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Archive for the ‘FY2011’ Category

Craig Downer Responds to Pancake Complex PEA

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on October 24, 2011

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

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

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

Dear Mr. Medlyn:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely yours,

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

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

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 »

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: www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/ely_field_office.html.
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 chanefel@blm.gov. 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
775.623.1500
e-mail: Tri-State-Calico_Complex@blm.gov

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

Documents:

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 »

FY2011 Gather Schedule as of May 23, 2011

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on May 27, 2011

FY2011 Gather Schedule as of May 23, 2011 Available as a pdf from TMP for easier print out. ~T.

2011 Summer Gathers 2011 as of May 23, 2011

State

Agency

HMA / HA

Complex

Start Date

End Date

#Planned

Gathered

#Planned

Removed

Contractor

/BLM

Species

Mares

Treated

w/PZP

#Geldings

/Stallions

Released

NM

FS

Jicarilla

Bait

Trapping

1/1/11

9/28/11

150

150

FS/BT

Horses

 

 

CA

BLM

Centennial

HA

China

Lake

5/27/11

5/31/11

20

20

Cattoor

Burros

 

 

CA

BLM

Slate Range

HA

China

Lake

5/27/11

5/31/11

38

38

Cattoor

Burros

 

 

OR

BLM

Kiger

 

7/1/11

7/5/11

132

85

Cattoor

Horses

 

 

NV

BLM

 

Buck/Bald

Complex

7/1/11

8/16/11

1,687

1,579

Sun J

Horses

 

108

NV

BLM

Triple B

Buck/Bald

Complex

7/1/11

8/16/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

NV

FS

Cherry

Creek

Buck/Bald

Complex

7/1/11

8/16/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

NV

BLM

Maverick/

Medicine

Buck/Bald

Complex

7/1/11

8/16/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

NV

BLM

Antelope

Valley West

Buck/Bald

Complex

7/1/11

8/16/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

OR

FS

Big

Summit*

Bait

Trapping

7/1/11

9/29/11

50

50

FS/BT

Horses

 

 

OR

FS

Murderers

Creek*

Bait

Trapping

7/1/11

9/29/11

50

50

FS/BT

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Outside

Paisley

Bait

Trapping

7/1/11

9/29/11

10

10

BLM/BT

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Outside

Warm Spring

Bait

Trapping

7/1/11

9/29/11

10

10

BLM/BT

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Riddle

 

7/6/11

7/10/11

87

54

Cattoor

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Jackies

Butte

 

7/12/11

7/17/11

210

135

Cattoor

Horses

 

10

OR

BLM

Three

Fingers

 

7/19/11

7/24/11

210

135

Cattoor

Horses

32

10

UT

BLM

Winter

Ridge HA

 

8/10/11

8/15/11

200

200

Cattoor

Horses

 

 

WY

BLM

Little

Colorado

 

8/17/11

9/6/11

280

241

Cattoor

Horses

23

46

WY

BLM

White

Mountain

 

8/17/11

9/6/11

594

455

Cattoor

Horses

66

139

OR

BLM

 

Barren

Valley

9/10/11

9/30/11

626

258

Sun J

Horses

140

50

OR

BLM

Coyote

/Alvord

Barren

Valley

9/10/11

9/30/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Sheepshead

/Heath

Barren

Valley

9/10/11

9/30/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Sand

Springs

Barren

Valley

9/10/11

9/30/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

CO

BLM

Spring

Creek Basin

 

9/15/11

9/18/11

90

60

Cattoor

Horses

10

 

CO

BLM

Piceance/East Douglas

 

9/20/11

9/30/11

250

250

Cattoor

Horses

 

 

Summer Totals

4694

3780

   

271

363



Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, FY2011 | 3 Comments »