ELKO — The Wells and Schell Field Offices of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Elko and Ely District Offices are seeking public input for the preparation of a preliminary environmental assessment (EA) that will address the need to reduce wild horse populations to the appropriate management levels of 471 to 788 animals within the Antelope Complex of four herd management areas (HMAs) in northeastern Nevada. The BLM will accept comments until January 27, 2010. An additional opportunity for public comment will be available when the preliminary EA is released for public review.
The Antelope Complex includes the Antelope, Antelope Valley, Goshute, and Spruce/Pequop HMAs. The EA will examine the need to remove 1,506 excess wild horses to improve rangeland health and to preserve the health of the wild horse herds in these areas.
The proposed gather would be conducted later this summer or fall. The gather is needed to protect public rangeland from undue degradation caused by excessive numbers of wild horses and to protect herd health by insuring adequate forage resources are available. The post-gather population of 471 wild horses would represent the lower limit of the appropriate management level (AML) and should allow the herd to grow to the upper limit of 788 animals over a four-year period without the need for additional gathers to remove excess animals in the interim.
To lengthen the time before a future gather may be required, BLM is also considering the implementation of fertility control treatments and male-to-female ratio adjustments as part of this gather. Approximately 236 mares released may receive the fertility control vaccine.
The BLM is seeking any information, data, analysis, issues or concerns about this proposed gather and removal of wild horses. Information and comments received by Jan. 27 will be used to develop the preliminary EA. Comments may be submitted in writing to: BLM Wells Field Office, Attention: Wells Field Office Manager, 3900 Idaho Street, Elko, NV 89801. For more information, contact Bruce Thompson, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist at (775) 753-0286.