Comments Due April 12, 2013
Many Bureau of Land Management (BLM) District Offices are in the process of developing Drought Management plans. The BLM Carson City District is one of them, and is presently accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a plan to manage wild horses and livestock during drought. The Drought EA outlines a range of management alternatives that may be implemented to mitigate the effects of drought and to address "emergency" situations. However, the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Management Handbook acknowledges that drought conditions do not occur overnight and, as such, drought does not qualify as an "emergency" situation, according to agency policy.
The BLM Carson City District manages 4.8 million acres of public land that includes 18 Herd Management Areas (HMAs) for wild horses and 1 HMA for burros. Two of the horse HMAs, Horse Mountain HMA and Tule Ridge/Mahogany Flats HMA, do not have any horses.
As in other areas the BLM's preferential treatment of privately-owned livestock over federally-protected wild horses is obvious. In fact, of the total forage allocated to livestock and wild horses, the Carson City BLM allocates 92% to livestock and just 8 % to wild horses. This translates into a maximum of 2,508 horses vs. the annual equivalent of 30,239 cow/calf pairs to live in the district. Interestingly, the current estimated wild horse population in the Carson City District is lower than the allowable population level!
Please take this opportunity to demand that the BLM fulfill its legal mandate to prioritize wild horse protection over livestock grazing, which is authorized entirely at the discretion of the Interior Department.