BLM releases wild horse gather environmental assessment, Iron County not satisfied

SOUTHERN UTAH – The Bureau of Land Management has released an environmental assessment for public comment pertaining to a wild horse gather in Southern Utah.

In the Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, it was ordered to: “…manage wild free-roaming horses and burros in a manner that is designed to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands”.

Currently the level of wild horse on BLM managed land in Iron County surpasses what the BLM calls “Appropriate Management Level” – that is, “the number of wild horses and burros which can graze without causing damage to the range.”

The fiscal year 2015 budget for the BLM calls for an increase of $2.8 million for the wild horse and burro program nationwide.

According to a press release, this would allow the BLM to continue multi-year studies focused on the development of more effective and longer-lasting fertility control agents and techniques.

In late March, Iron County Commission sent a letter to the BLM regarding the wild horse population issue that the area is facing.

The letter was written when Iron County Commission felt the BLM had its priorities screwed in regards to spending money to gather Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy’s cattle. The letter stated:

The decision of the BLM to allocate funding approaching or surpassing $2 million dollars to gather private cattle owned in Clark County Nevada while the agency refuses to respond to the requests by Iron County to abide by its own laws and policies … is unacceptable. Why do you have money to deal with non-compliance as in the case of Mr. Cliven Bundy, but no funds to keep yourself in compliance?

Although the BLM is taking action, the environmental assessment is not a direct response to the letter, but they are aware of the issue, Megan Crandall, Utah BLM spokesperson said.

It acknowledges that we do have wild horse populations that need adjustment” Crandall said. “If we get to the point that the environmental assessment is signed and there’s a decision record, that gives us the ability to act quickly when we receive approval to begin making some of those adjustments.”

If approved, the plan will consist of wild horse gather, removal and fertility treatment in the Bible Spring Complex area over a 10-year period.

The four Herd Management Areas that make up the Bible Spring Complex — Bible Spring, Blawn Wash, Tilly Creek and Four Mile — are located in western Iron and Beaver counties, covering approximately 222,929 acres of public, private and state lands.

The environmental assessment states: “The purpose of the proposed Bible Springs Complex Gather, Removal and Fertility Treatment Plan is to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance, achieve and maintain wild horse AML, collect information on herd characteristics, determine herd health, maintain sustainable rangelands, and maintain a healthy wild horse population within the Bible Springs Complex.”

The environmental assessment is a good start to resolving the problem, said Lisa Reid public affairs specialist for the BLM.

“What it will do is allow us opportunity to get started on this and start working towards a solution,” Reid said.

David Miller, Iron County Commissioner, agrees that the environmental assessment is a step in the right direction, but says it is not enough.

“I don’t think it’s going to really solve it yet,” Miller said. “They want to do this over 10 years according to the (Environmental Assessment) and that’s not going to cut it.”

The Iron County Commission will be taking action through the Utah Association of Counties by filing a lawsuit against the BLM.

We’ve got a lawsuit that the counties are going to participate in,” Miller said, “and the reason why it’s a statewide thing is because (the BLM is) breaking the federal law.”

The Iron County Commission has begun working with the BLM in a small gather. Eight horses were gathered Tuesday.

Although the proposed Environmental Assessment addresses the issue, the process needs to be quicker than 10 years, Miller said.

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16 Comments

  • Burton May 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I will get this going! Iron county just needs to be quiet. Who cares that there isn’t enough grass for the free ranging cattle to graze on. Even though all those ranchers paid their fees. Who cares that wildlife populations have declined due to the over population of the beautiful mustangs (feral horses). The BLM knows best and will “Manage” that land the way they feel fit. Or at least until senator Ried or Hatch or some other political puke can figure out a way they can make a fortune on that land too. Then they will send their puppet Neil Kornze (Head of the BLM and Harry Rieds ex political advisor) to go take care of the horsey problem. And get rid of the cattle too. The BLM is another pathetic attempt at the federal government trying to manage something. The federal government couldn’t manage a snow cone shack. Turn the land over to the states and let us legislate and regulate our own lands our own way! And I know all you government loving morons will have something cute to say, but you name one federal agency that is managed well and isn’t broke!? Social Security administration, Post office, Medicare/Medicaid? Name one? I know, How bout the IRS!

