Monday, June 14, 2010

Short Notes from the Denver Workshop

The Cloud Foundation Blog

Short Notes from the Denver Workshop

By thecloudfoundation
our apologies that the livestream was cut off- it will pick up tomorrow at 8am MST for the Advisory Board Meeting
Brief Notes from the Public Workshop – please keep in mind that these are quick notes and whever possible I’ll type fast enough to quote people but in general, please refer to the livestream video (and soon to be archived video) for specifics. -blog editor.
*note, we have an excellent diversity of speakers and groups here and a very good dialogue going that is well-facilitated and fairly on topic. By rough estimate there are over 125 people in attendance. Most are for the horses and sustaining wild herds.*
In an earlier comment Carol Walker: read the definition of sustain (helpful for BLM who recommends gelding herds, skewed sex ratios, massive infertility control).
Suggests that non-sustaining alternatives are really not alternatives if we are going to discuss SUSTAINABLE herds and want them to have a future in the American West.
sus·tain  (s-stn)
tr.v. sus·tained, sus·tain·ing, sus·tains
1. To keep in existence; maintain.
2. To supply with necessities or nourishment; provide for.
3. To support from below; keep from falling or sinking; prop.
4. To support the spirits, vitality, or resolution of; encourage.
5. To bear up under; withstand: can’t sustain the blistering heat.
6. To experience or suffer: sustained a fatal injury.
7. To affirm the validity of: The judge has sustained the prosecutor’s objection.
8. To prove or corroborate; confirm.
9. To keep up (a joke or assumed role, for example) competently.
Karen Sussman (ISPMB): we need to keep harem’s together, maintain beautiful social order. Reason that reproduction increases is due to mismanaged removals as we destroy the family bands that keep. Referenced her studies on the herds rescued and living at ISPMB
“you don’t know how many horses you have out there” – Colorado advocate
Debate on numbers – BLM is not giving consistent numbers and advocates cite their website, last year’s numbers and more as examples of the inconsistencies. For example there were 20-25,000 wild horses last month on the range and now there are 38,000.
Adoption Demand being discussed—there is no consistent approach to adoptions and marketing of our American mustangs—on one hand you have “Adopt a Living Legend”
“True value of mustangs is on the range. The mission of the extreme mustang makeover is to adopt out captured mustangs. Focusing on the youth and pairing youngsters with yearlings to train”- Patti Colbert of the Mustang Heritage Foundation. Discusses “stickability” of these horses with their adopters.
Best product in the industry, best horses, best hooves, average adoption of $1800 this past weekend in Ft. Collins.
MARKETING needs to be in all caps and we need professionals to do this—crowd cheers.
Some debate over whether mustangs are competing with domestic horses, some folks don’t want them on the market- others say that they’re not taking away buyers, the people who want mustangs want mustangs.
Discussion on Long term holding and lack of transparency- Lily Thomas says that all holding facitilies are available for viewing. When questioned on why the public has been barred from the Broken Arrow, long-term facilities etc. Lily replied that those are on private land and never meant for public access. Several commenter’s say: if you contract with private land-owners than work it out to have public access. The trust is missing and the BLM’s attempts to “use accredited, independent observers” does not suffice.  The public does not want BLM to use people – the public wants public access and cameras. Linda Hanick of Colorado suggests a webcam—if we can have an underwater live webcam on the gulf oil spill than we can certainly have a live webcam on the roundups and holding facilities.
Ginger Kathrens: “Because I own horses so I can understand the pain of seeing an injured horses. However, these are not domestic animals gone wild, they are wild animals. They deserve to have their wild lives and when we skew the sex ratio, use infertility drugs at the wrong time of the year we destroy that and this is a component of animal welfare
Tina Nappe (Sierra Club, anti-wild horse) this whole idea of dying naturally won’t work.
Suggesting that the public won’t be ok with horses dying on the range (although as two biologists in the room pointed out- wild animals do die in the wild, that is how it works).
Laura Leigh: comments in 60 days is not a dialogue, one public workshop does not suffice.
Julianne French: one of your
Cattoor’s were just awarded another contract on May 26th for $500,000+ despite being convicted of hunting horses, aiding and abetting.
The BLM’s 2003 strategic research plan lays out scientific goals. Compinents of pop. contraol and
genetic diversity of WH and B herds is being evaluated. The draft goal for science and research highlights applying the best available techniques. Reducing growth rates, assessing growth rates and establishing AML. Sterilization of both makes and females and additional pop. controls. Another possible management technique is to use whatever they can just as soon as it is safe and legal and not harmful to environment. Review current science and possible actions.
  1. 1) commission NAS national research council to review – make recommendations to BLM
  2. 2) review historic recommendations from Nat. Wild Horse Board
  3. 3) utilizes current rangeland health information to support decisions that affect the management of wild hors and burro herds and their habitat.  Achevie HMA specific objectives. Use ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT
summary: BLM would continue to conduct research and use best
What percentage of the budget is dedicated to the range management, noxious weed control, inventory, monitoring, land health assessments, fire program etc. No one in room can give straight answer.
Don Glenn says: the montitoring and inventor and HMA planning– around $3 million.
doing catch and release roundups in FY 2011 with aggressive fertility control.
Don Glenn adds that we have to predicate our determination on excess animals. Adds that they have a research committee.
Karen Sussman asks: how many of the remaining 180 herds  are not disrupted- do you have any baseline studies on herds that haven’t been rounded up in the past five years.
AH Marsh: census methods, how does research support the combination of census methods — BLM will only use one of the techniques. Depends on funding, staffing, site specific decision.
Sage grouse considerations: may need to change management in some areas.
Question: how can you manage wild horses when you don’t know how many there are? – response is that the BLM is always looking for more science and knows enough to continue.
Everyone’s comments on science so far seem to be centering around knowing how many horses we have and the impacts on the public lands that these horses have or don’t have– a real lack of credible range data.
Karen Sussman: let’s place a moratorium on gathers for at least a few herds so we can get baseline data
Cassandra Nunez, biologist who has studied the Shackleford Banks horses for 17 years: there is a lot of research that has been done that indicates what normal, baseline herd reproduction is– she will prepare a packet for BLM to read. Vast majority of crowd agrees that this should be added to the knowledge base.
Suzanne Roy, AWHPC: testing self-regulation in a research program– test the theory. This would be a valuable addition to the science base.
Katie Fite, Western Watersheds Project: we need better data on the impacts of livestock on HMAs- integrative management necessary and must consider health of the entire ecosystem rather than focusing on one area (ex: riparian areas being protected leading to extensive fencing to keep livestock out led to massive disruption for Sage Grouse).
Ginger suggests that we have a 2-day science workshop and include Dr. Cothran, Dr. Kirkpatrick, and many other experts — this is just a start.
Linda Hanick: the N. Colorado Mustang group spent a morning with USGS to learn more about their work and population count. USGS finds 15% reproductive rate, not the 20% that BLM uses.
Julianne: increase funding for research and science, fully transparent results shared with public.
Makendra: the science and the reason are missing from the Salazar Plan and the BLM’s managment in general– before anything else we need to know and have proof of number of horses on the range- and in holding.
J. Michael Harty did an excellent job of facilitating this meeting and it stayed on track and we only went overtime by a an hour. This is just the start to the talks.
Everyone has been asked to fill out a card that says I would be willing to help BLM by ___________. Maybe everyone could give their suggestions to BLM on this.

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