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Federal managers sign agreements to improve management of wild/feral horses and burros


blm_logo-300x261-2656681-3617173BLM NEWS RELEASE

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) managers signed the Charter and 5-Year Work Plan for the Tri-State Wild and Feral Horse and Burro Executive Team and Operational Working Group (Working Group), which will provide improved coordinated management of horses and burros on BLM-managed public lands in northwest Nevada, northeast California and south central Oregon and FWS-managed lands within the Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex.


The BLM Executive Team signatories on March 3, included Edward Shepard, Oregon/Washington State Director Amy Lueders, Nevada Acting State Director, James Wesley Abbott, California Acting State Director and FWS Regional Director Robyn Thomson.  The Working Group will include BLM district managers, field managers, state program leads and the FWS Project Leader/Refuge Managers/specialists.


The tri-state area encompasses the FWS’ Sheldon-Hart Refuge Complex and thirteen BLM-managed herd management areas (HMAs): six in Nevada, six in California; and one in Oregon.  The agencies have different missions, laws and regulations for management of wild/feral horses and burros, and the Charter and Work Plan will provide the agencies a framework to cooperatively administer the area as a single unit to better manage animals that frequently move across BLM and FWS-managed lands.


The Executive Team and Working Group will develop a 5-year Work Plan that will help the agencies prioritize their respective project proposals, coordinate funding/cost sharing strategies, planning and implementation to leverage cost/benefits, and establish strategies for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) completion as needed. The BLM also will analyze options to consolidate HMAs and as necessary, use the BLM’s planning process to adjust appropriate management levels.


The Working Group will provide oversight and leadership to implement actions established by the Executive Team under the framework of the BLM-FWS Memorandum of ‘Understanding (MOU) for Wild and Feral Horse and Burro Management signed September 2010.  The MOU established the BLM and FWS will jointly coordinate administration of the wild/feral horses and burros within the tri-state area to ensure the animals are managed as a single population using the best available science regarding all aspects of program management (population inventories, gathers, habitat monitoring, outreach, etc.).  The Charter, Operational 5-year Work Plan, and MOU are available on the web at http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en.html.

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