Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Utah Vernal Draft RMP


Comments MUST be in by:
January 3, 2008
4:30 PM MST
Email to: Kelly Buckner
The BLM Utah Vernal Field Office is accepting public input regarding an Amendment to their Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement that includes three areas for wild horse use, which has a variety of Alternatives on how they are proposing to manage the area.

A Resource Management Plan is the most important document you can comment on as this is the place that BLM sets up the land use plans for the next 10-20 years. The more specific your comments, the better for the wild horses and burros and their preservation.

Provided below is a sample comment that you can also copy and paste or mix and match with your own comments to use as your submission. This will make it so easy that it would actually be hard NOT to comment and the wild horse herds desperately need a high volume of public comments and supporters if they are to be conserved!

Show your support for the continued preservation of Utah’s wild horses and their habitat by taking a moment out to add your voice and letting BLM know you care!

Sample Comment

Dear Ms. Buckner:

I would like my comments submitted into the public record regarding BLMs Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the Vernal Planning Area.

I would like to support Alternative C for the preservation and management of the wild horse herds in the Bonanza Herd Management Area, the Hill Creek Herd Management Area and the Winter Ridge Herd Area, which will be designated an HMA with Alternative C.

However, I would like the following changes to be incorporated:

Designate all acreage that was identified in 1971 as the original Herd Areas acres declared by Congress to be withdrawn for wild horse conservation and preservation to be managed under Herd Management Area (HMA) status. Also, please provide mitigation measures that compensate for acreage previously removed from wild horse use and its adverse impact to viable populations as well as prohibiting any further land exchanges, transfers or disposals within the already reduced Herd Management Areas.

I would like BLM to adhere to their own regulations regarding wild horse management and preservation. This includes considering wild horses comparable to other rangeland users in land use plans, completely closing Herd Management Areas to livestock grazing if necessary to preserve wild horses or their habitat and setting an Appropriate Management Level with a minimum range of 150-350 adults per Herd Management Area, as the most current and best available science has determined that a minimum of 150 adults is required to assure strong, self-sustaining genetically viable herds.

Alternative C, though the best Alternative being offered for wild horses, still provides very little to them in comparison with other resource allocations. The current plan is to allocate 106,196 AUMs of forage to Wildlife, 77,294 AUMs to Livestock, but only 3,960 AUMs to Wild Horses for all three proposed HMAs. This proposed resource allocation is not comparable with other rangeland users and does not support viable herds despite forage being available.

I strongly oppose the periodic introductions of other horses to maintain herd characteristics and genetic viability as this is a mitigation measure BLM is using to counteract poor management and the establishment of inappropriate management levels of non self-sustaining wild horse herds, preferring instead to allocate the habitat requirements necessary for their survival in an inequitable manner; specifically to livestock and big game at the expense of the wild horses.

If wild horse Appropriate Management Levels were established at the recommended range of 150-350 adults, the maximum amount of forage for wild horse use in all three HMAs would still fall far, far below livestock and big game allocations, merely 12,600 AUMs; 800% less than wildlife and 600% less than livestock grazing at the current proposed levels of use.

I would also like to strongly urge a decrease in the amount of acreage being considered for prescribed burns and fire management within the Herd Management Areas. The increase in wild horse populations to the recommended Appropriate Managed Level of 150-350 per HMA will reduce flammable vegetation and allow more natural and native plant communities to flourish. Burned areas are more susceptible to invasive plant species and cause short-term unecessary hardships to wild horse herds and wildlife species already suffering from critical habitat loss due to urbanization and man made impacts.

While I applaud BLM for the proposed water developments of guzzlers, reservoirs, construction of wells and additional pipelines, please officially incorporate no restrictions to all water sources for wild horse herds within the HMAs and that BLM establishes water allocations that are sufficient to support the recommended AMLs of 150-350 even in drought conditions.

I would also like to request the currently proposed 129 miles of fencing be reduced as this disrupts their free-roaming behavior and creates adverse impacts to wildlife species as well as any fencing that disrupts known migratory routes must have mitigating measures that provide alternative access to maintain these migratory routes and their free-roaming behavior.

Thank you for your consideration.

Your Name & Address

Please be aware that all information submitted to BLM may become publicly available even if you request that it remain private. This includes your personal identifying information such as your address and phone number as well as any comments submitted into the public record.

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