Thursday, February 24, 2011

BLM "Accelerates" Reforms to WFH&B Management

From BLM Press Release

Date: February 24, 2011

Contact: Michelle Barret, 202-208-6913
Tom Gorey, 202-912-7420

BLM Accelerates Fundamental Reforms to
Wild Horse and Burro Management
Agency to Cut Back on Gathers; Increase Fertility Control and Adoptions;
Strengthen Humane Animal Care and Handling Measures

Washington, DC – Director of the Bureau of Land Management Bob Abbey today announced that following an extensive public process, the agency is accelerating fundamental reforms to how it manages wild horses and burros on public lands.

The proposed strategy announced today includes reducing the number of wild horses removed from the range for at least the next 2 years; reaffirming the central role that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)’s on-going review of the program will have on science-based management decisions; increasing adoptions; significantly expanding the use of fertility control to maintain herd levels; and improving its care and handling procedures to enhance the humane treatment of the animals. The BLM will continue to oppose the killing or slaughter of wild horses or burros as a management practice.

“We’ve taken a top to bottom look at the wild horse and burro program and have come to a straightforward conclusion: we need to move ahead with reforms that build on what is working and move away from what is not,” Director Abbey said. “To achieve our goal of improving the health of the herds and America’s public lands, we need to enlist the help of partners, improve transparency and responsiveness in the program, and reaffirm science as the foundation for management decisions. It will take time to implement these reforms, but as a first step we are aiming to increase adoptions and broaden the use of fertility control. And while we do this, we are reducing removals while NAS helps us ensure that our management is guided by the best available science.”
These reforms respond to the input of more than 9,000 members of the public who commented on last year’s Wild Horse and Burro Program Strategy Development Document through public meetings and written statements.

Specifically, the BLM proposes to:

NAS study—The BLM has commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to review previous wild horse management studies and make recommendations on how the BLM should proceed in light of the latest scientific research. The NAS review is expected to be completed in early 2013. Specifically the study will look at the methods for population modeling, the annual rates of population growth, fertility control methods, evaluation of carrying capacity of various lands to support wild horse herds, genetic diversity in wild horse herds, and predator impact on wild horse population growth.

Issue Procedures to Facilitate Long-term Care by Partners -- The BLM will release within the next 30 days specific procedures by which members of the public can apply to enter into partnerships with the federal government for long-term care of wild horses that are removed from the public rangeland.

Increase Science-Based Fertility Control. The BLM proposes to significantly increase the number of mares treated with fertility control – from 500 in 2009 to a target of 2,000 in each of the next 2 years during the NAS study, pending sufficient budget allocations. Director Abbey said the BLM’s ultimate goal is to make various fertility control measures the primary means to maintain healthy population levels. He said the BLM intends to work closely with the Humane Society of the United States to implement and monitor this expanded effort.
Reduce Removals – The BLM intends to reduce the annual number of wild horses removed for at least the next 2 years from 10,000 to 7,600 – a level that would essentially maintain the current number of wild horses and burros on the range. The NAS review would be completed in early 2013. Abbey said that while drought or other emergencies may require the removal of more than 7,600 animals, the BLM has decided to adopt this more conservative approach pending input from the NAS regarding the number of horses than can be safety and humanely left on the open range.
In addition, Director Abbey said the BLM will continue to strengthen areas on which it has already started. These include:

Enhance Humane Animal Care and Handling Practices. Director Abbey said the agency will conduct thorough reviews and add appropriate controls to the agency’s contracts and policies to strengthen humane animal care and handling practices. This will apply to both gathering contracts and short-and long-term holding facility contracts.

Promote Volunteerism in the Management of Wild Horses. The proposal calls for increased engagement of the public by enhancing public outreach, recruiting local volunteers to assist in monitoring the health of the rangelands where animals roam, and encourages partnerships to increase herd-related ecotourism.

Improve Transparency and Openness. Director Abbey also said it is important to reaffirm throughout the agency the BLM’s fundamental commitment to transparency in all facets of the wild horse and burro program. This includes increasing public viewing opportunities during gathers and at short-term corrals and long–term care facilities to the highest extent possible without compromising the safety of staff, members of the public, or the animals. The BLM is also committed to the accurate, prompt, and public release of information related to the program.

An analysis of the public’s comments and a detailed proposed implementation strategy will be posted at February 28, 2011. The public is invited to review and provide comments to the BLM on this strategy through March 30, 2011, and should be submitted by email to with “Comments on Strategy” in the subject line.

