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Archive for the ‘BLM’ Category

New Research: Cattle vs. Wildlife

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on February 22, 2012


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:
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:
Thanks to everyone who supports these kinds of emergency activities.
“:O) Willis

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

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 »

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
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

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


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.”
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    775-353-3613
***Governor Brian Sandoval  (Contact information page)

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

Thanks for caring.


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: 
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, 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,

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: 
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

Document            Interested Party Letter           

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  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  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.



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

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 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


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**


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:

Updates and information will be available at: 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 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 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 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, 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  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 ( ) 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 and show your support of our mission to save our wild mustangs!


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

White Mountain & Little Colorado HMAs Gather

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on August 6, 2011

Release Date: 08/05/11 Contacts: Serena Baker, 307-212-0197

White Mountain/Little Colorado Wild Horse Gather Decision

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will gather the White Mountain and Little Colorado (WMLC) Herd Management Areas (HMA). BLM Rock Springs Field Office released a decision record to remove excess wild horses to the low appropriate management level as the proposed action. This replaces the decision of June 22, 2011The decision authorizes gathering approximately 90 percent (or about 873 wild horses), removing roughly 696 excess wild horses, leaving 205 wild horses in the White Mountain HMA, and 69 wild horses in the Little Colorado HMA. All mares released to the HMAs would be treated with the Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP) vaccine. Sex ratios would also be adjusted favoring stallions to mares. The gather would reduce the current population of nearly 1,000 wild horses in the WMLC HMAs, which is roughly three times the appropriate management level. The appropriate management level for White Mountain HMA is between 205-300 horses, and for Little Colorado HMA is 69-100. The two HMAs were last gathered in November 2007. The WMLC gather is scheduled to begin within the next 30 days, and is expected to last approximately three weeks. BLM is committed to offering as many public viewing opportunities as possible during the gather. If interested in watching the gather, you must contact Serena Baker,, 307-212-0197, to be added to the anticipated visitors’ log. Only individuals listed on the visitors’ log will be contacted with daily viewing sites, times, and locations of where to meet. All gathered mustangs will be examined by a veterinarian, dewormed, Coggins tested, and given booster shots. The wild horses will then be available for adoption to qualified applicants. Adoption applications and requirements for the White Mountain/Little Colorado gathered horses are available at: more information, visit:

White Mountain & Little Colorado HMAs Gather

FY 2011 

Revised Environmental Assessment

Second Modified Decision – 08/05/11 

Modified Decision – 06/22/11

FY 2010
FY 2007

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, White Mountain & Little Colorado HMAs | Leave a Comment »

BLM horses seized in suspected slaughter ring

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on August 6, 2011

August 5th, 2011 @ 10:00pm
By Amy Joi O’Donoghue

(Video) HELPER  — Federal agents impounded 47 Bureau of Land Management horses Friday at the Port of Entry in Helper, preventing the likelihood of the animals being hauled by truck for slaughter in Mexico, officials said.

Gus Warr, the Utah director of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program, said the horses were safely delivered to the agency’s center in Herriman while the investigation continues.

“There were a number of red flags that went up in the beginning and it remains an active investigation with our agency, the FBI, state agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Warr said.

Multiple people are the target of the investigation, which spreads to Willard where some of the animals were held before being stopped in Carbon County, Warr said.

The sale of the animals occurred on paper at the Herriman facility but involved animals in the agency’s long-term holding pasture in Oklahoma.

A truck hauling horses travels the highway near Helper, Friday, Aug. 5, 2011. The horses were impounded by federal agents at the port of entry. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Unlike the bureau’s adoption program, these animals are direct-sold to buyers under an agreement that includes an intent clause that prohibits subsequent sale for slaughter, Warr said. The horses are 11 years or older and may be bought for use as brood mares, for private equestrian pleasure or simply put out to pasture by the purchaser.

