Owyhee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Elko County Nevada, about 90 miles northwest of Elko, Nevada. - Gather Proposed for July 2010.
On 4/26/10, the BLM requested substantive comments on the EA by May 21, 2010. Comments received during the public review period will be analyzed and considered as part of the decision-making process.
COMMENTS DUE TODAY FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2010
Dave Overcast, Tuscarora Field Manager
Tuscarora Field Office
BLM Elko District Office
3900 Idaho Street, Elko, NV 89801
E-mail to: Tuscarora_horse_gathers@blm.gov (Tuscarora_horse_gathers@blm.gov).
Wild Horse Preservation has a great sample letter to use.
The Owyhee, Rock Creek, and Little Humboldt HMAs are managed by the Tuscarora Field Office (TFO) of the BLM.
According to the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Tuscarora Field Office issued April 2010, the HMAs encompass 454,634 acres of PUBLIC land and the Appropriate Management Level (AML) is only 337-561 horses.
The Proposed Action for the Owyhee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt HMAs is to gather up to 1,438 wild horses, remove approximately 953-1,039 "excess" wild horses (approximately 595 in the Owyhee HMA and approximately 358 from outside the Rock Creek HMA and approximately 26-86 weanling to 4 years old mares from the Rock Creek and Little Humboldt HMAs), and to apply fertility control and/or manage sex ratios of up to 399 gathered wild horses that would be released back into the HMAs. They will also be freeze-marked. All wild horses outside the HMA boundaries will be permanently removed. Helicopter drive-trapping method would be used and would include multiple trap sites.
Decisions to humanely euthanize (translation = shoot) animals in field situations will be made in conformance with BLM policy. 43 CFR § 4740.1 states that herding shall be conducted in a humane manner. If herding is conducted humanely, why would there be a need to shoot them? According the BLM. they will release or euthanize wild horses and burros that will not tolerate the handling stress associated with transportation, adoption preparation or holding. However, the authorized officer should, as an act of mercy, euthanize, not release, any animal which exhibits significant tooth loss or wear to the extent their quality of life would suffer.
Excess animals would be sent to Bureau facilities for adoption, sale, or long-term holding. Yes, the BLM intends to SELL our wild horses.
The EA states that to effectively apply fertility control to mares and/or adjust sex ratios, the gather operation would need to capture at least 81-90% of the entire wild horse population within the Owyhee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt HMAs.
Approximately 139 wild horses in the Owyhee HMA, 200 in the Rock Creek HMA, and 60 in the Little Humboldt HMA would be released back to the range following the gather.
Animals would be removed using a selective removal strategy: 1st priority – age 5 years and younger; 2nd priority – age 6-15; 3rd priority – age 16 and older.
The EA states that the alternative to remove none of the wild horses and instead remove or reduce livestock with the HMAs WAS NOT ANALYZED IN DETAIL. They state this alternative was not brought forward for analysis because it is inconsistent with the 1987 Elko RMP ROD, the 2003 Elko RMP Wild Horse Amendment and the WFRHBA which directs the Secretary to immediately remove excess wild horses. This alternative is also inconsistent with the BLM‟s multiple use management mission under the 1976 FLPMA. Additionally, livestock grazing can only be reduced or eliminated following the process outlined in the regulations found at 43 CFR Part 4100 and 4700. Such changes to livestock grazing cannot be made through a wild horse gather decision. Furthermore, even with the current situation of significantly reduced levels of livestock grazing within the Owyhee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt HMAs, there is insufficient habitat for the current population of wild horses. As a result, this alternative was not analyzed in detail.