    • dk May 18, 2014 at 9:26 am

      The states have no business managing our public lands, either, Burton. Why not have the Mustang groups that are 501c3’s take out grazing permits for the Mustangs and manage the herds themselves? The BLM would not need to be involved in herd management.

      The U.S. Government could make donations to cover the $1.35 per head per
      month, and spend a whole lot less money donating to the 501c3 Mustang
      groups than they are right now with the current BLM/Mustang program.
      There are at least one of these 501c3 Mustang groups for every state
      with Mustangs. These groups, which are tax-deductible, would manage the
      herds with a heart, and this would be much less expensive and this would
      protect our Mustangs and stop upsetting the American public.

      The wild horses would be allowed to graze on not less than 15% and not
      more than 25% of the public lands.

      The donations by the U.S. Government would reimburse the Mustang
      charities for the $1.35 per head per month grazing fees. The BLM would
      no longer be involved in managing our Federally-protected wild Mustangs.

  • Susan May 10, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I agree with Burton. The states need to take over the BLM land. Federal bureaucracy is a nightmare of red tape and nothing gets done. If anything does get done, it isn’t done right because there are too many special interest advocates wanting everything their way. The Western states are long past-due to run their own public lands. The feral horse population is the same species as other domestic horses, so it isn’t as though they are an endangered species. Mainly its East Coast apartment dwellers that have fantasies of herds of wild horses running across the landscape. There are plenty of sanctuaries of these horses as well as private breeders who have saved the bloodlines of the Spanish Colonial herds. The federal government has no business raising horses. The Wild Horse and Burro Act was enacted based on emotion and it has been a financial disaster. Its time to repeal it.

    • dk May 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

      The States would not to any better of a job, Susan. Let the 501c3 Mustang organizations manage our Federally-protected wild horses and burros. See my reply to Burton, please. Thank you.

  • Margaret May 10, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    The wild horses get less than 29 million acres to roam on in the western states. Back in 1971 it was 53 million. Out of all those LEGALLY DESINATED lands the horses are allocated about 11%. BLM sold the horses range out to cattle, oil and fracking.

    Sure there are legal statues ranchers have to abide by–like in a drought you can only run so many cattle and for so many days. Drought is tough on everyone. But you get into the biz knowing that there is a bundle of rules and regs. You get into the biz knowing that during a drought it’s going to be tough.

    NEWSFLASH
    Government doesn’t “own” that land. They manage the land. Or are suppose to. We (as in the taxpayers)own that land. On a much smaller scale think of a housing complex–you have 150 condos. No one person “owns ” the association. All the property owners own it combined. Your homeowner dues are nothing more than the grazing fee that you pay BLM. That’s super simplified but essentially that is what is going on with public lands.

    • flicka'sfake May 10, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Ok, let’s take your example a little further… The 150 residents (permittees/Ranchers) are the people who occupy 150 condo units (allotments), many of which have been used by the same families for years before the association was created to “manage” the 150 units. The condo is owned technically by say 2 million people. the government of the 2 milliion decided that there needed to me someone to oversee the doings of the 150 occupiers. The condo occupiers went along with the management idea and agreed to pay fees for to help maintain and improve the overall complex. Then a funny thing happened, the new “managers” who did not use this Condo complex for anything other than looking at. decided that the people occupying them did not know how to take care of them the “right way” so they started to use those fees to work against them and started to limit the use of the occupiers, making it almost impossible to survive in this complex. The Condo unit has had a “feral cat” problem for many many years. The 150 residents had taken care of the problem and got by for many years by implementing their own way of managing them. Along the way there was a small group of the 2 million that decided the feral cats are beautiful creatures that should be protected because some of the cats were sent to a “very scary place” where they were sent to cat heaven. So a law was passed to protect these beautiful feral cats. Afterall, who could do that to an animal as beautiful as a feral cat? Then after the law was passed the managers did not to a good job of manageing the feral cats and they overpopulated and became a huge problem. Instead of “terminating” the excess cats they decided to put them in an animal shelter and let the 2 million people pay for them to live in a cage the rest of their life.

      Anyway, that is a little deeper than most will take the time to understand, but that is a more accurate description of what you were saying.