The last U.S. slaughterhouse for horse meat intended for human consumption closed in 2007 under a ban that went into effect that year. The prohibition has not stopped wholesale shipments of live animals to either Canada or Mexico where they are slaughtered for human consumption — mostly to supply overseas markets.

Warr said the BLM is keenly aware of the demand outside of the United States and watches for so-called “kill-buyers” who purchase the horses for such a destiny.

“The BLM is trying to be proactively ahead of the game, which is what happened here,” he said.

But the owner of the truck that was hauling the horses said late Friday that her husband was only helping out a friend by allowing the horses to stay on their property, the DK Ranch in Willard.

KSL News is not naming the woman or her husband because the investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

“We are known for buying slaughter horses,” she said, “but it was just our truck that was being used.”

She said the animals were bound for Texas, but were not going to be slaughtered, adding that the type of truck they were being hauled in was not a slaughter-style truck.

But Warr said the paper trail of where the animals were headed did not match up to the reality of where they were impounded — leading his agency to believe they were intended for slaughter.

“Our primary concern at this point is that they were not going where they were supposed to,” Warr said.


Written by Amy Joi O’Donoghue with contributions from Alex Cabrero.

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 3 Comments »

What’s ‘green’ about destroying our water and knocking birds out of the sky?

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 28, 2011

I’ve attached a copy of a position statement on the proposed Wilson Creek wind farm that was prepared by the Coalition for Nevada’s Wildlife, a sports – hunting group.  I’m forwarding their information as they have researched this project and have identified areas of concern.  Even though they don’t address horses as that is not their focus area (and I’m not sure if any horses are left in the area,) the impacts on wildlife will have a ripple effect across the region.  Furthermore while we clearly are going to see solar and wind projects in the West, we need to insist that they be properly researched and designed so as to have the most minimal impact as possible on our fragile ecosystems.
The deadline for comments appears to be FRIDAY, July 22.  A link to send comments to BLM is provided on the Coalition’s comment paper.  Comments are generally given consideration when they address technical aspects of a project and its EA, so my advice is to pick one or two issues raised by the Coalition and include them in your comment message.
BLM needs to see that there is public interest in seeing that these kinds of projects are done right and that they don’t shift a new burden to the agency and taxpayers resulting from unintended consequences.  Or as a NDoW wildlife biologist once said, “What’s ‘green’ about destroying our water and knocking birds out of the sky?”
Thanks for spending a few minutes on this and passing it on.
“:O) Willis




Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 3 Comments »

The Federal and State Renewable Energy Action Team launched a joint environmental review for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan aimed at streamlining permitting of renewable energy facilities in the California desert.

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 28, 2011

Contact:       Jane Hendron, USFWS, 760-431-9440, ext. 205

Erin Curtis, BLM, 916-978-4622

Susanne Garfield, California Energy Commission, 916-654-4989

William Condon, DFG, 916-654-9937

Date: July 28, 2011

Public Input Wanted on Largest Habitat Conservation Plan

Aims to balance desert conservation and renewable energy development

Sacramento, Calif. – The Federal and State Renewable Energy Action Team (REAT) launched a joint environmental review for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP or Plan) aimed at streamlining permitting of renewable energy facilities in the California desert.

The REAT is preparing a joint Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the DRECP, and the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed amendment to the California Desert Conservation area (CDCA) Plan.

Agencies are looking for public participation as they begin this process, and will hold three public meetings in August to gather input on the proposed Plan.

  • August 16, 2011, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Doubletree Ontario Hotel, Lake Gregory Ballroom, 222 N. Vineyard Ave., Ontario, CA 91764
  • August 24, 2011, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the California Energy Commission, Hearing Room A, 1516 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95814
  • August 24, 2011, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the California Energy Commission, Hearing Room A, 1516 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95814

Remote Attendance and Availability of Documents

Presentations and audio from the scoping meetings will be broadcast by WebEx web meeting service. For details on how to participate by WebEx, please see

DRECP Background

The DRECP is focused on the desert regions and adjacent lands of seven California counties – Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. It is being prepared through an unprecedented collaborative effort between the California Energy Commission, California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service known as the REAT.

