The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

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

NBWC / Pine Nut / Fallon Updates

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on December 6, 2010


Sorry I’ve been off the web for a few days.  I was at the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners 2-day meeting.  Saw some skullduggery involving the Commission launching an attempt to prevent BLM from being able to use water on public lands for wild horses and to stop Madeline Pickens’ wild horse sanctuary project.  A lot of misinformation was presented.
There is a two point strategy involved.  First, the Commission intends to try to get the State Engineer to rule that wild horses are neither wildlife or domestic livestock and therefore water cannot be appropriated for them.  Then, if the Feds successfully bring forth the argument of reserved water usage, the Commission will likely argue that the reservation only applies to horses within established AML and BLM cannot use water for any horses above established AML.  The Commission seems to have taken the Federal policy of consultation with state wildlife agencies to mean submission to state wildlife agencies.  There is, of course, a legitimate concern that appropriation of water by BLM won’t adversely impact water availability for wildlife, but the Commission has stepped far beyond that principle.
The Commission appeared disinterested in either the operational or political aspects to the Pickens’ project.  Their fears, rational or not, seem to surround the possible loss of hunting on the public lands that would be involved in this project.  My input was that Mrs. Pickens appeared to presently be sensitive and open to local concerns however a hard line confrontation is not how the Commission will generate meaningful dialogue.  In the end they decided to be confrontational tough guys.
Advocates need to stand up firmly in support of BLM on both of these issues.  One of the Wild Horse Preservation League members is filing a complaint with the Nevada AG over what appear to be improprieties and violations of Nevada’s Public Meeting Law by the Commission’s Feral Horse Committee when they produced the documents presented to the Commission (i.e., actions not on the agenda, actions not properly agendized and refusal to provide copies of documents to the public present at the Committee meeting.)  Also, while these two issues are potentially significant, they did not receive much public attention since the big issue this weekend involved the bear hunt.
Who has water rights and learning about the potential impacts of the Pickens’ proposal on wildlife are legitimate concerns, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about this.  Plus where this goes could impact other sanctuary and alternative habitat projects.  Documents made available to the public have been provided to BLM and hopefully they will respond quickly in protecting the bureau’s interests. (See Gibbon’s Feral Horse Wildlife Committee Document & Proposal for Sanctuary for Horses – Nevada Wildlife Commissioners.)
– – –
“Ranger” (for “The Lone Ranger,”) the foal from the Pine Nut TT&R operation that didn’t pair up with a mare will be picked up and will stay for a while at LRTC’s Lucky Horse Corrals.  Shirley Allen and the volunteers will get this foal settled so he can be delivered to a well-qualified new adopter who has stepped up.  Ranger is now taken care of but there are also some very nice horses of various ages from the Lahontan and Buckskin ranges that would make great adoptees, and there are a couple of skilled “graduates” from NDoC’s Inmate Horse Training Program who can certainly help get someone’s new horse settled, haltered and under saddle if a horse ends up adopted in the Reno / Carson City / Lyon County area.
– – –
I want to clarify for all concerned that Saturday’s horse sale in Fallon involved Pyramid Paiute horses, _NOT_ BLM horses.  Jill Starr / Lifesavers was able to acquire the mare and foal pairs from that sale – close to 100 horses total.
– – –
More will be posted on these issues as we get a handle on what’s going on.
“:O) Willis

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3 Responses to “NBWC / Pine Nut / Fallon Updates”

  1. betty said

    This post makes it clear where the villainy lies!

  2. Puller Lanigan said

    Thanks Willis. Do ranchers have to go through this same mud pit when they want to graze cattle? Or sheep? It never occurred to me that there might be AMLs imposed on domestic livestock. I am also questioning how a state can restrict public water to animals protected by Federal law, unless NVWC feels the horses are ??? strays? LOL, on Federal (or is this State?) land? Is the Paiute rez adjacent to any of these lands?

    It seems they are really playing their cards fast and furious.

    • If ranchers graze on public lands, they are subject to AUMs (animal unit months, or 1/12th of an AML since most livestock are only on the range for partial years.) On private lands they can do whatever they want.

      Here’s the sleazy part.

      Some of us can recall at being at WHB Advisory Board meetings and the like and hearing ranching interests complain about the horses being out all year while their cattle are only out for a few months, and that the horses are hard on the land because they are out all year including when the new grass germinates. Sounds on the surface like a rational argument.

      But look at the grazing permits. They’re not permitted year-round but a bunch of them run in periods like from October through March. Guess what? That’s when the grasses germinate. These guys get to rest their private lands to get a better grass crop while they put cattle out (in some cases) during the most sensitive months of the year. What a great deal if you can get it. And what hipocrisy. Not all cattle permits are like that but the horse advocates have in the past minded their manners and haven’t asked why the cattle aren’t required to wait until the grasses mature before being allowed out on public lands.

      I can handle that until a few of these guys try to run a double standard, but that’s what many people regard as the “welfare mentality.”

      BTW, can anyone take in some weanlings / yearlings to gentle and readopt? It looks like the Pyramid Paiutes will hand the next batch of youngsters and a few nursing mare / foal pairs to the horse groups instead of putting them in the sale, some 130+ horses. These are pretty nice horses. One we took in a few years ago was Western States WHB Expo halter champion and is now a nice saddle horse. If different groups could take about 10 to 12 horses each, we could at least keep the young ones from going to the kill buyers.

      “:O) Willis

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