Saturday, November 13, 2010

BLM: Fish Springs Horse Update

From Willis Lamm:


BLM and advocates have reached agreement on the one remaining issue
involving the Pine Nut gather - the Fish Springs horses.  These horses
will not all be gathered off as originally proposed.  Instead local
advocates will identify some "problem horses" for removal (i.e., a band
of young adoptable bachelor studs that have become desensitized to
humans and are running through adjacent neighborhoods) and BLM will
remove some weanlings from bands that have strayed off the HMA, treating
the mares with PZP and releasing them.  The treated mares will be
returned with their respective stallions in their original "family

This agreement will still provide for an overall horse population that
is consistent with the current Resource Management Plan.  This
"specialized" approach to managing the Fish Springs horses was made
possible due to the historic involvement of the region's horse advocates
in helping identify and resolve horse problems, protecting resources and
getting horses placed with adopters.  Advocates and advocate groups will
assist with monitoring, problem identification and helping get horses
that are removed placed with appropriate adopters.

BLM's fresh approaches involving the Fish Springs, Pine Nut and Walker
horses should benefit a number of parties of interest.

These approaches should not increase BLM's holding facility burden, an
issue of concern expressed by Senator Reid.

The utilization of additional Federal lands (the Hawthorne Army depot)
and involvement of horse groups and other agencies to assist in the
control, management and placement of horses fits within the scope of
Secretary Salazar's initiative.

Bringing the various "stakeholders" together to produce practical
solutions is consistent with Director Abbey's objectives.

The extensive engagement of the public and advocates by BLM personnel to
inform the public and to identify and resolve issues of concern follows
the expressed intent of District Manager Chris MacAlear with respect to
sensitivity to community concerns.

Management approaches that produce more stable and healthy horse
populations, and therefore contribute to more stable and healthy
wildlife populations, address the recommendations of the County's
Wildlife Board.

As a result of the combined commitments of all of the parties, no horses
will be removed from the Pine Nut HMA, but instead the mares will be
trapped, treated and released in their family bands.  Horses outside the
HMA but that are determined to not be causing any problems will be
subject to selective removal of adoptable weanlings and the mares
treated and released with their family bands.

Representatives from the Fish Springs Posse, Wild Horse Preservation
League and LRTC participated in these negotiations, with Sheila Schwadel
leading the delegation.  Our thanks go to Linda Kelly, Alan Bittner,
John Axtell and Alan Shepard for producing a "model" that follows the
intent of the Resource Management Plan but at the same time allows
advocates to become involved in ways that reduce the needs for removals,
and for collaborating with advocates to more efficiently place those
horses that do come off.  As a result this model should reduce BLM's
overall costs associated with this gather and for the downstream holding
of removed horses.

In a sense these latest developments are reflective of years past when
the advocate groups were more routinely involved "hands on" in
cooperation with BLM regarding resource management, horse population
management and horse placement.  Hopefully this latest model will be
successful and the parties can establish a contemporary track record
with respect to alternatives to large scale horse removals.

While the West's horse ranges are diverse and models such as this one
may not likely be practical everywhere, these approaches to managing the
Pine Nut and Walker Lake herds could demonstrate what can be
accomplished when the various "stakeholders" work constructively

Sorry. No drama in this report  Just results.

":O) Willis

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