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BLM signs decision record for Lahontan wild horse gather


blm_logo-300x261-3985436-2378550BLM NEWS RELEASE

CARSON CITY — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Carson City District, Sierra Front Field Office, has issued the Decision Record for the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Lahontan Wild Horse Gather Plan.

The Lahontan Herd Management Area is located approximately 35 miles east of Carson City.  The decision is to gather and remove approximately 94 excess horses from within and outside the boundaries of the HMA on or about mid-November to December 2010.  The gather is anticipated to take two days to complete.

Excess horses are currently over-utilizing rangelands inside the HMA and have moved to areas outside the HMA boundaries.  The gather is needed to achieve the upper range of the Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 10 horses in order to maintain a thriving natural ecological balance for the remaining wild horse population, wildlife, permitted livestock and vegetation within the HMA.  The AML for the HMA was set after analysis of monitoring data and following a public decision-making process that resulted in a Multiple Use Decision (MUD) in 1993.

At the time of the enactment of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 the estimated horse population on the HMA was four animals.  The current population estimate is approximately 10 times above the upper range of AML for the HMA.

The BLM will use helicopters to gather 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 the safest and most practical means for gathering excess wild horses.

The BLM coordinates closely with the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s (NDOA) Brands Division to provide Brand Inspectors during wild horse removal efforts across the state.  NDOA brand inspectors must verify the animals are excess wild horses and burros as defined by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.  Once verified, the Brand Inspector will provide the BLM a certificate to transport the animals. Without this cooperation and coordination, the BLM would not be able to remove the excess wild horses and burros which, if not removed in a timely manner, would result in degradation of our native rangelands.  The NDOA also may take jurisdiction of any estray, branded or abandoned domestic horse(s) under the State of Nevada estray laws.

Wild horses removed from the range will be offered for adoption to qualified individuals through the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Un-adopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for, 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 Lahontan HMA Gather Plan Final EA. The EA, Decision Record, associated documents, maps and other information about the Lahontan HMA is posted on the BLM Carson City website at http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field.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 Alan Bittner, Staff Supervisor, Sierra Front Field Office, 775-885-6000.

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