Stop the Planned Roundup of 1000 (more) Nevada Mustangs – Comment by 5/21

Thanks to AWHPC for this alert (online here)


Please send your letters by May 21 on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) latest proposed mass round up — 1,000 Nevada mustangs living in the Owyee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt HMA’s are targeted for permanent removal beginning in July 2010. See sample letter below.

In northeastern Nevada, just south of the Owyee Desert, lives a population of wild horses who are descendants of Cavalry re-mounts and 19th century ranch horses. These gray, bay, black, brown, roan and sorrel horses inhabit three BLM Herd Management Areas (HMAs), encompassing nearly 500,000 acres of Columbia Plateau and the Great Basin region lands.

Despite the fact that wild horses have thrived in the Great Basin region – approximately 70 percent of the BLM’s wild horse HMAs are located within this vast rolling plateau and high desert region – the agency continues to maintain that the area cannot sustain even moderate numbers of horses. Meanwhile tens of thousands of privately-owned livestock graze on public lands in this region.

Earlier this year, the BLM rounded up and removed nearly 2,000 wild horses living in the Calico Mountains Complex in Northwestern Nevada. Now the BLM’s Tuscarora Field Office is making plans for the mass removal of more Nevada mustangs, and the fates of 1,000 wild horses living in the Owyee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt HMA’s are on the line.

While the agency maintains that the more than 750-square mile area encompassed by these HMAs can only support 440 wild horses, it authorizes ten times that amount of livestock — over 4,000 head — to graze the same area!

The BLM is seeking public comments on a Preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) for this capture plan. This EA fails to seriously consider realistic alternatives for keeping these horses on the range, thus avoiding the high cost of warehousing wild horses in off-the-range holding facilities. These skyrocketing costs have rendered the BLM’s wild horse program fiscally unsustainable, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Secretary of the Interior himself.

The BLM now stockpiles more wild horses in holding facilities (36,000+) than are left in the wild (>33,000). This latest roundup continues the BLM’s unsustainable cycle of mass roundup, removal and stockpiling of America’s wild horses.

By May 21, please personalize, cut and paste and email the sample letter below to the listed email addresses. Please circulate this alert to friends and family as well – the time to speak up for Nevada’s mustangs is now! SAMPLE LETTER:
To:
Tuscarora_horse_gathers@blm.gov, Chair@ceq.eop.gov, David_Overcast@blm.gov, Bruce_Thompson@blm.gov

Subject:
Comments on Owyhee, Rock Creek & Little Humboldt HMA Preliminary EA

To Whom It May Concern:

I write in opposition to the plan by the Tuscarora Field Office to roundup 1,400 wild horses from the Owyhee, Rock Creek & Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and permanently remove 1,000 of these mustangs in a roundup scheduled to begin in July 2010. The preliminary Environmental Assessment for this capture plan is inadequate for the following reasons:

1. The EA fails to adequately consider realistic alternatives to the permanent removal of 1,000 horses from the range. These include options for range improvements (such as repair to damaged water springs) as well as aggressive fertility control through round up and vaccination of all mares with PZP immunocontraception before release back to the range.

The Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) of 337-561 wild horses established for these three HMA’s, which comprise more than 480,000 acres (more than 750-square miles), appear to be artificially and arbitrarily low. The BLM has been found repeatedly, most recently in 2008 by the Government Accountability Office, to arbitrarily set AMLs for wild horses.

2. The EA fails to give serious consideration to an alternative that would reduce livestock grazing within these HMAs. The agency clearly has the authority to implement this alternative pursuant to 43 C.F.R. 4710.5(a), which allows for closure of livestock grazing on areas of public lands “if necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment or injury.” Currently, BLM authorizes the equivalent of more than 4,000 cow/calf pairs to graze per year within the three HMAs in question, and actual use is reported at the equivalent of over 1,000 head per year.

3. The EA fails to adequately evaluate the impacts to the horses of helicopter stampede and permanent warehousing in BLM holding pens and pastures. A recent report by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign on the deaths of wild horses as a result of the roundup in the Calico Mountains Complex, found a vast majority of those fatalities were related to the stress and trauma from capture, loss of freedom and the destruction of wild horse family bands. The report included the opinion of Dr. Bruce Nock, Associate Professor at the Washington University School of Medicine and expert on the physiological effects of stress on animals that the capture and removal of wild horses “is extremely detrimental to their long-term health and soundness.”

4. The EA states that wild horse AMLs and livestock grazing levels are set by existing land use plans, but fails to consider the fact that these plans are not set in stone and the agency, through its adaptive management policy, has the discretion to re-assess and amend them to address these matters.

5. The EA fails to evaluate alternatives for meeting the BLM’s “multiple use” mandate without livestock grazing by maximizing opportunities for wildlife, wild horses, recreational use, and ecotourism.

In conclusion, the Tuscarora Field Office’s plan to permanently remove 1,000 wild horses from the range and warehouse the majority of these horses in long-term holding pastures violates the intent of Congress that America’s wild horses be managed on the range in a humane and minimally-intrusive manner that preserves their wild and free-roaming behavior. As such, the agency is obligated to seriously assess alternatives to this mass capture and removal plan, something that this EA has failed to do.

As a result, I ask that the roundup of horses from the Owyhee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt HMAs be canceled.

