather is tentatively scheduled to begin in January 2012. The proposed gather is needed to remove excess wild horses to help prevent further deterioration of the range, reduce population growth rates, achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and maintain healthy wild horse populations.   

The Pancake Complex consists of the Sand Springs West and Pancake Herd Management Areas (HMAs), Jakes Wash Herd Area (HA) and Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory (WHT).  The BLM Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office administers the Sand Springs West HMA.  The BLM Ely District Office administers the Pancake HMA and Jakes Wash HA.  The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Ely Ranger District administers the Monte Cristo WHT.

Written comments may be submitted to the BLM Ely District Office, HC 33 Box 33500, Ely, NV 89301, attn: Gary W. Medlyn, Egan Field Manager, or by email to PancakeComplex@blm.gov.  Email comments sent to any other email address will not be considered.

The Pancake Complex Wild Horse Gather Preliminary Environmental Assessment is available online at http://www.blm.gov/nv/.  Click on the Ely District map and then click on the EA listed “In the Spotlight.”  Printed copies are available at the BLM Tonopah Field Office, 1553 South Main Street, in Tonopah; and the BLM Ely District Office, 702 North Industrial Way, in Ely.

-BLM-

 

Pancake Complex Wild Horse Gather: Progress as of Sep 28, 2011 Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, Ely FO | 7 Comments »

BLM Sets Meeting of National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for October 13-14 in Arlington, Virginia

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on September 14, 2011

Release Date: 09/08/11

Contacts:  Tom Gorey, 202-912-7420

BLM Sets Meeting of National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for October 13-14 in Arlington, Virginia

The Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet on October 13-14, 2011, in Arlington, Virginia, to discuss issues relating to the management, protection, and control of wild horses and burros on Western public rangelands.  The two-day meeting will take place on Thursday, October 13, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Friday, October 14, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., local time, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia 22202 (hotel phone number 703-418-1234). The agenda of the meeting can be found in the September 6, 2011, Federal Register at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-09-06/pdf/2011-22626.pdf.

The Advisory Board provides input and advice to the BLM as it carries out its responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The law mandates the protection, management, and control of these free-roaming animals in a manner that ensures healthy herds at levels consistent with the land’s capacity to support them. The BLM manages approximately 38,500 wild horses and burros that roam BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states.

The public may address the Advisory Board on Thursday, October 13, at 3 p.m., local time. Individuals who want to make a statement at the Thursday meeting should register with the BLM by 1 p.m., local time, on that same day at the meeting site. Depending on the number of speakers, the Board may limit the length of presentations, set at three minutes for previous meetings.

Speakers should submit a written copy of their statement to the BLM at the addresses below or bring a copy to the meeting; those who would like to comment but are unable to attend may submit a written statement to: Bureau of Land Management, National Wild Horse and Burro Program, WO-260, Attention: Ramona DeLorme, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Reno, Nevada, 89502-7147.  Comments may also be e-mailed to the BLM through the Wild Horse and Burro Website at http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/recent_news_and_information/enhanced_feedback_form.html. For those unable to attend the meeting, written comments should be submitted by regular or electronic mail no later than close of business October 5, 2011; the BLM will not necessarily consider comments received after close of business on October 13, 2011.

For additional information regarding the meeting, please contact Ramona DeLorme, Wild Horse and Burro Administrative Assistant, at 775-861-6583. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may reach Ms. DeLorme at any time by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

The Advisory Board meets at least two times a year and the BLM Director may call additional meetings when necessary. Members serve without salary, but are reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses according to government travel regulations.

