BLM seeks public comment on wild horse gather plan

ELY—The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public review and comment on a plan to gather wild horses for up to ten years in the Seaman and White River Herd Areas, which are located southwest of Ely, Nevada, in Lincoln and Nye counties.

The Wild Horse Gather Plan Preliminary Environmental Assessment is being conducted by the BLM Ely District’s Bristlecone and Caliente Field Offices, and Basin and Range National Monument and will be available for public review and comment for 30 days. The 30-day public comment period concludes Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.

The BLM is proposing to gather and remove all excess wild horses in and outside herd area boundaries. The Proposed Action is needed to improve watershed health and make significant progress towards achieving range health standards recommended by the BLM’s Mojave / Southern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council. The proposed gather plan would allow for an initial gather with follow-up gathers for up to 10 years from the date of the initial gather. The plan calls for transporting gathered horses to holding facilities where they would be offered for adoption.

The BLM manages wild horse populations in designated areas of public lands where they were found in 1971 and which have enough available food and water to ensure healthy horses thrive on healthy rangelands in the long-term in balance with other legal uses of the land. The Seaman and White River Herd Areas are not designated for wild horses due to insufficient forage and water resources available within the HAs to maintain healthy wild horses and rangelands over the long-term.  The BLM’s decision to not manage for wild horses within the Seaman and White River HAs is based on analysis in the November 2007 Ely Proposed Resource Management Plan, Final Environmental Impact Statement.  As of March 2017, the estimated wild horse population is 365, which includes foals.The Preliminary Environmental Assessment for the Seaman and White River Herd Areas Wild Horse Gather will be available online for a 30-day review period beginning on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 at of these documents are available upon request from the Ely District. Substantive comment submission will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. All comments received during the public comment period will be fully considered and evaluated for preparation of the Final PEA. Questions and written comments should be directed to:Bureau of Land Management Ely District Office Attention: Ruth Thompson, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist702 N. Industrial Way, Ely, NV 89301 Comments can also be submitted electronically at  Email messages should include “Seaman-White River Herd Areas Wild Horse Gather” in the subject line.Commenters should be aware before including their address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in their comment, that their entire comment – including identifying information – may be made available to the public.  Although people can ask the BLM in their comment to withhold personal identifying information from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.  Anonymity is not allowed for submissions from organizations or businesses and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses.

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  1. Penelope Ashton says:

    You are responding to the ever greedy cattle ranchers who want to devour more and more acreage for their enrichment. The wild horses remind us of our western history and the prominent role horses played in the formation of the west. SAVE this band of horses for the sake of our history and the beauty they portray as the FREELY graze their range. They represent the freedom we fight and die for. SAVE THEM!

    • And from your comment, you appear to be (passionately) making the rather specious claim that all cattle ranchers are inherently selfish and uncaring of (wild) horses, while ignoring how much land the federal government controls in Nevada (and other states)?
      That’s sort of painting with a broad brush while ignoring half the pallet, isn’t it?

      P.S., this might fly in the face of religion, but who says that ‘public land’ is automatically good for wild horses?

  2. The Public says:

    Please do not destroy yet another herd.
    The 100 year war on our “Native” Wild Horse in all the Americas has to end. Anyone that knows what Native means, actually look at the evidence of Horse Paleo will find the true history of Equine. While you are doing so you will understand America’s History on all wild life and fauna. Some may truly believe the Mustang is gone (goal) but it is not – not yet but will be if this is aloud.
    Perspective is also unbalanced. For instance, in 1971 most agreed 66,000 wild horses would be a good number spread out throughout the whole west. Some argued for 150,000 and only the meat industry argued for less. — We have a set limit of elk in the Greater Yellowstone Area of 95,000 elk — Maine has a set number of Moose at 50,000 but when the wild horses are now set at an Arbitrary Low management number of 16,000 it does not take a genius or even someone who has an ecological ability to understand the scapegoating of wild horses,
    The 100 year war against our Wild Horses is coming to a close. The truth is out for those who can understand. Horse Evolution, migration, mutual-ism, cooperation with us. Why the arguments against because of ignorance only is resulting in stopping the unearthing of truth and destroying our environment – The Old West is gone, range wars are obsolete, the Public land is still Public and the Wild Horses are Ours (no matter what you want to call them).
    Those who have fabricated this assault and mislead the Public will be accountable for their crimes. It is time to do some serious Auditing to find out the real reason, who really benefited and the trials will begin. .
    I understand the bias of this media, I understand why some think Public land should be in the hands of just a few wealthy resource interested people, but I do not agree in the method and selection and the bulldozing over public orders (those in gov. are forgetting they are Our servants). One Order thousands agree with is Leave our majestic Wild Horses and Burro be in Nature. Oh, yes that means the preservation of Nature, good stockmanship, good stewardship, accountability and just knowing we live In America with “NATURE” which includes the Wild Horse.