Sincerely,

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13 Responses to “Stop the Planned Roundup of 1000 (more) Nevada Mustangs – Comment by 5/21”

  1. LOUIE COCROFT Says:

    DOES ANYONE KNOW OF THE MOST RECENT WILDFIRE THAT WAS IN AN AREA FROM WHICH THE HORSES HAD BEEN REMOVED?

  2. sandra longley Says:

    I was working north of elko the summer of massive fires in that area,,I would have to look on a map..it was about 3 summers ago-in ythe approx. area of that Barrick/cortez gold mine operation.we should ask so9me of nevada friends-perhaps Willis knows

  3. LOUIE COCROFT Says:

    I AM CROSS POSTING THIS COMMENT FROM LISA–I THINK SHE IS ON TO SOMETHING. LISA, WHERE ARE YOU? THIS NEEDS TO BE FOLLOWED FURTHER.

    Lisa LeBlanc said
    May 3, 2010 at 11:41 pm 10Rate This

    Since 2001, 74,000 Wild Equines have been removed from their ranges. (This statement is over a year old, I think. By the time Round Up Season is over, it’ll be closer to 90,000)
    From the USGS website, archived data on acreage destroyed by Wildfires since then:
    2002 7,184,712
    2004 8,097,880
    2005 8,689,389
    2006 9,873,745
    2007 9,328,045

    The year 2000 wildfires destroyed 7,393,493 acres. Prior to that, the highest historical loss was in 1988 at 5,009,290 acres. HISTORICAL. I cited the above years because with the exception of 2003, the loss of land to wildfires has increased incrementally. The fires, in my opinion, without Wild Equines to lessen forage in places cattle can’t go have more and more fuel.
    I may be grasping desperately here. Drought, climate change and other blah-de-blah are contributors, I’m sure, but I would like to see an overlay of roundups and wildfires.
    That would either shut my mouth (maybe) or be the proof that Wild Equines are so much more than they’re given credit for – that they are truly necessary for the health of the environments they occupy.

  4. LOUIE COCROFT Says:

    I BET CINDY AT AMERICAN HERDS WOULD BE ABLE TO CHECK THIS OUT.

  5. Janet Ferguson Says:

    Water supply is good after April rains, per Fallon newspaper:

    http://www.lahontanvalleynews.com/article/20100423/NEWS/100429931/1004&parentprofile=1045

  6. LOUIE COCROFT Says:

    JANET, I HAD TRIED TO GET INTO THE BILL MOYERS ARTICLE THAT YOU POSTED A WHILE BACK–GOT STUCK AT AT THE” ENTER A NICKNAME” PART. THERE WERE OTHER THINGS TO MOVE ON TO SO I DIDN’T SPEND ANY MORE TIME. NOW I SEE THAT MY ENTRY GOT APPROVED BUT THE COMMENTS ARE CLOSED. GLAD YOU REPRESENTED US.

  7. LOUIE COCROFT Says:

    AMERICAN WILD HORSE PRESERVATION CAMPAIGN ALSO HAS AN ONLINE PETITION THAT YOU CAN SIGN. GO TO THEIR WEBSITE AND CLICK ONTO THE PETITION SITE.

  8. Paula Deutz Says:

    The Government needs to spend this much time on potentiallyon STOPPING THE OIL LEAK, the WAR, TAXES, BUDGET, etc NOT destroying nature and something that will have a beyond serious impact on us for year to come! Stop the round-up or give us something realistic in figures.

  9. melody enoch Says:

    We as americans need to let one of the last natural herds roam. We have slaughtered the buffallo the indians too. Most of the elks and they are so important to not only this period of time. They are needed for all the children to come. To show how this land was tamed. We have mistreated something yet again that was left to us for our great care.
    Its not days gone by. We as americans are smarter now to what damage our actions do and how we can never go back. STOP THIS NOW~~~

  10. SHARI WELSH Says:

    BLM & USFS ARE CORRUPT THUGS.

  11. Jo De George Says:

    Please stop the roundups now. Let it be with this one. Let America’s wild horses run free. They belong free. The land is theirs. Put them back where they belong. BLM, please see the destruction you are bringing to these innocent and magnificent creatures.

  12. Jane - for the ride Says:

    BLM, Ken Salazar, STOP the round-ups. How cruel can you be? These horses are protected under the Free Roam Act since 1971!!! Do you even have accurate numbers of how many mustangs you’ve rounded -up and chased to near death and how many more are running free? What independant scientific studies have you conducted to track the nomadic grazing habits of the horses and the impact their wild ways have on the environment? Try letting your loved ones and children view a helicopter round-up. Do you realize more than 80 mares and foals died in the Dec. 2009 round-up? Foals ran so long and hard for hours, their hooves actualy fell OFF!Let YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS witness the fear in the horses’ eyes and their terrifying cries. How can you live with yourselves? Be honest, what are the cattle ranchers providing you with to justify your reasons for harming the horses. Shame on you. It’s about time you do the right thing. Leave the mustangs and wild burros at peace. Support Madeleine Pickens’ dream of a wild horses sanctuary. Stop wasting our tax dollars on the helicopter fees, upkeep of the pens, feed, and (minimal )vet care.

  13. jean Says:

    Mr. Salazar, really now, with so many serious issues facing our country today, why would you continue to defy people’s wishes with the costly and irresponsible roundups of our wild horses?! They should be protected and allowed to run free, where they belong in the West.
    Please, reconsider your actions and do the right thing. Show the citizens of America that you’re capable of compromising, you have a heart and that you’re willing to find a win- win situation for all. I’m sure it can be done….just look for it

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