The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Battle Mountain District, Mount Lewis Field Office; Ely District, Egan Field Office; and Elko District, Tuscarora Field Office; have issued the Decision Record for the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Diamond Complex Wild Horse Gather. The BLM will implement a phased-in management approach to reach the appropriate management level (AML) of 123-210. The initial gather is tentatively scheduled to begin after January 10, 2013 and will last approximately three weeks. The Diamond Complex includes the Diamond, Diamond Hills North and Diamond Hills South herd management areas (HMAs), and is managed as a complex due to movement of the wild horses between the HMAs. The proposed gather area is north of Eureka, Nev. in Eureka, White Pine and Elko Counties.
The proposed gather is needed to remove excess wild horses to help prevent further deterioration of the range, achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and achieve and maintain healthy, viable wild horse populations. Due to severe drought conditions in 2012, forage and water is very limited for the existing overpopulation of wild horses. The planned gather is also needed to prevent widespread decline of wild horse body condition and death due to starvation during this coming winter.
The phased approach will include conducting three to four gathers over a 10 year period to reach AML and the increased use of fertility control and adjustment of sex ratios to slow population growth rates and require the removal of fewer wild horses in follow-up gathers. The initial operation will remove approximately 603 excess wild horses out of an estimated 813 horses currently residing in the Complex. All mares selected for release back to the HMAs will be treated with PZP, a fertility control vaccine, and sex ratios will be adjusted to 60/40 to favor stallions in the post-gather population.