    • “I understand why some think Public land should be in the hands of just a few wealthy resource interested people.” How about more land in the hands of ANYONE with the wherewithal to lease or purchase and reasonably develop something there? By suggesting that anyone (seemingly) in contrast with or not directly in lock-step with your opinion or agenda is ‘the greedy, the selfish, the corrupt, the anti-environmental…’, you strongly espouse that only the government is capable of ‘good stockmanship, good stewardship, accountability’. So which (public) division’s interests are you representing (while conversationally riding the very animals that a great many private citizens agree should be protected)?

      By the way, this dismissive sort of ‘the science is settled’, ‘only idiots dare argue’ attitude is tedious and projects the kind of dictatorial arrogance that those unwashed hoi polloi “who can (or cannot) understand” have long grown weary of from those who making a living that is (directly or indirectly) provided by taxpayers.

      So how about you get off your ‘high horse’?

  3. From PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)
    Agency Sage Grouse Review Puts Thumb on Scale to Magnify Wild Horse and Burro Effects
    Posted on Sep 16, 2014

    The method used by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to assess range conditions is seriously skewed toward minimizing impacts from domestic livestock and magnifying those from wild horses and burros, according to an appraisal by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). As a result, the BLM’s approach to range management targets scattered wild horses and burros while ignoring far more numerous cattle.
    The agency’s assessment is part of a 2013 report on factors influencing conservation of the Greater Sage-Grouse, a ground-dwelling bird whose numbers have declined as much as 90% across the West and which is under consideration for protection under the Endangered Species Act. That report concludes that twice the area of sage grouse habitat is negatively impacted by wild horses and burros than the area negatively impacted by livestock. A PEER appraisal of the methodology found –
    • BLM calculates the “area of influence” of wild horses and burros on sage grouse habitat based merely on their presence within Herd Management Areas in sage grouse habitat, while it considers livestock impact to have occurred only when livestock grazing allotments fail the agency’s Land Health Status (LHS) standard for wildlife;
    • If the agency used the same approach for calculating the area of influence of livestock within BLM grazing allotments on sage grouse habitat as it did for wild horses and burros, the area of influence for livestock would be roughly 14 times that given in the report and more than six times that of wild horses and burros; and
    • Within BLM’s own grazing allotment LHS database records, livestock grazing is cited as a cause of failure to achieve a land health standard 30 times more often than are wild horses and burros.
    “At BLM apparently not all hooves are created equal,” said PEER’s Advocacy Director Kirsten Stade, noting that the LHS evaluations cover more than 20,000 grazing allotments and examine whether a grazing allotment meets the agency’s standards for rangeland health with respect to several vegetation and habitat conditions. “This helps explain why wild horses are regularly removed from the range but livestock numbers are rarely reduced.”
    The BLM assessment influences not only the agency’s range management decisions but also will figure into the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision on whether to list the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.
    Last year in response to a complaint by PEER filed under agency Scientific Integrity policy, BLM claimed that it does not have enough “reliable data” about commercial livestock impacts to include them in current assessments of environmental conditions on Western range lands. Yet, BLM has more data on the grazing that it authorizes through permits than virtually every other topic.
    “When it comes to cattle, BLM plays with a marked deck,” Stade added, pointing out the PEER analysis that will become part of PEER’s new grazing reform web center set to launch in several weeks. “We are posting BLM’s own data in a way that allows apples-to-apples comparisons while displaying satellite imagery that depicts the true livestock landscape impacts.”

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