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | Leave a Comment »

BLM RSS News Links from the Western States, September 13, 2011

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on September 13, 2011

I have a page on MyYahoo that allows me to combine RSS Feeds from all of the Western States’ BLM Offices. This is a great way to keep up with all of the BLM news releases in one place versus having to click all over the world wide web tracking them down. I copy and pasted today’s view into a table for you guys below, but if you have a Yahoo ID, setting up your MyYahoo page with this information is a must! ~TL

BLM Arizona News Release Feed

Fire Restrictions Lifted for BLM Colorado River District– 22 hours ago

September 10 Symposium Addresses Prehistoric Cultures of Perry Mesa – 1 week ago

Sunday’s Storms Spark Additional Small Fires in the Color Country Management Area, Managers Maintain Arizona Strip Fires – 1 week ago

BLM Arizona Seeks Public Input on a Draft Resource Management Plan for the Lower Sonoran Field Office and the Sonoran Desert National Monument– 2 weeks ago

Scoping Report Released on Proposed APS Transmission Line – 2 weeks ago

BLM California News Releases

BLM Announces Intent to Prepare Environmental Assessment of Motorized Vehicle Management in West Mojave Planning Area – 1 hour ago

Pacific Crest Trail 30 Mile Closure – 6 days ago

National Monument Advisory Committee to Meet in Palm Desert – 6 days ago

WHBRedlandsAdoption – 6 days ago

McCoy Scoping – 1 week ago

BLM Colorado News Releases

INTERAGENCY FALL PRESCRIBED BURN PROGRAM BEGINS IN SOUTHERN COLORADO – 21 hours ago

BLM seeks input on proposed pipelines in western Garfield, Rio Blanco counties– 1 day ago

BLM?s Bangs Canyon receives high marks in recent visitor survey – 1 day ago

BLM accepting public comment on coal exploration license in Rio Blanco County– 3 days ago

BLM seeks comments on grazing permit renewals – 4 days ago

BLM Idaho News Release Feed

Boise District Resource Advisory Council to Meet – 21 hours ago

Hailey-area bike riders show BLM the future of recreation on public lands – 4 days ago

Deadman Hole Recreation Site under Construction – 1 week ago

Non-motorized Hunting Closures Begin October 1, 2011 – 1 week ago

State Director to mark completion of mountain bike trails in Hailey area – 1 week ago

BLM Montana News Release Feed

Shepherd Recreation Area Closed ? Cause, Vandalism– 23 hours ago

BLM to Continue with Prescribed Fire near Moon Creek– 4 days ago

Public Lands Day Set for Fort Meade Sept. 24– 4 days ago

BLM Resource Advisory Council To Meet In Dillon– 4 days ago

Stage I Fire Restrictions Ordered for Northcentral Montana – 6 days ago

BLM Nevada News Release RSS Feed

BLM Holds Commercial Pine Nut Sale (08-23-11) – 2 weeks ago

13 Wild Horses 1 Burro Find Good Homes During Western States Wild Horse and Burro Expo (08-23-11) – 2 weeks ago

Longest Off-Road Race in US Goes Off Without a Hitch (08-22-11) – 3 weeks ago

BLM Reno Office Changes Hours and Closes P.O. Box (08-17-11) – 3 weeks ago

Salazar Announces $43 Million for Nevada and Lake Tahoe Restoration, Conservation and Recreation Projects (08-16-11) – 4 weeks ago

BLM New Mexico News Release Feed

Cebolla Canyon Wetland Restoration Project to Begin (08/31/11) – 1 week ago

BLM Seeks Public Comments on the Guadalupe Mountain Vegetation Treatment Plan (08/11/11) – one month ago

Tent Rocks Monument to Reopen (08/10/11) – one month ago

BLM Lifts Fire Restrictions Statewide (07/27/11) – one month ago

Tent Rocks Monument to Remain Closed Due to Flooding Concerns (07/27/11)– one month ago

BLM OR/WA News Releases

BLM Sells Timber in Benton and Columbia Counties – 1 day ago

Umtanum Recreation Site Closed Temporarily for Paving – 5 days ago

BLM to Analyze Effects of Herbicide Use on Public Lands in the Vale District-Scoping Reopened – 6 days ago

Traffic Delays Planned on Forest Road – 1 week ago

Public Use Restrictions on the Rise – 1 week ago

BLM Utah News Releases

Public Invited to New Dinosaur Unveiling – 23 hours ago

Intrepid Potash Mine and Reclamation Plan Modification EA Available for Comment and Public Open House Meeting – 4 days ago

