Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BLM extends public comment period for Nevada wild horse round up


November 17, 12:34 PMLA Equine Policy Examiner

A harem band of Nevada wild horses                                        photo by Carrol Abel

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Yesterday's announcement of an extended public comment period by Bureau of Land Management's Winnemucca District Office left some people scratching their heads while others were applauding the decision.  An October release of the Preliminary Environmental Assessment for a scheduled removal of wild horses from five herd management areas in Northern Nevada dubbed the "Calico Complex" was scheduled with just 21 days for public comment.  The usual comment period is 30 days.
Lisa Roth, BLM Public Affairs Specialist, explains the extension by saying that they received several complaints on the shortened 21 day duration.  As of yesterday, BLM officials reported over 7,000 public comments had been received.
One of several disputed needs quoted in the document for removal of between 2,476 and 2,787 wild horses is to "reduce impacts to rangeland and wildlife resources from overgrazing by wild horses."  Sources within the wild horse advocate community point to the BLM admission that 2,500 cattle graze the complex and ask why the horses are always blamed. A photo of damage to a watering hole displayed in the BLM document is curiously absent of horse feces and yet the damage is blamed on horses.  Scientific references used in the Environmental Assessment are from the 1970's and 80's.
Other points of contention are; accuracy of population counts, process for determining appropriate management level, equitable implementation of multiple land use policies, and definition of the term     "thriving natural ecological balance".
The BLM is asking for substantive comments on the Environmental Assessment by Sunday, November 22.  Questions and written comments should be directed to:
Dave Hays , Field Manager , Black Rock field office, BLM Winnemucca District Office, 5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd., Winnemucca, Nevada, 89445-22921.  Comments may also be submitted by e-mail to  and should include "Calico Complex Capture Plan (Fox)" in the subject line.

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