The DRECP will result in an efficient and effective biological mitigation and conservation program providing renewable project developers with permit timing and cost certainty under the Federal and California Endangered Species Acts while at the same time preserving, restoring and enhancing natural communities and related ecosystems.

Approximately 22.5 million acres of Federal and non-Federal California desert land in parts of Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties are in the DRECP planning area.

Providing Comments

All interest parties are invited to provide comments and information regarding species to be covered, the range of alternatives to analyze and other issues associated with the DRECP and possible CDCA amendment during the comment period.  Comments and information will be accepted until September 12, 2011.  Comments will be accepted in writing at the scoping meetings and may also be sent to the contacts listed below.

Written comments may be submitted to Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Rd., Suite 101, Carlsbad, CA 92011.  You may also submit comments by email to, and include “Scoping Comments” in the subject line, or by facsimile to 760-431–5902.

Comments may also be submitted in writing to California Energy Commission, Dockets Office, MS-4, Docket No. 09-RENEW E0-01, Scoping Comments, 1516 Ninth St., Sacramento CA 95814-5512.  Or by email to, and include “Docket No. 09-RENEW EO-01/Scoping” in the subject line, or by facsimile to Kristy Chew at 916-654-4421.

At the close of the public comment period, all written comments received by the Federal and State lead agencies will be posted on the internet at  For more information about the DRECP or instructions on submitting a written comment, visit  The REAT anticipates releasing a draft DRECP EIR/EIS for public review and comment in the summer 2012.  The final EIR/EIS is expected to be completed at the end of 2012 and, if approved, permits are expected to be issued at the beginning of 2013.

David C. Briery,
External Affairs
BLM California Desert District
22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos
Moreno Valley, CA 92553
951.697.5220 (office)
951.842.9018 (cell)


Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 21, 2011

Carrol Abel
July 20, 2011

I sat down with Wild Horse Annie today. We had quite the conversation. I complained of how convoluted her law had become, how it was now a life sentence for the very animals it was intended to protect. She listened quietly, never uttering a word. “We really need your help.” I told her. She offered no reply.

The grass surrounding us was cool & refreshing, the day warm & clear. I closed my eyes and imagined a band of wild horses grazing peacefully nearby. How fitting it would have been. But alas! Imaginings are nothing more than imaginings. There were no wild horses and Wild Horse Annie was not going to answer.

Beside me was a small and unassuming grave marker. In that, it was much like the woman buried there. Beneath the name Velma B. Johnston, Wild Horse Annie and the dates March 5, 1912 – June 27, 1977 are three mustangs, running wild and free. As I ran my fingers across the relief and looked closer at the image, I realized there was something unexpectedly ominous portrayed there.

The running mustang trio has reached the edge of a dangerous precipice with no choice left but to jump. The last of the three is rearing and looking over his shoulder as if deciding whether to fight or flee. Tears started flowing when I put the scene in the context of the battle we’re waging today. I started sobbing like a crazy fool and blurted out, “Help me! I don’t know what else to do.”

It was then that a voice came to me, a gentle but strong whisper in my ear.

“FIGHT” it said, “Fight like a wild stallion.”

Carrol Abel

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 2 Comments »

BLM Press Release: BLM to Begin Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas Wild Horse Gather

