SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE
WINNEMUCCA — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Winnemucca District, Black Rock Field Office, has issued the Decision Record for the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Calico Mountains Complex Wild Horse Capture Plan. The decision is for the BLM to gather and remove excess wild horses so that about 600-900 wild horses remain in these herd management areas (HMAs) north of Gerlach, Nevada, in Washoe and Humboldt counties. Fertility control will be used to slow population growth to reduce the need for future gathers.
“The current wild horse population in these HMAs is more than three times what the range can handle,” said District Manager Gene Seidlitz. “We need to gather and remove about 2,500 excess wild horses in the five HMAs to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance on the land and address the serious damage to the environment caused by this overpopulation. By keeping the wild horse population within the appropriate management levels, we can prevent further deterioration of delicate Lahontan cutthroat trout streams, riparian zones, wildlife habitat, wilderness values and other important resources in these HMAs.”
Since the most recent gather in 2005, forage and water supplies have become limited due to extreme drought conditions in the complex. The horses’ winter range is limited and inadequate resources exist to support the current population. Without a gather, the horses’ body conditions—which are already compromised—could further deteriorate, resulting in a situation later this winter that would require emergency horse removals to prevent horse fatalities.
The five HMAs that comprise the Calico Mountains Complex are the Black Rock Range East, Black Rock Range West, Calico Mountains, Granite Range, and Warm Springs Canyon. The gather is expected to continue into late February or early March 2010.
The BLM will use helicopters to capture the wild horses and will transport the animals by motorized vehicles. The use of helicopters, which is authorized by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, has proven to be a safe, effective, and practical means for gathering excess wild horses from the public lands, and large scale geographic areas such as the Calico Mountains Complex. Horses removed from the range will be offered for adoption to qualified individuals. Unadopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and treated, and will retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 law. The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.
The gather and impacts are described and analyzed in the Calico Mountains Complex Capture Plan Final EA. The EA and other information about the Calico Mountains Complex gather are posted on the BLM Website at http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo.html. The BLM also will provide updates and information at the same Web address on a regular basis throughout the course of the gather.
For more information, please call Black Rock Field Manager Dave Hays, 775-623-1500.