“This document reflects our commitment to work with all stakeholders to ensure that viable herds of wild horses and burros remain on our nation’s public lands for generations to come,” Abbey said. “We share a common goal to improve the wild horse and burro program and the health of the public lands we manage. Achieving this goal will require a determined focus on reform, new ideas, and opening a new chapter in the management of wild horses, burros, and our public lands.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The "Rolex" Welfare Ranchers

The cattle grazing on public land only contribute to 3% of the American food supply. So essentially, we the taxpayers are subsidizing their presence in order to preserve the "way of life" for these cattle ranchers. This has little to do with providing food for the American diet.


" Two percent -- or about 500 permitees -- run their cattle on about half of all BLM grazing lands. "This includes four billionaires, several oil companies and other wealthy interests. Further, less than 3 percent of the nation's beef ... is produced by public lands ranching," according to research gathered by the Natural Resources Defense Council and endorsed by a total of 34 groups and individuals.

These corporate cowboys, as well as those ranchers who are private individuals, receive an estimated $500 million annually in government subsidies."

and..."while there very well may be public lands ranchers named Buck or Gus or Red, those who own the most land are called, Hewlett-Packard, JR Simplot Co., Union Oil, Texaco, and Anheuser-Busch."


These ventures for them are for the purpose of TAX WRITE-OFFS, because they aren't making money at this. Also, as long as they hold on to the permits they have a vested interest in the alloments, and can even rent them out to others AT A PROFIT.


Please get involved in the efforts to stop the genocide of our wild horses and burros, which is happening primarily to serve the purposes of corporations...also including corporations drilling for natural gas, drilling for oil, transportiing natural gas, and various sorts of mining for minerals all over the western states. These corporations are being allowed to RAPE OUR LAND for their own purposes, and they DON'T CARE ABOUT HUMANS EITHER. The corporations and the people who run them are NOT altruists, they are not doing it on behalf of the national welfare except in terms of how it might increase their own profits, and allow them to maintain their lavish and selfish lifestyles. They care only about themselves and their rich friends, and we let them do this, and we ENABLE THEM to do this.


"Livestock grazing is the most destructive and widespread practice on public lands and is responsible for the extinction and imperilment of numerous species across the west."

More info here;

Saturday, February 19, 2011

BLM releases amendment to McCullugh Peaks drilling plan in Wyoming

By MARTIN KIDSTON The Billings Gazette | Posted: Friday, February 18, 2011 12:30 am

The Bureau of Land Management released its amended environmental assessment last week, clearing the way for exploratory gas drilling in areas of the McCullough Peaks.

The Bill Berrett Corp. first proposed its Rocktober Unit Project in the fall of 2008. The BLM completed its environmental assessment in 2009, giving the company a green light to drill three exploratory wells.

But several environmental groups and a private landowner protested the plan, saying it didn’t do enough to minimize visual impacts to the area, and that it failed to consider the area’s wild mustang population.

Mike Stewart, manager for the BLM’s Cody Field Office, said the amended environmental assessment addresses those and other issues, and found that the project would have no significant impact.

“The wild horse issue revolved around adding cattle guards, but we substituted gates over cattle guards. We also did a thorough analysis of the visual resources out there, and we added a couple stipulations that weren’t in there earlier.”

Several other changes had also taken place since the BLM released its original 2009 assessment, including a federal order to review the land for such wilderness qualities as natural condition, opportunities for solitude and other supplemental values.

Stewart said the mountain plover, which is common to the area, has also been proposed for listing as a threatened species, and new stipulations had to be made to address key nesting habitat of sage grouse.

The issues were included in the new environmental assessment, Stewart said.

“There are seven wells total that we analyzed in that first assessment,” Stewart said. “They (the company) can go forward with three of those applications to drill with the new stipulations on them.”

Drilling the remaining four wells will depend on how the first three wells produce. If the project does move forward, Stewart said, an onsite inspection would take place to identify and protect any site-specific resources.

According to the BLM, the fully established drilling operation would include a network of roads and pipes used to transport natural gas from the wells to a proposed compressor station.

If fully realized, the drilling operation and needed infrastructure would disturb about 155 acres. If the first three exploratory wells failed to produce in commercial quantities, they would be plugged and reclaimed, the document said.

But the project, which hinges on economic conditions, is proposed for an area many cherish for its open views, remoteness, wildlife and pristine quality.

The Wyoming Outdoor Council, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Friends of a Legacy-McCullough Peaks Mustangs and a private landowner joined to protest the BLM’s initial assessment.

“This was a very sensitive area,” Stewart said. “There are lots of thoughts on it from Cody to other places.”