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 28, 2011

BLM to Begin Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas Wild Horse Gather
Public encouraged to attend, especially on Saturdays
Ely, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko District, Wells Field Office; and BLM Ely District, Egan Field Office will initiate the Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas (HMAs) Wild Horse Gather on or about Thursday, July 7, 2011, to gather and remove approximately 1,726 excess wild horses from in and around the HMAs, and the Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory (WHT), located about 30 miles northwest of Ely and 70 miles southeast of Elko, Nev.
Any horses gathered above targeted removal numbers will be released back to the HMAs and WHT so that the remaining population is within appropriate management level (AML).  The AML for the Triple B HMA is 250-518 wild horses; the AML for the Maverick-Medicine HMA is 166-276 wild horses; the AML for the Antelope Valley HMA west of U.S. Highway 93 is 16-27 wild horses; and the AML for the Cherry Springs WHT is 40-68 wild horses.
Any gathered mares released back to the range will be vaccinated with the PZP-22 (Porcine Zona Pellucida) fertility control vaccine. Additionally, sex ratios of gathered animals to be returned to the HMAs may be adjusted to achieve an approximately 60 percent male/40 percent female ratio. The gather, removal and fertility control are intended to slow wild horse population growth, maintain population size within the appropriate management levels necessary to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands and to extend the time before another gather to remove excess wild horses would be needed.
There will be no closure of the public lands and therefore, public lands within the HMAs and WHT will be open to the public during the gather operations, subject to necessary safety restrictions.  The public is welcome to attend the gather, and is encouraged to attend on Saturdays, when the media and public will have additional interpretive opportunities and can interact with staff.  The BLM has tentatively scheduled the dates of July 9, 16, 23 and 30; and Aug. 6, 13 and 20.  The dates are subject to change depending upon weather and gather operations, and the public is encouraged to check the gather hotline nightly (775-289-1880) for changes in the schedule.  For more information or to sign up, call Tiffany Trodahl, BLM Egan Field Office resource assistant, at (775) 289-1892.  The BLM will also regularly post gather information on its Website at:
The gather will be conducted in close coordination with the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s (NDOA) Brands Division.  The NDOA brand inspectors will verify that all gathered animals are wild horses and burros as defined by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.  Once verified, the brand inspector will provide the BLM a certificate to transport the animals. Without this cooperation and coordination, the BLM would not be able to remove the excess wild horses and burros which, if not removed in a timely manner, would result in degradation of our native rangelands.  The NDOA also may take jurisdiction of any estray, branded or abandoned domestic horse(s) under the State of Nevada estray laws.
The gathered animals will be transported to either the National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley (PVC), in Reno, Nev.;Gunnison Correctional Facility in Gunnison, Utah; or the Delta Wild Horse Corrals in Delta City, Utah, where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program or for long-term holding. Wild horses for which there is no adoption demand will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter. For more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District public affairs specialist, at (775) 289-1842 or Chris Hanefeld, 775-289-1842 Ely District Office public affairs

Posted in Antelope HMA, BLM, Chokecherry, Daily Posts, Ely FO, FY2011 | Leave a Comment »

High Rock & Calico Gathers to be Conducted Simultaneously…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 24, 2011

BLM Says: “The High Rock Complex Gather is being coordinated with the Calico Complex Gather proposed by the Winnemucca BLM District’s Black Rock Field Office in Fall/Winter 2011.” 

Advocates Ask: “Why?” (rather sarcastically I might add…)

According to the High Rock Complex Gather EA, BLM states the following:

“The benefit of coordinating these wild horse gathers is that it affords the BLM the opportunity to gather wild horses that have moved out of their designated HMAs (due to gather pressure) and have moved into adjacent areas which are subject to different administrative jurisdiction. In the past, horses that have moved out of the prescribed gather area during operations have not been gathered. By coordinating the High Rock and Calico Gathers to occur consecutively, the effective gather area would be increased, thereby improving gather success rates and the ability to achieve the AML within this broader area.”

