The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

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

Tuscarora Wild Horse Gather

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on May 13, 2010


Tuscarora Wild Horse Gather

BLM News Release Tuscarora Wild Horse Gather Preliminary Environmental Assessment Available for Public Comment (04-26-2010)

(Updated July 10) BLM News Release BLM Issues Temporary Closure on Public Lands During Tuscarora Wild Horse Gather (06-30-2010)

About the Owyhee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas

The three herd management areas (HMAs) are about 80 miles northwest of Elko, Nevada, and encompass more than 482,000 acres of public and private lands in north-central Nevada in Elko County.

Owyhee HMA 336,262 acres public 2,025 private total 338,287 acres
Rock Creek HMA 102,638 acres public 24,115 private total 126,753 acres
Little Humboldt HMA 15,734 acres public 1,417 private total 17,151 acres

The area is located south of the Owyhee Desert area but within the Columbia Plateau and Great Basin physiographic regions. The Great Basin is one of the largest deserts in the world, and is characterized by a high rolling plateau underlain by basal flows covered with thin loess and alluvial mantel. Elevations range from about 5,100 feet to 7,750 feet in the Tuscarora Mountains. Precipitation ranges from 7 inches in the valley bottoms to 16 to 18 inches in the mountains. Most of the precipitation comes during the winter months in the form of snow with the summer months being quite dry. Temperatures range from 90 plus degrees F. in the summer to minus 15 degrees F. in the winter.

The average annual precipitation is often less than 10 inches. Drought conditions can occur as frequently as 6 out of every 10 years. Climate data from the National Weather Service shows that precipitation for the current water year (beginning October 1, 2009) is approximately 30 percent below the thirty-year average. Given the very dry conditions and the expanding wild horse numbers, along with the limited perennial water sources in the Owyhee HMA, the BLM has a very strong concern that wild horses could suffer from dehydration and possible death in the Owyhee HMA this summer if excess wild horses are not removed. This area has a long history of drought conditions, which have resulted in the need to conduct emergency gathers in order to prevent substantial losses of horses due to extremely limited forage and water supplies.

In addition to ongoing drought conditions, the Rock Creek and Little Humboldt HMAs have been severely impacted by catastrophic wildfires. In 2001, the Buffalo Fire burned 21,186 acres, or about 20 percent of the Rock Creek HMA. In 2006, the Winters and Amazon fires burned 238,462 and 108,563 acres respectively, which included about 95 percent of the Rock Creek HMA, and more than 90 percent of the Little Humboldt HMA. As a result, the BLM has conducted numerous emergency gathers to remove horses due to drought and lack of forage and water. 

Questions and Answers

Why is the BLM gathering the Owyhee, Rock Creek, and Little Humboldt herds?
The proposed gather is needed to achieve and maintain the appropriate management level (AML) of wild horses in the Owyhee, Rock Creek, and Little Humboldt and prevent further deterioration resulting from the current overpopulation within the three herd management areas (HMAs) in north-central Nevada. The current wild horse population for the three HMAs is approximately 1,440, which is more than 4 times the low range AML of 337 horses and about 2.5 times the land’s full carrying capacity or high range AML of 561 horses. (Low range of AML is the minimum herd population level; high range AML is the maximum population level that can be sustained by the land in conjunction with other land uses.)
 

Links of Interest

Decision Documents

Current Federal Register Notices

Standards & Guidelines Assessments

Contact Information

Elko District Office
Employee Directory
3900 E. Idaho Street
Elko, NV 89801
Phone: 775-753-0200
Fax: 775-753-0255
Email:
elfoweb@nv.blm.gov
Office hours: 7:30 am-4:30 pm, M-F
District Manager: Ken Miller

Tuscarora Field Office
3900 E. Idaho Street
Elko, NV 89801
Phone: 775-753-0200
Fax: 775-753-0255
Office hours: 7:30 am-4:30 pm, M-F
Field Manager:  David Overcast

Wells Field Office
3900 E. Idaho Street
Elko, NV 89801
Phone: 775-753-0200
Fax: 775-753-0385
Office hours: 7:30 am-4:30 pm, M-F
Field Manager: Bryan Fuell

Elko Horse Management Areas (HMA’s) 

Elko and Wells Resource Areas Planning Documents

1983 DRAFT Wells RMP and EIS
1983 Proposed Wells RMP and Final EIS
1985 Approved Wells RMP Record of Decision
1986 Wells Resource Area Rangeland Program Summary
1987 Wells Resource Area Wilderness Final Environmental Impact Statement

1985 DRAFT Elko RMP and EIS
1986 Proposed Elko RMP and Final EIS
1987 Approved Elko RMP Record of Decision
1987 Elko Resource Area Rangeland Program Summary
1987 Elko Resource Area Wilderness Final Environmental Impact Statement