Contact Martin Kidston at 307-527-7250 or

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update from the Field: 90-Day Stay of Execution for Over 500 Wild Buffalo

On Monday, February 14, U.S. District Court Judge Lovell rejected our Emergency Injunction and consequently sentenced over 500 of America's last wild buffalo to a death sentence. We are currently working on an appeal to this decision.

In the darkness of this decision, on Tuesday, BFC patrols were monitoring Yellowstone's Stephens Creek buffalo trap, anticipating the arrival of large livestock trailers that would arrive any day to haul the gentle giants away to slaughter. After hours of such heartbreaking vigilance, seeing buffalo forced into the handling area to suffer the tortures of squeeze shoots and sorting, we received shockingly fantastic news.

On Tuesday afternoon, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer issued an Executive Order expressly forbidding Yellowstone National Park from shipping wild buffalo to slaughter facilities through Montana for the next 90 days. With all other routes closed due to snow, there are no other options for the Park. By his actions, Governor Schweitzer has effectively prevented Yellowstone National Park from slaughtering the 500+ wild buffalo currently trapped inside the Park's Stephens Creek facility.

BFC applauds this decision, celebrating Schweitzer's pronouncement not to allow slaughter, yet we are perplexed as to why Governor Schweitzer would make such a move. This is the same man who in 2005 reinstated the bison "hunt" as a form of "more tolerance" and who, just last year, boasted to livestock interests that "no governor in the history of Montana has killed more buffalo" than he has. In subsequent interviews following his executive order, Schweitzer is using the unsound argument of brucellosis as his flimsy reasoning, claiming to fear that transporting wild buffalo in livestock trailers could somehow threaten Montana's cattle with brucellosis. He is also claiming that the buffalo are Yellowstone's problem and that they must keep the population in check. Wild buffalo are ecologically extinct throughout their native range, and in great danger of becoming fully extinct with current management practices in place. If the brucellosis arguments Schweitzer is using were true, then hunting bison, elk and deer; bison quarantine; elk on the landscape; and numerous other activities would also be deemed unsound. As we see it, the governor is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. What does this decision really mean for the buffalo currently in the trap, and for the others who need to access lower elevation habitat? Yellowstone Park officials have said they are frantically trying to interpret the meaning of the governor's order. Will the Park hold the 500+ buffalo until spring, risking injury, miscarriages, and sickness, or will they release them - as they should - and finally allow them to roam free? Does Schewitzer's executive order make the Interagency Bison Management Plan obsolete? There are more questions than answers with this incredible announcement. For now, we celebrate while we try to learn what is really behind it.

Yellowstone's immediate response has been to haze (push) buffalo further into Yellowstone, instead of ending hazing near the Stephens Creek Trap, as they have been doing for the sake of capture convenience. The Montana Department of Livestock's response has been to increase their patrols in the Gardiner area with the apparent goal of shooting bison. One bull escaped the agents by running up a steep mountainside and the agents have, as of this writing, been unable to shoot any others.

The Montana Department of Livstock tried to eliminate this wild bull buffalo from the landscape yesterday, but he escaped his aggressors and has lived another day wild and free!

The hunt also continues to take a toll on America's last wild population - which currently numbers fewer than 3,700 individual buffalo. More than 150 wild American buffalo have been killed by hunters on Gallatin National Forest lands, just outside of Yellowstone's northern and western boundaries. The Montana hunt finally ended on Feb. 15, and the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes are also done with their buffalo hunt. The Nez Perce and the Confederacy of Umatilla Tribes are now the two entities hunting wild buffalo, both under treaty right. Their hunts will continue through the end of March. Wild buffalo will begin calving just a few weeks after that.

State hunters killed two young bull buffalo along the Madison River last weekend. Buffalo mourn or stay close when family members or comrades are lost. Hunters are shown thowing rocks and snowballs at the female buffalo who did not want to leave her killed family members.

BFC has been fully engaged in talking with hunters, letting them know what the buffalo suffer by state and federal agencies, and encouraging them to participate in efforts to gain ground for wild buffalo. Many hunters are unaware of how the buffalo are unjustly treated and killed by Montana and Yellowstone, and most who take the time to talk with us share our concern and desire for an end to the Interagency Bison Management Plan, and want wild buffalo roaming free on their historic range. As difficult as it is to bear witness to the hunting of this vulnerable population, we remain hopeful that hunters will realize their responsibility to the buffalo and begin to take the necessary actions to help the buffalo regain their native homelands throughout Montana and elsewhere.

Yellowstone National Park and Montana Department of Livestock officials have been hazing wild buffalo nearly every single day since winter begain.