The High Rock Complex is managed by the Surprise Field Office in California and consists of the Bitner, Fox-Hog, High Rock, Nut Mountain, and Wall Canyon HMAs, along with the Nut Mountain HMA. There is some minuscule light shining at the end of the tunnel though. In the first paragraph of the High Rock EA, BLM states the following:

“The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Surprise Field Office is proposing to implement a population management operation for wild horses in order to achieve desired population levels within the Bitner, Fox-Hog, High Rock, Nut Mountain, and Wall Canyon Herd Management Areas (HMAs), and from adjacent public lands outside of these designated HMAs. This would entail gathering and removing excess horses from four HMAs (Bitner, Fox-Hog, High Rock, and Wall Canyon) and potentially adding horses to one HMA (Nut Mountain). The Nut Mountain HMA did not have excess animals at the time of the last population inventory. All HMAs will be managed for Appropriate Management Levels.”

Whether or not this actually occurs will be the question on everyone’s lips from now until then. The Tri-State MOU includes the following Wild Horse Areas:

  • FWS Oregon: Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge
  • BLM Oregon, Lakeview District: Beatys Butte HMA
  • BLM California, Surprise Field Office: Bitner, Massacre Lakes, Nut Mountain, Wall Canyon, High Rock, Fox Hog HMAs
  • FWS Nevada: Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
  • BLM Nevada, Winnemucca District: Granite, Calico Mountains, Black Rock West, Black Rock East, Warm Springs, McGee Mountain HMAs

Contact Info:

Rolando R. Mendez
Field Manager
Bureau of Land Management
Black Rock Field Office
5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd.
Winnemucca, NV 89445

Comments need to be writing and should reference High Rock Complex Wild Horse Roundup, the specific document you are referencing, and include applicable section or page numbers.

Comments may be mailed toBureau of Land Management Surprise Field Office, P.O. Box 460, Cedarville, CA 96104, or emailed to: CA High Rock Complex Horse Roundup


Tri-State Calico Complex Wild Horse and Burro Gather PEA (Public comment period ends July 18, 2011)

High Rock Complex Wild Horse and Burro Roundup  (Comments will be accepted until July 15, 2011)

For many, many more NEPA documents from the Surprise & Winnemucca Offices, click here…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BLM, Calico Complex Gather 2009-2010, Daily Posts, FY2011, Ruby Pipeline, LLC, Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge | 7 Comments »

BLM Releases Tri-State-Calico Complex WH&B Gather Plan, & Meets with Immediate Opposition…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 16, 2011

More to come on the Calico Complex from TMP soon… T.

BLM Nevada News
FOR RELEASE: June 15, 2011
CONTACT: Lisa Ross at (775) 623-1541,

Preliminary Environmental Assessment Available for Tri-State-Calico Complex Wild Horse Gather