      • Sue carter May 12, 2014 at 6:56 pm

        Your entire premise is incorrect, Flicka. The “condo dwellers” did not own the “apartment” or (land) prior to the Association taking it over. The land in Utah and Nevada was owned by Mexico. It is not the same as the original 13 Colonies who were States before the formation of the Federal Government. The Western Lands were and still are Public Domain Land. Read the Constitution Property Clause, Article lV , clause 2. Congress (Fed) has Authority over these lands and Territories and make al Rules and Regulations “without limitation.” If there is a legal Landlord or Association, it is the Federal Government. So pay your rent or move.

      • dk May 18, 2014 at 9:33 am

        Thank you, Sue Carter. Also, Flicka, we used to have over 2 million Federally-protected wild horses (Mustangs) and burros, and now we have just 22,000 left on the range. Just how stupid do you think we are? You and a few others can keep repeating that we have an over-population of wild horses, but this does not make it so. With 22,000 on the range and 50,000 in BLM holding pens, release the 55,000 and we will still have 1,928,000 more to go before we would even meet our past Mustang population, let alone be over-populated.

  • Delong May 10, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Burton,
    If you want to blame someone, blame congress- not BLM for the horse problem. Everyone at BLM will be the first to tell you there is a horse problem but only Congress can change the law.

    • dk May 18, 2014 at 9:36 am

      And we do not have a horse problem, this is the point. We are 1,928,000 short of being at our past wild horse population. We are currently at about 1% of our original horse population, meaning that it has dropped 99%. And people want to remove more wild horses? One percent is too many?

  • Maggie May 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    BLM has to much land to manage and few with the expertise to do it correctly. What experience does Neil Kornze have to manage such a task? He was an assistant to Harry Reid. I am guessing he knows how to turn federal lands into money for Harry and gang. There will never be enough money to manage horses, cattle ,turtles or any other living thing on our lands as long as the Harry Reid’s of this world have any control because there will never be enough money to fill their bottomless pockets which of course comes first. Then of course the BLM needs all that new military style equipment to herd the turtles with ,which was the big worry on the Bundy ranch.

  • Lisa L. May 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    10 years: Isn’t that the amount of time of a grazing lease?
    There is a tendency to forget – or just plain never mention – that grazing leases are not inherent rights, but privileges. And that these allotments are managed for multiple use – not just grazing of private livestock on Public lands.
    Whoever decided it was a good idea to combine grazing allotments on wild equine Herd Management Areas never looked to the future.
    Public Lands grazing isn’t the only industry whose reach exceeds its grasp. I wonder who stand up for ranchers who graze on their own lands, use their own water sources, grow or buy their feed when their grass is gone and actually tend their own animals, rather than leave them to their fates for six months out of the year.
    Sniveling about ‘sharing’ land you do not own – simply use at the behest of a federal agency – smacks of a spoiled and immature culture that will never be happy when this agency’s decisions rob them of their profit margin. Iron County’s meanderings in the media have made it abundantly clear that the complete absence of wild equines is required, and BLM must comply with demands immediately, or there will be consequences.

