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BLM Press Release: BLM Proposes National Academy of Sciences Study

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on August 27, 2010

Bureau of Land Management                           
Contact: Tom Gorey, 202-912-7420
Mary Knapp, 202-912-7418
For immediate release: August 27, 2010

BLM Proposes National Academy of Sciences Study

The BLM has asked the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NAS/NRC) to make an independent technical review of the Wild Horse & Burro (WH&B) Program to ensure that the BLM is using the best science available in managing wild horses and burros on Western rangelands.
The NAS/NRC has previously reviewed the BLM’s management of the WH&B Program and produced three separate reports; however, these reports are now 20 to 30 years old. In those reports, the NAS/NRC summarized what was known about wild horses and burros and made recommendations to the BLM for WH&B management, population estimation, and further research.
In the proposed effort, many of the topics discussed in the earlier reports would be included, such as population estimation methods, annual herd growth rates, population control measures, and whether populations will self-limit, as well as other subjects needing new research.
To sort through the many diverse and often conflicting opinions about how wild horses and burros should be managed, the BLM must continue to base its decisions on the best available science and involve the public in its decision-making process.  Commissioning the NAS/NRC to review their three earlier reports and the current available information and research about wild horses and burros is a first step.  A second step is to ask the NAS/NRC to make recommendations about future WH&B management and needed research. A third step is to take the NAS/NRC findings and recommendations and make them available to the public in a variety of ways, perhaps to focus groups or science forums.
Both the BLM and NAS/NRC will negotiate the terms and outline for the research study.  The proposed study would tentatively begin about January 01, 2011, and would cost the BLM about $1.5 million and take about two years to complete.
Congress created the NAS/NRC to be a non-Federal, not-for-profit source of scientific advice.  The NAS/NRC enlists the nation’s foremost scientists, engineers, health professionals and other experts to address the scientific and technical aspects of society’s most pressing problems.  Each year, thousands of these experts are selected to serve, without pay, on hundreds of study committees.
The BLM manages more land – more than 245 million acres – than any other Federal agency.  This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska.  The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.  The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.  The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by
conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.


5 Responses to “BLM Press Release: BLM Proposes National Academy of Sciences Study”

  1. Is there ever outside overseeing of this rogue agency?

    • If you are referring to BLM, the answer is yes, the GAO. As well, UC Davis and other collegiate institutions along with HSUS make observations with recommendations to follow. Those recommendations have been taken into consideration and several of them have been implemented over the past 10 years.
      Take a long, hard look at the WH&B Program 10 years ago. It ain’t pretty. Look at just 5 yearts ago. It had improved some – yes – but it was still very out of compliance.
      Now, what we are seeing is the best and most humane program in its history. No, not by any means am I saying the current Program is acceptable, but I am saying that its a damn sight better than what it was. I do believe with all I’ve got in me that one day there will be a truly humane and compliant WH&B Program. It may not be in the month, year, or – God forbid – the next decade. But, it will happen. I will not give up. Hundreds of other Animal Protection Advocates will not give up. We just can’t.
      What we can do is remain steadfast in our convictions of the truth – and nothing but the truth – based on herd evidence and factual evidence versus conjecture and unproven theories.
      Opinion and objectivity is one thing. Judgment and persecution is a whole other situation.

  2. theandbetween said

    Nice try, BLM, but at the current pace of round ups, removals and zero outs, in two years there will be no wild horses or burros left in the wild to manage or to study. The very fact that it took “20 to 30 years” for the managers to question whether they were using “the best science available” and ask for an independent evaluation demonstrates that the BLM is not entitled to the discretion given the executive branch by the judiciary and Congress.

    If President Obama or his delegates Salazar or Abbey had announced an immediate moratorium now pending the results of an NAS/NRC study, this proposal might have some weight and significance. As it is, this is just more of the same, “signifying nothing.”

  3. theandbetween said

    Sorry, I meant to add: I am not the first to ask, but when did the oft-reported “265 million acres” of public land managed by the BLM become the “245 million acres” described in Mr. Gorey’s release?

    According to the release posted above, “The BLM manages more land – more than 245 million acres – than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.”

    A June 2009 GAO “Report to the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, however, states the “BLM, within Interior, manages more land—265 million acres—than any other federal agency. The land BLM manages is primarily located in 12 western states, including Alaska. With a total budget of about $1 billion,BLM also administers 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estates (rights) throughout the nation.”

    The “about 1 billion” budget number is unchanged from the GAO report to the BLM release, as is the “700 million acres of subsurface” rights number, but the “265 million” surface acres reported by the GAO last year is now described as “245 million” by the BLM. Is that a typo in the BLM release? Did the GAO undercount BLM-managed public land by 20 million acres? Or did the BLM exchange or transfer 20 million acres of public land into private holdings between June 2009 and today?

  4. Jan said

    i saw on tv how the world wildlife fund in africa is helping local people count the animals in their area and the fund pays them to count the animals – all species – they take photos and make notes in journals and send to the wildlife group and they do the counting via computers so they will know exacty how many numbers of each species exist in a given area – dont know why the blm cant do the same – sure people from the world wildlife fund would be happy to help – dont know if they would ask blm for money or not since the fund is a private group funded by donations – why cant the humane society go in and count – or knowledgable horse people – somebody other than someone from the blm who will probably screw the numbers so they can make another round up necessary in a given area

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