Sunday, June 28, 2009

BLM to Eliminate 11 Wild Horse Herds in Nevada

I can hear Leo Heil turning over in his grave!

Fwd: 11 wild horse herds planned for elimination by BLM's Ely Distr
Posted by: "" sagebrush_mustang
Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:22 pm (PDT)

Promoting Wild Horses & U2 The Other Living Legends

--- Begin forwarded message:

From: Craig Downer
Subject: [Wy_Mustangs] 11 wild horse herds planned for
elimination by BLM's Ely District, Nevada. Protest by July 6th,
2009 [1 Attachment]
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2009 21:16:56 -0700 (PDT)

[Attachment(s) from Craig Downer included below]

June 27, 2009

John F. Ruhs, District Manager

Ely District Office, Bureau of Land Management

HC33 Box 33500, Ely, NV 89301-9408

Re: 8560(NVL0000) May 29, 2009. Notice of Proposed Action:
‘Elimination of all wild horses from 11 Herd
Areas’. Attn. also: Ruth Thompson, wh & b spec. T.
775-289-1826 (Seaman & White River HAs).
; Ben Noyes, wh & b spec. T.
775-289-1836. (Caliente wild horse HAs Complex)

Dear Mr. Ruhs:

I have received your letter of May 29th announcing the zeroing
out of 11 wild horse herd areas (HAs) in your district. I have
reviewed your justification for this drastic action and find it
to be deceptive and untrue. You and your team, as public
servants, are supposed to fairly represent diverse public
interests on public lands, not just livestock, big game, mining
and other extractive activities. What you are proposing and your
justification for such constitute an abandonment of duty. You
intentionally target wild horses for elimination in order to
clear the way for other more politically pushy interests.

I have noted that in the Seaman and White River HAs, according to
the figures you have provided, there are 475,100 legal acres and
a presently censused population of 350 remaining wild horses.
Don’t you realize that this works out to the enormous area
of 1,357.43 legal acres per remaining wild horse! This is hardly
the “overpopulation” you claim! Rather
“under population” more accurately describes this
small remnant within this vast region. Your claim is arbitrary
and designed to secure the land and its resources for other
interests, e.g. livestock, big game, oil and gas leases, etc.
Your final terse statements purporting to justify the wholesale
elimination of the two herds slant to lay the blame on the horses
for environmental damage while ignoring livestock present, past
history and other factors. For example, you make no mention of
the role that unwisely located fences -- including those that
deprive horses of access to water -- are playing in unnaturally
constricting the movements of the horses, contrary to the true
intention of the Wild Horse Act within their legal HAs! -- In
short, I simply do not believe you here; and your track record
demonstrates an extreme prejudice against wild horses in the

Your injustice toward the wild horses in the nine legal herd
areas of the Caliente Wild Horse Complex (Meadow Valley Mountain,
Blue Nose Peak, Delamar Mountain, Clover Mountains, Clove Creek,
Applewhite, Mormon Mountain, Little Mountain and Miller

Flat HAs) is even more egregious! I’m sure you realize
that with only 270 wild horses in this vast legal wild horse
domain summing to 911,892 acres, there are 3,377.38 legal acres
for every remaining wild horse! It is extremely hard to believe
that this small number of wild horses are overpopulated in such a
vast area, yet this is what you are asking. Also, it is
remarkable that you overlook the substantial role that wild
horses play in reducing fire hazard by consuming large quantities
of dry flammable vegetation over the vast areas where they roam
(home range). Yet you tersely list “drought conditions,
fire and nuisance animals” as your sole justifications for
removing all of the wild horses from this vast complex of legal
herd areas. You are not telling the whole story here –
not anywhere near! How many allotment drift fences interfere
with wild horse movements that naturally moderate grazing
pressure throughout these HAs and are themselves contrary to the
Wild Horse Act? And for that matter, how many livestock graze in
these legal wild horse HAs, where by law the wild horses are
supposed to be given priority, i.e. “principal”
status (since overall their legal HAs represent only a small
fraction of the public lands). This would truly be
“multiple use,” not the over-magnification of wild
horse presence/impact in which over the years BLM/USFS, has
repeatedly engaged!

I am keenly disillusioned with your decision to eliminate all
wild horses from these vast and legal HAs in my home state of
Nevada. How can you preserve the true spirit of the West without
wild horses in the wild? Seems you are bent on killing this
spirit rather than preserving or, better yet, restoring it, as
you should be doing.

Summing all of the 11 wild horse HAs planned for zeroing out
yields 1,386,992 acres; and summing all of the presently
remaining wild horses in these 11 herd areas yields 620 wild
horses. This signifies 2,237.08 legal acres per remaining wild
horse. Yet you still mean to tell me that in these vast areas
wild horses are overpopulated and destroying the ecosystem?! I
find this extremely hard to believe, especially given my
knowledge of wild horse behavior and ecology as well as public
lands politics (See Western Turf Wars by Mike Hudak, 2008, Biome
Books). It is farcical that such a vast region cannot support a
modest population of 620 wild horses. I believe the root cause
for their planned elimination is the hostile attitude toward them
by certain humans, especially vested interests blinded by their
possessions and the uncaring or uncourageous public officials
that go along with them!

A couple years ago, I protested this outrageous plan and am again
vigorously protesting this travesty. This is directed at the
wild horses, a restored native species in North America with so
much that is truly positive to contribute to the Western
ecosystem and ambiance; and it is also directed at the
substantial majority of Nevadan and citizens throughout America
who enthusiastically support wild horses in the wild and have
repeatedly expressed their strong desire to see them fairly
treated and represented upon the public lands – no more
nor less than what the Wild Horse Act requires. This is your job
as public servants; and I strongly request the cancellation of
your decision to zero out these 11 remnant herds. They represent
many generations of natural selection to their specific
eco-regions, a benign process that establishes harmony with the
many sympatric species of plants and animals they, in fact, live
with, and not against. Clearly it is we people who need to
change, not the wild horses. These powerful and beautiful
animals are returning to the land of their evolutionary origin
and to that ecological way of life and fitting that is their
inheritance from millions of years upon this Earth, and herein
upon the North American continent.


Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist

Author: Wild Horses: Living Symbols of Freedom

P.O. Box 456, Minden, NV 89423.

P.S. I have personally visited several of the herds you are
planning to zero out – especially memorable was the
Delamar herd amid the Joshua trees – and it would be a
tragic personal loss were you to follow through on these
ill-conceived plans to eliminate the horses from this
life-nurturing place of freedom and biodiversity.

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