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Preliminary environmental assessment available for Tri-State-Calico Complex Wild Horse Gather

By ThisIsReno

Winnemucca, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Winnemucca District, Black Rock Field Office has prepared a preliminary environmental assessment (EA) for the Tri-State-Calico Complex Wild Horse and Burro Gather Plan. The BLM is proposing to gather approximately 1,298 wild horses and 140 wild burros, of which as many as 268 wild horses would be released back to the range following the gather.  The gather area is located northeast of Gerlach, Nev., within Humboldt and Washoe counties.  The BLM would appreciate receiving substantive comments on the preliminary EA by July 18, 2011.

In the proposed action, of the wild horses released back to the range, approximately 87 mares would receive a 22-month Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP-22) immunocontraceptive vaccine treatment and 181 studs/geldings would be released due to sex ratio adjustments (60 percent male/40 percent female). The goal is to slow population growth and maintain population size within the appropriate management level, and extend the time before a gather to remove excess wild horses would be needed.

“Keeping the herd population in balance with the available forage and water helps keep these wild horses healthy,” said Rolando Mendez, Black Rock field manager. “It is the BLM’s responsibility to sustain the health of the rangelands, and achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance.”

The BLM is proposing to finish the proposed action and decision made in the Calico Mountains Complex Wild Horse Gather Plan from 2010.  Although the Calico Mountains Complex was gathered in Jan. and Feb. 2010, the overall proposed action was not achieved due to winter conditions and wild horse movement within the tri-state area of Nevada, Oregon, and California, which necessitates the need for this follow-up gather.

The BLM estimates there are currently 1,602 wild horses within the Complex and 179 wild burros. The gather is proposed in order to return the wild horse and burro population to within the appropriate management level of 572 to 952 wild horses and 39 to 65 wild burros.

The Complex consists of approximately 584,000 acres (public and private) but the gather area consists of approximately 1,041,000 acres to encompass wild horses and burros residing outside of the herd management areas (HMAs).

Wild horses and burros from the Tri-State-Calico Complex would be gathered as a Complex or unit as herds move and interact throughout. The proposed gather is being conducted in conjunction with BLM California’s High Rock Wild Horse Gather, which would take place immediately prior to this proposed gather.  This is conducive because both gathers are located within the tri-state area where wild horse movement between these areas exists.  The Complex gather involves areas beyond the HMA boundaries as wild horse and burros have moved outside of HMAs in search of forage, water and space, due to the current over-population of wild horses and burros in these areas.

The Complex includes the following HMAs: Black Rock Range East, Black Rock Range West, Calico Mountains, Granite Range, Warm Springs Canyon, and McGee Mountain.  The proposed gather is tentatively scheduled to begin in December 2011 and will last approximately 40-50 days.

The document may be reviewed online at http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo/blm_information/nepa0.html. Printed copies are available upon request from the BLM Winnemucca District Office.  Questions and written comments should be directed to: Rolando Mendez, Field Manager, Black Rock Field Office, BLM Winnemucca District, 5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd., Winnemucca, NV 89445-2921.

Comments may also be submitted by email to [email protected]. Email messages should include “Tri-State-Calico Complex Gather Plan (Whitman)” in the subject line. Public comments submitted for this project, including names and addresses of commentors will be available for public review at the Winnemucca District Office during regular business hours 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.