Winnemucca, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Winnemucca District, Black Rock Field Office has prepared a preliminary environmental assessment (EA) for the Tri-State-Calico Complex Wild Horse and Burro Gather Plan. The BLM is proposing to gather approximately 1,298 wild horses and 140 wild burros, of which as many as 268 wild horses would be released back to the range following the gather. The gather area is located northeast of Gerlach, Nev., within Humboldt and Washoe counties. The BLM would appreciate receiving substantive comments on the preliminary EA by July 18, 2011.
In the proposed action, of the wild horses released back to the range, approximately 87 mares would receive a 22-month Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP-22) immunocontraceptive vaccine treatment and 181 studs/geldings would be released due to sex ratio adjustments (60 percent male/40 percent female). The goal is to slow population growth and maintain population size within the appropriate management level, and extend the time before a gather to remove excess wild horses would be needed.
“Keeping the herd population in balance with the available forage and water helps keep these wild horses healthy,” said Rolando Mendez, Black Rock field manager. “It is the BLM’s responsibility to sustain the health of the rangelands, and achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance.” The BLM is proposing to finish the proposed action and decision made in the Calico Mountains Complex Wild Horse Gather Plan from 2010.  Although the Calico Mountains Complex was gathered in Jan. and Feb. 2010, the overall proposed action was not achieved due to winter conditions and wild horse movement within the tri-state area of Nevada, Oregon, and California, which necessitates the need for this follow-up gather.
The BLM estimates there are currently 1,602 wild horses within the Complex and 179 wild burros. The gather is proposed in order to return the wild horse and burro population to within the appropriate management level of 572 to 952 wild horses and 39 to 65 wild burros. The Complex consists of approximately 584,000 acres (public and private) but the gather area consists of approximately 1,041,000 acres to encompass wild horses and burros residing outside of the herd management areas (HMAs).
Wild horses and burros from the Tri-State-Calico Complex would be gathered as a Complex or unit as herds move and interact throughout. The proposed gather is being conducted in conjunction with BLM California’s High Rock Wild Horse Gather, which would take place immediately prior to this proposed gather. This is conducive because both gathers are located within the tri-state area where wild horse movement between these areas exists. The Complex gather involves areas beyond the HMA boundaries as wild horse and burros have moved outside of HMAs in search of forage, water and space, due to the current over-population of wild horses and burros in these areas. The Complex includes the following HMAs: Black Rock Range East, Black Rock Range West, Calico Mountains, Granite Range, Warm Springs Canyon, and McGee Mountain.  The proposed gather is tentatively scheduled to begin in December 2011 and will last approximately 40-50 days.
The document may be reviewed on-line at Printed copies are available upon request from the BLM Winnemucca District Office. Questions and written comments should be directed to: Rolando Mendez, Field Manager, Black Rock Field Office, BLM Winnemucca District, 5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd., Winnemucca, NV 89445-2921.Comments may also be submitted by email to Email messages should include “Tri-State-Calico Complex Gather Plan (Whitman)” in the subject line. Public comments submitted for this project, including names and addresses of commentors will be available for public review at the Winnemucca District Office during regular business hours 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

Immediately following the email distribution of this news, a reply-to-all message was sent:

Do you have any other documentation available to support the conclusions set forth in the EA? Names of the experts, their backgrounds, photographic evidence (specific locations, documented on the ground photos & aerial) and detailed examples of damage, over use, etc.? Please provide the methodology used to calculate the numbers of Wild Horses on the various ranges; dates, times, and methods used and the specific individuals utilized and their professional backgrounds. Do you have a new and specific proposed multi-use plan? If yes, please provide?
Best regards,
William M. LeRoy, President & CEO
American Legal & Financial Network® (ALFN®)

Posted in BLM, Calico Complex Gather 2009-2010, Daily Posts, Ruby Pipeline, LLC, You Be the Judge Series | 5 Comments »

Will it ever change?

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 10, 2011

I was working on the TMP website today, updating things and fixing bugs. I came across our page “Clarification of My Position” that contains my speech prepared for the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Meeting, Reno, NV, in December 2009. As most of you know, I did not make it to that meeting. Texas hadn’t had snow in years, but it certainly came in that week.

Today, I found myself re-reading the statement I had prepared, and I realized that it was just as pertinent now as it was then. This is a very sad realization. So, in the interest of putting it out there and trying to reconcile some of the differences we see so much of still, here is that statement again. MF*T*

I do not affiliate myself with any one advocacy group or organization at this time because I do not personally agree with any one of the groups and organizations that have approached me with this proposition. I do not feel as though it would be fair to the wild horses and burros to devote any of my energies whatsoever toward the non-efficient and ill-fated blaming sessions that are so common in this campaign. In the end, the wild horses and burros are the ones who ultimately suffer. I also do not feel as though my participation from an internal standpoint would be beneficial to any party involved based on the knowledge of conflict of opinions between myself and other members at this time. The energies put forth should be directed at the ultimate goal, not toward conflict of any kind. I do not affiliate myself with any government agency or organization at this time for these same reasons.

However, I do feel as though the path to a viable and clear solution involves all of the voices among the sides of this situation. Each person has a voice, and each voice should be heard. In those voices, we can glean the information we need to come to the best possible conclusion for the wild horses and burros. We can use this information along with the information we have readily available to us to promote better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication.