  • sue May 12, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    O.k. IAM TRYING TO UNDERSTAND ALL THIS MUMBO JUMBO TALK ,FIRST OF ALL LOOK AT THE LAND THERES MILLIONS OF ACRES IT MAY NOT BE PERFECT LAND BUT LAND INALL ,WHO WAS ON THE LAND FIRST ? NEXT WHO DECIDED THERE HAD TO BE CONTROLING THIS LAND? WERE THE HORSES CAUSEING TROUBLE WERE THEY BRING IN TOUREST? PEOPLE WHO WANTED TO SEE THE HORSES AND THE REST OF WILD LIFE ,RIGHT? WHY NOT PUT IN CAMPS AND CAMP GROUNDS WHERE PEOPLE CAN DO ALL OF THIS STUFF IT WILL HELP SUPPORT THE LAND AND THE ANIMALS. PREPARE THE LAND FOR THIS PUT IN CABINS , STORES RIDING TRIPS AND SO ON AND THEN THERE WILL BE EXTRA MONEY TO SUPPORT THE WILD LIFE AND ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS RUN THIS EACH TOWN SHOULD HAVE A TRIP SITE AND CAMP GROUNDS THERE WOULD BE EXTRA JOBS AND THE FORESTRY WOULD STILL BE WORKING AND GET PEOPLE WHO COULD BE TRUSTED TO HELP RUN THINGS. HAVE A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO VOTE WHERE MONEYS GO AFTER BILLS HAVE BEEN PAIED. USE ANY VOLENTERRS THAT WANT TO HELP HAVE A TOWN MEETING WHERE EVERYONE HAS A SAY NOY JUST PEOPLE WHO WANT TO FILL THERE POCKETS. KILLING THE HORSES OR WILD LIFE IS NOT THE ANSWER. FARMERS RUNNING CATTLE AND BULLING PEOPLE ISNT THE ANSWER THERES 240MILLION ACRES THATS A LOT OF LAND. AND PLENTY FOR EVERY WILD ANIMAL OUT THERE EXCEPT WHEN SOMEONE WANTS TO THROW A WRENCH IN THE WORKS TELL THEM NO CATTLE RANCHERS SHOULD CONTROL THE NUMBER OF COWS THEEY HAVE FOR THE SIZE OF LAND THEY HAVE INSTEAD OF TAKING IT FORGRANTED THAT THIS LAND IS FOR THEM TOO. ITS BUSINESS YOU HAVE TO MUCH CATTLE DOWN SIZE THERES PLENTY OF MONEY COMING YOUR WAY WITH THE WAY THE PRICES ARE THERES A SAYING YOU NEVER SEE POOR FARMERS WHY BECAUSE THEY HAVE LAND WELL USE YOUR LAND NOT THE OTHER ANIMALS LAND WHEN MOTHER NATURE STRICKS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE HAY AND CORN OR GRAIN TO FEED YOUR LIVE STOCK INSTEAD OF CRYING THAT THERE NOY ENOUGH LAND FOR YOUR LIVE STOCK AND PUT IN PONDS DONT COUNT ON THE LAND ALL THE TIME PLANT GRASS SEED ACRES AND ACRES OF SEED DRILL WELLS SO YOU CAN WATER.YOU HAVE EQUIPMENT USE IT FOR SOMTHING GOOD. GET RID OF THE HELICOPTERS WITCH COST SO SO MUCH TO RUN USE ATVS OR TRUCKS USE YOUR HEADS PEOPLE THERES AWAY WITHOUT KILLING OR HOLDING ANIMALS IN PENS WHERE THEY DONT EVEN HAVE A LIFE ,AND IF YOU DONT WANT TO DO THE WORK YOURSELFS ASK THE JAILS FOR HELP THEY USE THEM TO BREAK HORSES TO SELL THEY CAN DO EXTRA WORK AND HELP WITH THERE STAY ON THE GOVERMENT THERES MORE TO SAY BUT I HAVE TO GO SO THINK ABOUT WHAT WAS SAID BECAUSE THERE ARE ALTERNET WATS TO SOLVE WITH OUT KILLING ANIMALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • charlene May 13, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Wildhorses have been here longer than first believed and taught in history books. Their ancestors are tens of thousands of years old. Google it. My people, the Temoak and many other Tribal Nations caught and tamed them for years. If the BLM wants to lease lands, they need to ensure the cattle have irrigated lands, alfalfa, that they do not impede on other habitat for wildlife. Why lease lands, ruin them and move on to another area. Quit barbwiring every ‘freaking’ lot! We could eat less meat, but they would ship the cattle overseas regardless. Quit shipping livestock overseas. Each country needs to stive for self-sufficiancy. Quit shipping oil too! God save the wildhorses, and quit blaming them, they need to be treated will, afterall they hauled your wagon trains to get to the west. aho!

  • Sue carter May 14, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Big Bad Dave Colin’s says ten years “isn’t going to cut it.” What are you going to do Dave? Call your Bunkerville cousins and the Militia?

  • Tyler November 17, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    So, just a minor detail. Please remember that I am in no way against either removing or leaving the horses. But I would have to bring up a small detail. I live in a county where wild horses roam and they are beautiful creatures, but if there were 2 million horses in our country I would imagine that the same thing would happen to horses that happen to deer. Car accidents and lots of animals having to be put down because of it. The society we live in today tends to push for growth. Each city wants to expand in one way or another and the more it expands the more it encroaches on the natural residents.

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