Sadly, decision-makers continue to use living, breathing buffalo as chess pieces on the game board of the Montana and Greater Yellowstone landscape. State and federal agencies play political games while America's last wild buffalo continue to be disrespected, harmed, and killed by relentless harassment, captivity, hunting and slaughter. Habitat is the only solution to the buffalo question, and it is everywhere, all around us, just waiting for the human mind to change and embrace wild buffalo roaming free upon the landscape.

1. Contact Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Colin Campbell and tell him to set the buffalo free, pull out of the Interagency Bison Management Plan, stop harassing and killing wildlife and work towards habitat-based solutions for America's last wild buffalo! 307-344-2003

2. Contact your Members of Congress and urge them to intervene with the Park on your behalf and to support federal funding to protect America's last wild buffalo and their habitat. Ask them to support the re-direction of funds wasted on the Interagency Bison Management Plan towards habitat-based solutions that honor the wild integrity of our national heritage. Write Your Representative & Write Your Senators

3. Contact Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and THANK HIM for the 90-day stay of execution, tell him he did the right thing. Please also remind him that wild buffalo must be allowed to access habitat in Montana. Brucellosis is not the issue, but habitat for wild buffalo is the solution. Remind him that until Montana embraces and respects wild, free-roaming bison, the state will continue to be globally shamed by these actions against America's last wild buffalo! Remind him that tourism sustains Montana. 406-444-3111

4. Sign BFC's Petition to National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis urging him to abandon the failed Interagency Bison Management Plan. (Go to Buffalo Field Campaigns website to sign;

5. Write Letters to the Editor to newspapers in your region to help raise awareness and bring an end to the unjust treatment of America's last wild buffalo.

6. Vote for wild buffalo and all wildlife with your money by Boycotting beef.

7. Volunteer with BFC by joining us on the front lines! 406-646-0070

THANK YOU! Please spread the word to save these herds by telling everyone you know what is happening to the country's last wild buffalo and what they can do to . Knowledge is power!

* Who Wears the Pants in Montana?

Wild Bison and the Orwellian State by Kathleen Stachowski

Raise your hand if you've had measles.

OK, those of you with your hands up? We're going to permanently remove you from the population-just as a safeguard-in the name of disease risk management. What, you're objecting? Well, yes, that's true-evidence of past exposure doesn't mean you're actively infected now or that you can transmit the disease, but that's a minor detail, isn't it?... and better safe than sorry, right? So off you go, the line forms here. ... Read the full essay here

Kathleen Stachowski is a Buffalo Field Campaign activist/fundraiser and former board member. Contact her.

* Radio Interview with BFC's Mike Mease on Culture Shocks

Aired Feburary 15, 2011 - Listen here

* By the Numbers

AMERICAN BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S. The last wild population is currently estimated at fewer than 3,700 individual buffalo.

2010-2011 Total: 153

2010-2011 Government Capture: 513
2010-2011 Government Slaughter:
2010-2011 Died In Government Trap: 1
2010-2011 State & Treaty Hunts: 153
2010-2011 Quarantine: 0
2010-2011 Shot by Agents: 2
2010-2011 Highway Mortality: 2

2009-2010 Total: 7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
Total Since 2000: 3,864*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortality

* Last Words

"When Congress drew a square on a map in 1872 and declared the enclosed 2 million acres as Yellowstone National Park, no one could tell its wild inhabitants the exciting news. Wildlife knows no boundaries. In fact, the largest wildlife migration in the lower 48 states leaves Yellowstone and passes by [the Gardiner Basin] every winter, returning to the park in the spring. Look upriver. There, herds of elk, deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and sometimes bison descend from the park's high plateaus and move down river in search of food and shelter. Elk travel as far as 20 miles through this valley. They follow each other single file along ancient routes trodden by hooves of their ancestors.

"Finding winter range is as instinctive for elk and deer as it is for us to find our way to the refrigerator. Thousands of hooved mammals escape the Arctic storms that whirl into Yellowstone by migrating to winter range. They repeat a centuries-old tradition of moving to lands free of snow where food is more plentiful and shelter is close by. To spot wildlife on winter range, look for grassy, sunny and windy slopes adjacent to clumps of trees or dense, north-facing forests. And please, watch all wildlife from a distance. When an animal flees from you, it uses energy that could be spent staying warm and well fed.