I agree with the BLM’s mandate of protection and management of the wild horses and burros due to the need to maintain a balance of the ecological systems wherein they reside through population control. I do not agree with the methods currently in place to facilitate that mandate. To members of the BLM, the National Wild Horse and Burro Program, the Advisory Board, and to all other members of their affiliates, I put forth the following statements:

•No horse or burro should ever be struck with any object in an attempt to “make” him perform an intended task. He is a sentient being. He should not be struck for any reason by the hands of man. There are other ways to communicate without violence. The wild horses and burros have shown and taught mankind the language of Equus. It was only discovered by those members of mankind with an open mind to actually stop and see the fascinating methods of communication among the different members of the herds. Through this language, members speak as clearly as you and I are speaking now and its discovery has brought about an entirely new form of interspecies communication called Natural Horsemanship.

•No horse or burro should ever be pushed to step on or trample another member of his herd in an attempt to “speed things along”. Again, these are living and breathing creatures who do feel pain and who do feel emotion. There is no time schedule whose strictness is important enough that it causes injury or death to another creature simply because of man’s impatience or quest for promptness, efficiency or budget constraints. I ask you to place yourself in his place for just a moment. Imagine that you were forced to harm a member of your own family. There is no difference simply because we are human. These animals have a family bond that is unlike no other. Just because it is not understood by some members of mankind does not mean that it is any less real.

•No horse or burro should ever be placed in a position, physically, mentally or emotionally, where he will be forced to resort to fight or flight instincts. Mankind seems to forget somewhere along the path that we are not the rulers of any universe; we are the cohabitants of this universe. We do not have the right to force our hand on another soul with the misguided notion that we are somehow superior. Let us not forget that it is only through the blood, sweat, and sacrifice of these animals that we are in this very location today. Without their help, Lewis and Clark might’ve never made it to this range and we could all still be in the prehistoric era of our evolutionary timeline.

I agree with the various advocacy groups and organizations whose mission statements correlate with the mandate of better protection and management of wild horses and burros. I do not agree with the extremist point of view mission statements, nor do I agree with the opinion of letting nature take its course. To members of these groups, I put forth the following statements:

•If you want protection for the wild horses and burros, understand that with that protection comes management. You cannot have one without the other. Without protection, they are vulnerable to the cruelties of mankind’s lower and colder hearted members who would exploit these magnificent animals for their own profit and gain. In the process, the wild horses and burros would be subjected to unimaginable cruelties and inhumanities. With protection, they are not subjected to this situation at the hands of these members of society. They are however subjected to lesser cruelties and inhumanities by their managers. This is where we need compromise the most, from both sides.

•The facts are evident at this point in time that we cannot allow nature to take its course where the wild horses and burros are concerned due to the facts that mankind has altered the course of nature with its continual evolutionary processes and growth towards cleaner and brighter futures for our children and grandchildren, among other causes. As a result, the course that nature would have originally taken no longer exists. Therefore, the argument of simply letting nature take its course is not a valid position. Were this allowed to take place, the congregation of wild horses and burros would surely become extinct in a matter of a few decades. Furthermore, this process would be one of a greater pain and suffering that we see now at the hands of their managers.

•Remember that even though the wild horses and burros are our passion and point of interest, they are not the only integral parts of the natural system which they inhabit. There are other members of this ecological system who are equally as important as those members who have stolen our hearts. Just because the horses and burros are the sources of our passions does not give them immunity from the imbalance that their existence sometimes contributes to.

•If you start with misinformation, realize the error of your ways and work to correct them. Do not allow pride to cloud your judgment resulting in a non-factually based proposal. Find all the information possible to make your decision one that comes from a well informed standpoint. Do not stop with just the information needed to support a decision that best benefits you, individually or as a group. Remember that you are not the ones in danger, and that your ignorance of all information available does not physically cause you harm. The wild horses and burros are the ones who pay your debt of ignorance.