BLM Sets Meeting of National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board
for October 13-14 in Arlington, Virginia
 – 5 days ago

Coyote Canyon EA Comment Period Extended Until September 30, 2011– 5 days ago

Prescribed Fires Planned for Late Summer Through Winter 2012 in Southeast Utah – 5 days ago

BLM Wyoming News Release Feed

BLM Releases Lander Draft RMP and EIS for 90-day Comment Period – 4 days ago

BLM High Desert District Plans Fall Prescribed Fires – 4 days ago

Raptor Platforms Installed for Jonah Field Mitigation – 5 days ago

Celebrate National Public Lands Day with the Rock Springs Field Office– 5 days ago

BLM BFO Hosts National Public Lands Day Event – 5 days ago

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | Leave a Comment »

Clark, Lincoln, and White Pine Counties Groundwater Development Project (SNWA)

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on August 15, 2011

Clark, Lincoln, and White Pine Counties Groundwater Development Project

Click here to view: Draft EIS | Latest info on public meeting dates

**The Draft EIS comment period has been extended to October 11, 2011**

OVERVIEW

The BLM has prepared an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a proposed action submitted by Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) in 2004 to obtain rights-of-way across land managed by the BLM. If granted, the rights-of-way would enable SNWA to develop groundwater rights authorized for development by the Nevada State Engineer.  SNWA’s need for the project is to diversify its water resources to ensure it can continue to meet water supply obligations and meet projected future water demands. The project would convey up to 155,000 acre-feet per year (afy) of water, with up to 122,000 afy of groundwater developed by SNWA and the remaining capacity provided for Lincoln County. The SNWA portion includes pending water rights applications in Spring, Cave, Delamar, Dry Lake and Snake valleys. The proposed facilities associated with this Project are described below:

Water Facilities

  • Pipelines: approximately 306 miles of buried water pipelines, between 16 and 84 inches in diameter
  • Pumping Stations: five pumping station facilities
  • Regulating Tanks: six regulating tanks, anticipated to have a capacity of between 3 and 10 million gallons each
  • Pressure Reducing Stations: three facilities
  • Water Treatment Facility/Buried Storage Reservoir: one facility site with the Water Treatment Facility anticipated to be a 150 million-gallon per day facility and the buried storage reservoir a 40-million gallon buried facility

Power Facilities

  • Power Lines: approximately 323 miles of 230 kilovolt (kV), 69 kV, and 25 kV overhead power lines
  • Electrical Substations: two primary electrical substations (230 kV to 69 kV) and five secondary substations (69 kV to 25 kV)

SNWA Agreement with Lincoln County Water District

In January 2006, SNWA and the Lincoln County Water District entered into anagreement allowing Lincoln County to obtain capacity rights in the SNWA Project. This agreement allows Lincoln County to transfer water through the SNWA pipeline.  Lincoln County is responsible for obtaining the water rights for the water that would be conveyed and any actions required to develop and convey the water to the SNWA pipeline.  While a specific agreement on a capacity amount has not yet been determined, it is anticipated that the SNWA Project may be used by Lincoln County to convey up to 36,000 afy for Lincoln County customers in Coyote Spring Valley.  Lincoln County does not currently have any specific plans or proposals for development of water to be conveyed through the SNWA Project.

Water Rights Process

The BLM participates in the water rights process in the same manner as any member of the public.  This includes protesting water rights applications that may affect resources for which BLM is responsible.  BLM was a protestant on the Spring, Dry Lake, Delamar, Cave, and Snake valleys water rights applications submitted by SNWA.  The BLM withdrew their protests for Spring, Dry Lake, Delamar, and Cave valleys after completing Stipulated Agreements with SNWA.

The EIS Process:

EIS Process Flowchart

Other Links of Interest:

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

BLM Approves the Winter Ridge Herd Area Wild Horse Gather and Removal Plan EA

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on August 8, 2011

Release Date: 07/29/11Contacts: Guss Warr, (801) 824-1632

BLM Approves the Winter Ridge Herd Area Wild Horse Gather and Removal Plan Environmental Assessment

Vernal, Utah—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Vernal Field Office approved the Winter Ridge Herd Area (HA) Wild Horse Gather and Removal Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) on July 26, 2011.

