Thursday, November 1, 2007

Getting Burned

The BLM Battle Mountain Field Office will be removing up to 714 wild horses this weekend in the New Pass/Ravenswood and Augusta Mountain Herd Management Areas (HMA) located in central Nevada and 10 "Outside", in response to wildfires that burned 62,000 acres within the HMAs alone.

Citing the wild horse removals as necessary to allow vegetative recovery, the BLM authorized reducing the New Pass/Ravenwood wild horse population by 316 more wild horses than their established “low” range of AML.

According to the Battle Mountain Field Office, the total acreage of the two HMAs span 468,683 acres while the National Program Office only reports 437,996, a difference of 30,687 acres.

The estimated wild horse population due to a recent census ranges between 1,030-1,095 while the total established wild horse “allowable management level” (AML) ranges from 730-874.

The “Emergency Burn” environmental assessment that authorized the wild horse removals lists 8 livestock grazing allotments that effect both these HMAs but forage allocations were only included for 7 of them totaling 20,801 Animal Unit Months (AUMs).

And is it any wonder they left #8 off their list.

On October 5, 2007, BLM authorized a ten-year grazing permit for 6,882 cattle to graze throughout the year in #8, the Mount Airy Livestock Allotment and home of the missing forage allocations in BLMs wild horse "Emergency Burn" removal plans.

On top of that, on October 11, 2007, BLM approved an additional 2,500 AUMs of Temporary AUMs of forage for the Mount Airy Livestock Allotment citing “the forage was available”. This included authorizations to run 386 cattle the last week of September, between 11/1 and 11/30, and 714 cattle between 12/1 and 2/28 of this year.

Available forage burned indeed....

New Pass/Ravenswood Herd Management Area

260,357 HMA Acres
AML ranges from 545-566
Estimated Population 648-713

Propose to Remove: up to 494
Proposed Remaining Population: 229
All Mares Treated with Fertility Control PZP

Livestock Grazing Allocations IN Wild Horse Herd Management Area:
Gilbert Creek-11,251 AUMs, Manhattan Mountain- 1,432 AUMs,
Clan Alpine- 798 AUMs

Augusta Mountain Herd Management Area

177,639 HMA Acres in EA
AML Range 185-308
Estimated Population 382

Propose to Remove: 200-230
Proposed Remaining Population: 185
All Mares Treated with Fertility Control PZP.

Livestock Grazing Allocations IN Wild Horse Herd Management Area:
Cottonwood- 4,660 AUMs, Hole in the Wall- 1,197 AUMs,
Home Station Gap- 914 AUMs, Jersey Valley- 549 AUMs.

All figures and statistics taken from:
-Department of the Interior, Battle Mountain Field Office, New Pass/Ravenswood and Augusta Mountains HMA Burned Area Wild Horse Removal Environmental Assessment #NV062-EA-07-188, October 2, 2007.
-Department of the Interior, Battle Mountain Field Office, Final Decision, Austin Complex Permit Renewal, October 5, 2007.
- Department of the Interior, Battle Mountain Field Office, Final Decision, Mount Airy Allotment Temporary Non-Renewable Use Permit, October 11, 2007.
-Photo from BLM Internet Adoption Site and cited as removed from “Outside HMA”. No further information was provided as to the wild horses original location.

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