Finally, to all parties involved, I put forth the following statement:

•Where mankind is involved so shall there be error. This is inevitable. Therefore, I take this opportunity to remind you all of the fact that we are all human; we will all make mistakes. Our ultimate goal in any quest should be that we make the best decisions possible with all of the information we can gather in order to effect the end result with the least amount of adverse reactions possible. There are those among us today who have made the statement over and over of how they would have performed in a more suitable manner than the ones next to them if only they had been given the chance. This is usually a statement made with great pride. I say to you here and now: it is only with humility in our hearts that we can listen with an open mind to the plight of another and take that plight to the next step of positive action. Let he who has no sin cast the first stone. But let he who has humility in his heart be the one to wipe away the tears of the one who was struck with humility and with a kindness that does not expect any reward in return.

I do not disagree 100 percent with the BLM’s officials, personnel, or their mandates. I do not disagree 100 percent with the advocacy groups, organizations, or the individuals. I only agree with those members of the aforementioned persons who are willing to look at all sides of the information and who work toward the common goal of better protection and management of the wild horses and burros diplomatically. It is only through this cooperation that we can attain that goal. There is no completely right answer. There is no completely wrong answer. The job that we have all signed on to perform is to come to the best possible solution by taking the best points from the many answers and the vastness of information available and putting them forth into positive actions.

Because of my position, I have been accused of “riding the fence” by members of both sides of this argument. I put forth the consideration that there are many sides to this argument, not just two. Even among those of us present, there are different views among the individuals involved. You cannot say that your views are exactly the same as the person sitting next to you, nor could they say the same. There is nothing wrong with this. There is everything right with this. The key to the puzzle is how we go about using all of the views toward our common goal. The answer is that we use all of the views productively and with an attitude of acceptance. Accept that we are not going to get our way every time, and that this is ok. This is not a game. This is reality. This is the reality of lives, literally lives at stake, dependent upon our ability to reconcile our differences, work together, and compromise for the best possible outcome.

I am by no means without guilt in this situation nor do I proclaim to be such. I too have participated in the very actions that I speak out against in this statement in the respect of the “blaming game”. For that, I do apologize and ask forgiveness to all of those whom I have affected with these behaviors. However, I do not feel that the mistakes of mankind should be debts paid by innocent creatures.

It is not my wish or intent that this statement is taken as an insult or in a condescending manner. It is not meant in any derogatory way. My only wish is that we put aside our differences and focus on the reality of the problem at hand, and realize that this is the only problem worth our time and energy where this campaign is concerned. With this approach, I truly believe that we can help our beloved mustangs and burros, and that our children will not only have cleaner energy and brighter futures but will have the opportunity to look out across a rangeland plentiful with the Spirit of the West.

*Update: Over the course of the past couple of years, I have in fact become an ally to a specific advocacy group and its affiliates. The Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates (AOWHO) is a group that has stolen my heart and much of my time. Their program – the Least Resistance Training Concepts (LRTC) Wild Horse Mentors (WHM) – is one of inestimable value.  As most of you know, I am a Natural Horsemanship / Equus Trainer and Instructor. I firmly believe that manners are a two way street; if you treat your horse with respect, he will respect you. LRTC WHM are of the same belief system. More specifically, they’re goals are all about the American Wild Mustang. Their Mission Statement says it all: “To ensure appropriate and safe homes for adopted animals and a satisfying experience for adopters by providing pertinent education and mentoring assistance, and to develop programs that preserve viable herds on the range.” The group and it’s allies have received quite a bit of criticism over the years. Specifically, they have been wrongly “labeled” as BLM sympathizers, “on the BLM payroll”, etc. I find this to be very disheartening. The lives of Mustangs that have been saved over the years through this program can’t be truly counted. In order to accomplish the saving of these lives, certain relationships and cooperation with BLM / WH&B were required. What I don’t understand is how anyone could claim that AOWHO, LRTC, or WHM is in the wrong for doing so. LIVES WERE SAVED. ‘NUFF SAID. MF*T*

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