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BLM signs decision record for Clan Alpine wild horse gather


blm_logo-300x261-1833515-9119681BLM NEWS RELEASE

CARSON CITY – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Carson City District, has issued the Decision Record for the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Clan Alpine Wild Horse Gather Plan. Fertility control will be used on the Clan Alpine gather to slow the population growth rate, maintain the appropriate management level (AML) and to reduce the need to remove large numbers of excess horses in the future.

The Clan Alpine Herd Management Area (HMA) is located 60 miles east of Fallon, Nevada.  The BLM estimates there are 724 wild horses in the HMA.  The AML for the HMA is 619-979. The BLM plans to gather about 580 wild horses, treat the mares with a fertility control vaccine and release the horses back into the Clan Alpine HMA.  Wild horses residing outside the HMA boundaries, and any weaned foals, yearlings and orphaned foals within the HMA may be removed and made available for adoption to qualified individuals.  The gather is tentatively scheduled to begin in early-February 2011.

The gather is needed to maintain the AML and a thriving natural ecological balance for the remaining wild horse population, wildlife, permitted livestock and vegetation within the Clan Alpine HMA. The AML was established upon completion of an in-depth analysis of habitat suitability, resource monitoring and population inventory data.  The upper limit of the AML range is the maximum number of wild horses that can be maintained within an HMA while maintaining a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple use relationship on the public lands. Establishing the AMLs within a population range allows for the periodic removal of excess animals (to the low end) and subsequent population growth (to the maximum level) between removals.  Development of the Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP) for the HMA included public involvement.

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 confirm that the animals are not domestic horses.  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 Pine Nut, Pilot Mountain and Clan Alpine HMA Gather Plan Final EA. The EA, separate Decision Records for each specific gather, associated documents, maps and other information about the gathers are 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 each gather.

For more information, please call (775) 885-6000, for Coreen Francis, Supervisory Natural Resource Specialist for the Stillwater Field Office.

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