1992 Wells RMP Proposed Wild Horse Amendment and Environmental Assessment
1993 Wells RMP Approved Wild Horse Amendment
1995 Wells RMP Proposed Elk Amendment and Environmental Assessment
1996 Wells RMP Approved Elk Amendment and Decision Record

2003 Elko RMP Proposed Wild Horse Amendment (Plus Maps) and Environmental Assessment
2003 Elko RMP Approved Wild Horse Amendment(Plus Maps)

1998 Elko Programmatic EA, Integrated Weed Management
2000 Elko Programmatic EA, Vegetation Treatment by Fire

1998 Wells Programmatic EA, Integrated Weed Management
2000 Wells Programmatic EA, Vegetation Treatment by Fire

2003 Elko & Wells RMPs Proposed Fire Amendment and EA
2003 Elko & Wells RMPs FireAmendment ESA Biological Assessment
2004 Elko & Wells RMPs Fire Amendment ESA Biological Opinion

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10 Responses to “Tuscarora Wild Horse Gather”

  1. Anna said

    The BLM wrote:

    Given the very dry conditions and the expanding wild horse numbers, along with the limited perennial water sources in the Owyhee HMA, the BLM has a very strong concern that wild horses could suffer from dehydration and possible death in the Owyhee HMA this summer if excess wild horses are not removed. This area has a long history of drought conditions, which have resulted in the need to conduct emergency gathers in order to prevent substantial losses of horses due to extremely limited forage and water supplies.

    Anne’s comment: IF THE PURPOSE OF THE ROUNDUPS IS TO SAVE MUSTANGS FROM PERISHING DUE TO ANY CAUSE THEN WHY HAVE 87 (85 ADULT MUSTANGS AND AT LEAST 2 FOALS) PERISHED *AFTER THE ROUNDUP*…
    IF THE PURPOSE IS TO SAVE THEM FROM PERISHING WHY HAS ROUNDING THEM UP CAUSED 87 TO PERISH; including countless foals?
    THAT IS NOT SAVING THE MUSTANGS! ANNE

  2. SHIRLEY LE GARDE said

    I have one question to ask. If horses are being zoned out of these areas then how many cattle are taking their place. It is the excuse get rid of the horses so we can move in the cattle. Also, does the BLM really know the amount of horses in these areas or is it just another made up figure?

  3. sandra longley said

    It is my understanding there are 4,000 head of cattle on these HMAs who apparently have humps on their backs to store water-OR they are given access to water the horses are not.This is the TYPICAL EA which is a mimeographed copy of the last one and the one before that…Its a FRICKIN desert meathead..we know its dry..get your fricking cattle off of there..go BUY some land like the rest of us do-to run your stock on.!!!

  4. LOUIE COCROFT said

    HAVEN’T WE JUST HAD THE WETTEST WINTER IN SEVERAL YEARS?

    • sandra longley said

      Absolutely, grass is knee high..went across the desert yesterday-its all green. I woke up this morning thinking about those horses standing in those pens smelling that green grass in the wind.

  5. A few things come to mind.

    First of all, for proper context the horses in the pens don’t have much grass to smell. Where they are held is pretty much surrounded by sand, sagebrush and rattlesnakes. Nonetheless I think we all can agree that many of those horses shouldn’t be there.

    I haven’t had a chance yet to dig into the Tuscarora gather documents. We’ve been pretty busy with orphan foals and public activities. However one thing immediately jumped out and that was the “News Article” link at the bottom of the Tuscarora web page. This isn’t a news article but an opinion piece captured off of RGJ.com and “packaged” to look like a news article. That kind of subjective lobbying for public and legislative support is at minimum inappropriate and is indicative of how the wild horse debate drifts away from facts and science.

    I have submitted a complaint to BLM regarding this matter.

  6. LOUIE COCROFT said

    WILLIS, THIS IS WHY IT SO MATTERS THAT ADVOCATES WHO LIVE IN THE AREAS CAN SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. I SAW A LOT OF LETTERS FROM PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY LIVE IN NEW MEXICO AND CAN GIVE ADVOCATES FROM OTHER STATES ACCURATE INFORMATION.

  7. LOUIE COCROFT said

    I HAVE LEARNED MORE ABOUT THE GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATES OF THE STATES FROM THESE BLOGS THAN I EVER LEARNED IN SCHOOL. IT IS THE NEXT BEST THING TO ACTUALLY GOING THERE. YOU ALSO GET A “FEEL” FOR THE PEOPLE–SOMETHING YOU DON’T GET FROM A GOV. DOCUMENT.

  8. LOUIE COCROFT said

    THEY DO HAVE DO HAVE A PUBLIC MEETING REGARDING USE OF HELICOPTERS AND MOTORIZED VEHICLES. LAST ONE WAS A YEAR AGO–THEY SHOULD BE DUE FOR ONE AGAIN. NEEDS TO BE MADE REAL PUBLIC.

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