This EA was prepared to analyze the BLM’s proposed gather and removal of approximately 150 excess wild horses from the Winter Ridge Herd Area vicinity beginning in September 2011. As outlined in the 2008 Vernal Resource Management Plan, all wild horses gathered in this area will be permanently removed from the HA.  Public comments were solicited from July 26-August 26, 2010 and were considered prior to the finalization of the EA. The EA describes the potential environmental impacts from implementing the proposed project and includes related information and a map of the project area.  The BLM will also provide updates and information on line on a regular basis throughout the course of the gather.

The EA and Decision Record are available on line at: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/vernal/planning/nepa_.html

Updates and information will be available at: http://www.blm.gov/ut on a regular basis throughout the course of the gather.

Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations daily once they begin, so long as the safety of the animals, staff, and observers is not jeopardized, and operations are not disrupted. During the public observation days the interested public may participate in an escorted tour and will meet at 5:30 a.m. at the Pelican Café in Ouray, Utah (tentative plan). Current plans call for the Winter Ridge gather to operate September 10, through September 14, 2011, although weather conditions and available resources may affect the projected schedule. Participants must provide their own transportation, water and lunches. The BLM recommends that the public dress for harsh field conditions. Binoculars as well as four wheel drive vehicles are strongly recommended. For information on participating in public observation days, please contact Lisa Reid, Public Affairs Specialist, at (435) 435-743-3128. 

“Animals removed from the Winter Ridge Herd Area will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program,” according to Dusty Carpenter, Wild Horse Specialist. Horses removed from the Winter Ridge HA will be shipped to Salt Lake Wild Horse and Burro Center short-term holding and preparation facility.  Animals that are not adopted will be cared for in long-term pastures, where they retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not send any horses to slaughter. 

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, Winter Ridge HA | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

BLM Issues Decision for Spring Creek Wild Horse Gather (Updated EA)

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on August 8, 2011

Release Date: 08/02/11

Contacts: Shannon Borders, Public Affairs Specialist, (970) 240-5399

BLM Issues Decision for Spring Creek Wild Horse Gather

NORWOOD, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management issued the final environmental assessment and decision record for its gather plan for the wild horse population in the Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area southwest of Norwood, Colo.

Beginning about Thursday, September 15, BLM will gather approximately 60 wild horses in the Herd Management Area, which is a 21,932 acre area managed for a healthy wild horse herd that is in balance with other resources and uses. The current estimated population of wild horses in the HMA is about 90. This number is based on ground survey completed in May 2011 by volunteers with the Four Corners Backcountry Horsemen and includes the 2011 foal crop. 

The appropriate management level identified for the population in this HMA is between 35 to 65 wild horses.  Up to 10 of the captured adult horses will be released to maintain herd population within the established appropriate management level.   The application of the contraceptive porcine zona pellucida will be administered to mares released back into the HMA.

Wild horse numbers have increased an average of 23 percent per year since the HMA was gathered in 2007, thereby reducing the frequency of gathers.

About 25 of the wild horses gathered will be available for adoption through BLM’s wild horse and burro program.  The adoption will be held at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 24 at 9 a.m. in Cortez. Individuals interested in adopting a horse must meet corral and shelter requirements.  These standards are at https://www.blm.gov/adoptahorse/requirements.php. The wild horses not adopted will be placed in long-term pastures.

“We are dedicated to managing a healthy wild horse herd in the Dolores Field Office that is in balance with other public land uses and resources,” said Tom Rice, BLM Associate Field Manager.

Copies of the environmental assessment and decision record are available at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/sjplc/wild_horses.html or by contacting the Dolores Field Office at (970) 882-6843.

Under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, BLM manages, protects, and controls wild horses and burros as part of its overall multiple-use mission.  The Bureau works to ensure that population levels are in balance with rangeland resources and other uses of the public lands. Wild horses have virtually no predators and can double in population about every four years if not managed.

