The Bureau of Land Management is looking to remove 138 wild horses from two herd areas in northeast California and far northwest Nevada, as well as treating 48 mares with a long-term contraceptive.
The bureau’s Surprise Field Office is seeking public comments on an environmental assessment for the gather in the Buckhorn and Copppersmith herd management areas.
The public consultation period runs until October 10.
The bureau proposes gathering about 234 horses and removing 138 from the Buckhorn and Coppersmith areas.
Its goal is to bring the population to 109 wild horses, which is the lower end of the appropriate management level of 109-160 animals in the two herd areas. The Coppersmith area has a population range of 58-85 horses, and the Buckhorn area’s established population level is 50-75 horses.
Of the horses gathered, the bureau plans to release back to the range 48 mares treated with a fertility control drug, and 48 stallions to maintain the herd size and help slow population growth.
The BLM would confirm wild horse populations using inventory flights before and after roundup operations.
Horses removed from the range would be offered for public adoption. If no adoption demand exists, they will be cared for in the bureau’s system of long-term pastures in the Midwest, retaining their federal protection status.
The bureau estimates the wild horse population at 247 animals within and around the two areas. The horses are consuming up to three times the amount of forage allocated to them and causing damage to riparian and wetland areas, it says.
The material is online at www.blm.gov/ca/surprise. Click on the link for Buckhorn and Coppersmith Wild Horse Population Management Plan 2012. Those who prefer the document in written or computer disc form can request copies from the BLM Surprise Field Office at (530) 279-6101.
A 30-day public comment period runs through Oct. 10, 2012. The BLM will consider comments in developing a Decision Record to be released this fall.
Comments should be sent to Surprise Field Office, Attn: Buckhorn and Coppersmith, PO Box 460, Cedarville, CA 96104. Comments may also be sent via email to [email protected]. To be most helpful, comments should be specific to the alternatives presented in the EA.