Think of Yellowstone National Park as the heart of a giant and this valley as an arm extending north. Migrating animals move like blood flowing to the fingertips and returning to the heart. The activity of people can constrict the migration arm that wildlife depends on for survival. "

~ From signs posted in Gallatin National Forest at a wildlife viewing area across from Devil's Slide, along the Yellowstone River just north of Yellowstone National Park. Why, with all of this sound logic, are wild buffalo so neglected in their needs to live as other wildlife? Why are they the only ones prevented from accessing the same critical winter range as all other area wildlife? This same corridor is extremely important for America's last wild buffalo, yet 500 are currently confined inside Yellowstone's Stephens Creek bison trap for attempting to access it, and countless others are repeatedly chased off this important landscape, or shot.

Union of Concerned Scientists Job Opening: Resource Economist

Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 4:56 PM

Subject: Resource Economist job at Union of Concerned Scientists

Resource Economist
Union of Concerned Scientists
Washington, DC or Chicago, IL Office

The Union of Concerned Scientists is a nationally prominent science-based nonprofit working on issues we believe to be the greatest environmental and security threats of our time. UCS combines rigorous scientific analysis with innovative thinking and effective citizen advocacy to achieve practical solutions. We strive for a future that is free from the threats of global warming and nuclear war, and a planet that supports a rich diversity of life. Our specific focus areas include global warming, renewable energy, advanced vehicle technology, nuclear power safety, nuclear weapons and related security issues, preserving the integrity of science, and sustainable agriculture.

As a core member of a vibrant and creative interdisciplinary team including ecosystem scientists, molecular biologists, economists, media professionals, lobbyists, and communications specialists, the Resource Economist will bring strong analytic skills and modeling expertise to our Food and Environment Program and to the organization as a whole. The Resource Economist will have significant opportunities to contribute to program strategies on agriculture and the environment and will bridge the gap between UCS and academic and government researchers focused on climate change and the competing uses of land for food, fiber, forest, and fuel.

The Position:

The Resource Economist will provide in-house expertise in land-use modeling to support UCS’s advocacy in the area of land use choices for food, fiber, forest, and fuel, and the incorporation of the unintended health and environmental consequences of various ranching and agricultural practices into policy debates.


Develop in-house expertise on climate change and land-use modeling
Develop program goals, strategies, tactics, particularly on agricultural, land use, and environmental issues.

Review and critique current policies; propose new policies to address new problems.
Design, implement, and manage research projects on land use and the externalities of agricultural and ranching policies.

Write program communications on agricultural, land use, and environmental issues.
Represent program on agricultural and climate issues.
Participate in developing fundraising strategies.


Ph.D. in applied agricultural, resource, or environmental economics or other appropriate discipline
Demonstrated experience with relevant models associated with the competition of uses for land (e.g, GTAP, FASOM)
Familiarity with the economics of land use issues associated with the externalities of agricultural activities, renewable energy mandates, population and economic growth, and climate change
Strong analytic and project management skills
Understanding of how economics and advocacy shape public opinion and policy debates
Excellent writing and public speaking skills

Experience Needed:

Two or more years of progressively responsible experience in agricultural, environmental, or resource economics or other appropriate discipline
Familiarity with public policy process regarding agriculture, renewable energy, climate change, and land use
Demonstrated ability to produce reports on economics and policy issues and write about complex policy and economics matters for a lay audience

NGO experience is preferred but not essential.

To Apply:

The deadline for applications is posted on our website at Please submit a cover letter with salary requirements and how you learned of the position and resume via email to and include “Resource Economist” in the subject line. Email materials in Word documents only. No phone calls.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

OBI NEWS: BLM Asks Ranchers to Buy Wild Horses

ld But Interesting News; 2006

BLM Director Clarke says the BLM has some 7,000 sale-eligible horses in its pasture holding facilities, primarily mares and geldings 11 years and older

OBI News: BLM Seeks Contracts for Long Term Holding

Old but interesting news,....posting because I heard it said (written) by BLM (in regards to the Pickins Plan) that they didnt have the authority to "farm out" wild horses to private individuals, saying (again) that in order to do so, they would have to change the law;

I was thinking then as I am thinking now,...just somemore typical BLM BS

They can (and do) anything the hell they want with our wild ones.....and THAT is the shame of it all.

Oklahoma, Kansas, Under Extreme Blizard Warnings

Will the Wild Horses (and Burros) in the long term holding facilities be safe? Can they get to shelter from storm?

Do you see any REAL shelter here, in this vid of the midwest facilities? Remember, these horses are in captivity and can only travel so far. What kind of real shelter are they providing for EXTREME Blizzard conditions? -

Lets call Oklahoma BLM to ask;

Better yet, one BLM office covers all three midwestern states. Call them to ask about the wild horses in holding facilites in OK sand KS,....asking are they provided shelter from these blizzard storms? -

Click here for a county by county breakdown of the storm warnings in OK;