BLM manages four Herd Management Areas in western Colorado for wild horse herds: the Piceance-East Douglas Herd west of Meeker, the Little Bookcliffs Herd northeast of Grand Junction, the Sand Wash Herd west of Craig and the Spring Creek Herd southwest of Norwood. BLM encourages those who are interested in providing good homes to wild horses or burros to visit http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro.html for information about adoptions or sales.

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, Spring Creek HMA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Piceance-East Douglas EA Comments ***DUE TODAY*** by Close of Business, August 08, 2011

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on August 8, 2011

Release Date: 07/11/11 Contacts: James Roberts at 970-878-3873 or Melissa Kindall at 970-878-3842 or Tom Alvarez, Public Affairs Specialist, (970) 244-3097                                                                  

Environmental Assessment for Piceance-East Douglas Wild Horse Gather Available for Public Comment

Meeker, Colo. — The Bureau of Land Management, Northwest District, White River Field Office (WRFO) is releasing a preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area Wild Horse Gather Plan for public review and comment. The gather is needed to help balance wild horse populations with other resources, restrict wild horses from areas where they were not “presently found” at the passage of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act and to manage wild horses within the area designated for long-term wild horse management.   

The WRFO manages wild horses within the 190,130 acre Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area (HMA), located in Rio Blanco County, Colorado. The Appropriate Management Level (AML) in the HMA is 135-235 wild horses. The Proposed Action analyzes the impacts of gathering the current estimated population of 382 wild horses from inside and 78 wild horses from outside the HMA; to implement fertility control, sex ratio adjustments, and a selective removal of excess wild horses. If the Proposed Action is fully successful, the HMA will consist of approximately 135 wild horses; the lower range of the appropriate management level of 135 to 235 wild horses. The BLM would select the 135 wild horses to maintain a diverse age structure, herd character, body type (conformation) and implement a sex ratio adjustment of 60 percent studs to 40 percent mares.  All mares, over two years of age, released back to the HMA would be treated with Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP) immunocontraception (fertility) drugs.  In addition, the BLM has fully analyzed three additional alternatives to the Proposed Action to address issues and concerns brought forward during the initial scoping process. 

“The Bureau of Land Management is tasked with managing our rangelands for a variety of uses. Providing management for a healthy wild horse herd within the HMA so the thriving natural ecological balance is maintained for all plant and animal species on that range, in conjunction with all other resource uses, it is one of our most important responsibilities to the American public and public land users. The public’s participation in this analysis process is vital to the decision making process,” said Kent Walter, Field Manager for the White River Field Office.

The gather EA can be found on the BLM WRFO website at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/wrfo/piceance_-_east_douglas.html, and selecting Preliminary Environmental Assessment DOI-BLM-CO-110-2011-0058-EA. All comments must be submitted in writing and received by the WRFO by the close of business on August 8, 2011. Comments may be sent via e-mail to mkindall@blm.gov  with “Wild Horse Removal Plan” in the subject line of the email. Comments can also be sent by regular mail to the Bureau of Land Management, White River Field Office: attention Melissa Kindall, 220 East Market Street, Meeker, CO. 81641. For additional questions or information please contact James Roberts at 970-878-3873 or Melissa Kindall at 970-878-3842.

White River Field Office Home Page
Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area Wild Horse Gather

Environmental Assessments
Previous Environmental Assessments
Reference Documents

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, Piceance East Douglas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

trueCowboy Magazine, featuring Mighty Mouse the Mustang, August 2011 Edition

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on August 7, 2011

Click here ( www.truecowboymagazine.com ) to download August issue featuring our Buckle Bunny Jessica Jean Tourino.

  • My Path to the Wild Mustangs…Tom Doody
  • Sergeant Reckless…Robin Hutton
  • Mighty Mouse the Mustang…Tracie Lynn Thompson

and more!  Click on the lower right hand corners of right pages to turn…ENJOY! Saddle Up & subscribe at www.truecowboymagazine.com and show your support of our mission to save our wild mustangs!

 

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, Mighty Mouse the Mustang | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »