Saturday, October 20, 2007

Land of the Lawless

Speaking of Wyoming, another wild horse round up is being planned, this time for the White Mountain and Little Colorado Herd Management Areas (HMA).

Spewing statistical spin of seismic proportions, the Rock Springs Field Office offers us a solid look into the fantasy world of wild horse and burro “management”.

Remember the public law that Congress enacted in 1971 stating the areas wild horses and burros “where presently found” would be preserved for their protection?

White Mountain Herd Management Area
In 2004, BLM reported that just the public lands for the White Mountain Herd Area covered more than 900k acres and totaled over 1.9 million when all the “other” acreage was combined. In 2005, almost 700k acres of the originally protected “public land” mysteriously disappeared and over 1.5 million total acres for the White Mountain herds is now gone.

The White Mountain wild horses were last removed in November 2003, where again BLM confidently reported a remaining population of 205. While reproduction rates seemed normal for the next few years, suddenly the population exploded between 2006 and 2007, jumping from 295 to 817. Based on the 20% reproductive rate BLM asserts in the Assessment, the wild horse population should only be 425.

BLM claims the current population is based on direct counts, not on the new census technique they have been working with USGS on for the last few years.

So where did all these wild horses come from if BLM was so confident just 4 years ago that they had removed them to the “appropriate” number?

The maximum allowable management level for the White Mountain herds is 300 wild horses and they have been issued 3,600 AUMs of forage compared to the 185,429 AUMs given to livestock operations in the area - only 2% of the food.

Little Colorado Herd Management Area
The Little Colorado wild horses also had 153k acres of their originally “protected habitat” disappear between 2004 and 2005.

Last removed in November 2003, BLM stated 74 wild horses remained. Though BLM cites the herds move freely back and forth, the Little Colorado population didn’t see quite the dramatic population explosion the White Mountain herds did, jumping from merely 69 four years ago to 182 today. (only 40 more horses than 20% would yield.)

The maximum allowable management level for the Little Colorado wild horses is 100 and they have been issued 1,200 AUMs of forage compared to the 40,088 AUMs given to livestock operations in the area - again only 2% of the food.

With a combined allowable management level not to exceed 400, the wild horses have now become excessive, infringing on the 42,500 pronghorn antelope, 31,000 mule deer, 2,900 elk, and 8 livestock allotments that overlap their “federally protected range”. (Update-Original article had a typo of 80 livestock allotments occuring in the HMAs. Apologies for any confusion that has resulted from this error.)

This is the only environmental assessment that will be issued as round ups are scheduled to begin on or about November 1, 2007.

Assuring the public that all comments and input will be seriously considered despite the round up already carved in stone, our only option is to tell BLM if we would like PZP injected into the herds or not. If PZP is used, this will be the first time for these wild ones.

The White Mountain and Little Colorado Wild Horse Removal Assessment can be viewed at:

Public input and comments are due by Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Environmental Assessment # WY-040-EA07-254
Be sure to include the name of the herds and this reference # in your submission.

Jay D’Ewart-Wild Horse & Burro Specialist
BLM, Rock Springs Field Office
280 Highway 191 North
Rock Springs, Wyoming 82901
Phone: (307) 352-0331
Fax: (307) 352-0329

All statistics taken from Bureau of Land Management, Herd Statistics, Fiscal Years 2004-2007 and White Mountain/Little Colorado Removal Plan, EA# WY-040-EA07-254

1 comment:

cwhills2003 said...

I have just spoken with Jay D'Ewart on Friday regarding the White Mountain round up and it has been postponed until July 2008 unless the state of WY requires them to do it sooner. The long term holding facility at Rock Springs, WY where the horses are sent after bieing rounded up for sorting, vaccination, castration, and being routed to adoptions, other facilities or long term holding is completely full to overflowing and until they have more long term holding facilities made available there would be no where to put 800 or so more horses. I will let you know when I hear more.
Carol Walker