Adobe Town family band
The Bureau of Land Management has released an Environmental Assessment for the roundup and removal of wild horses from Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek in the Red Desert of Wyoming. Comments are due by June 10, 2013.
Here is the link to the Environmental Assessment online:
Adobe Town family pursued by bachelor stallions
The BLM is determined to follow though on their planned removal of wild horses in Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek despite the need for cutbacks in every other area of government. Somehow they were able to obtain $6 million dollars for helicopter roundups a month ago for these and other roundups days before the Consent Decree of 2013 was signed by the judge. More information on the case can be found here: http://wildhorsepreservation.org/media/federal-court-grants-wild-horse-groups%E2%80%99-request-intervene-grazing-association-lawsuit-aiming-0
In this Environmental Assessment, the BLM wants to remove 85% of the wild horses in Salt Wells Creek, an area of over 1 million acres.
Several families grazing in Adobe Town near sunset
Some specific items that I object to in this Environmental Assessment:
1. The numbers that the BLM is basing their need for roundup and removal on were obtained in May 2012. Their projections are a fairy tale at best. They should have conducted a direct count in May 2013 so that their numbers have even a remote chance of being accurate. They have projected population growth based on a very high 20% growth rate, with no accounting for any mortality, and also they are counting the projected foals of 2013 in order to arrive at their conclusion that Adobe Town is over low AML, which is 610 horses. A roundup should not be scheduled unless the herd is over AML, not low AML, and the numbers should not include the current year’s foal crop.
Two wild stallions in Adobe Town
3. The range conditions have changed significantly since 2012. There has been a winter and spring including enough moisture that wild horse removal should not be considered a “necessity” and an “emergency.”
Salt Wells Creek family band
4. A statement in the EA that concerns me very much is this:
“All wild horses on private lands and on the checkerboard lands within the ATSW Complex would be removed in accordance with the 2013 Consent Decree.”
Does this mean in addition to the 85% of wild horses that will be removed from Salt Wells Creek? Does this mean that all horses in Salt Wells Creek on the checkerboard lands will be removed? Much of Salt Wells Creek is in the checkerboard area, and if horses “move freely” between Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek, then they can move just as freely on and off the checkerboard. How will this be interpreted? How can they prove that a particular horse is in one area or another given that wild horses move frequently?
Adobe Town bachelor stallion
5. I have no objection to the use of fertility control, and I applaud the decision to utilize 2 year PZP rather than the more extreme methods proposed in the Consent Decree of sterilization to manage these herds. But fertility control should have been utilized many years before it was first used in these two areas. The goal of the BLM should be to use fertility control to maintain their population goals rather than helicopter roundups and removals.
In 3 days this month, I saw 3x as many cattle as horses in Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek
6. One issue that always get shunted off to “outside the scope” of this document is livestock use and the need to reduce it. This spring I witnessed herds of sheep moving through Adobe Town just as the grass was starting to come up, a critical time as anyone with any knowledge of range management knows, and this is very destructive to the range. Then a month later, when the range has not had any chance to recover, there are cattle grazing in these same areas. It does not require a degree in range science to see how destructive to the range this is, and yet somehow only the wild horses are deemed capable of providing negative impacts on the range. Reduce the livestock use, and all of the animal using the range will benefit.
A mare and her newborn foal in Adobe Town
7. Although in the comments this was dismissed as “outside the scope” of this document, a real concern is what will happen to these horses that are removed from their homes? With holding facilities at capacity it makes absolutely no sense to remove any of these horses from the range this year. The “emergency” created by livestock lessors who desire no wild horses on the checkerboard area has led to decisions that are extremely expensive to the tax payer and to the wild horses who will be deprived of their homes, families and freedom. I believe that there should be an “Alternative D” – treat the mares with fertility control, and do not remove any horses from the range.
A bachelor stallion in Adobe Town
In the absence of an “Alternative D”, I select Alternative C, No Action Alternative, No removal.
This is until the BLM gets an accurate and current population count that does not include the current year’s foals and takes into account the current range conditions.
Please submit your comments by 4:30pm on June 10, 2013.
Using your own words is always best.
You can mail them to this address:
Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
280 Highway 191 North
Rock Springs, WY 82901
Or comment by email to this address:
Please include ATSW Public Comment in the subject line of the email
A mare and stallion in Salt Wells Creek
What can you do to help, beyond submitting your comments? Donate to the two legal funds that are fighting to keep wild horses in Wyoming’s Red Desert:
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign:
The Cloud Foundation:
Wild horses run across a vast landscape in Adobe Town