Operations were canceled today due to snowfall. This is the fourth consecutive day of weather delays. The next two days also carry a high probability of delay or cancelation of operations.
At this juncture operations have stalled in the Ely district as we have been waiting to remove ten horses that are in a section marked “off HMA,” even though the area is not far from the boundary of the HMA that lies on the mountain. Given the heavy livestock grazing and drought effects within the HMA itself as those conditions are mitigated through snowfall and livestock restrictions the animals might likely move back to the HMA (also boundary line validity questions in this area are high).
Important note: in the inventory map please note the fence lines and boundary line placement of the HMA. There is serious impact to the ability of wild horses to utilize the resources within the Western area of the HMA. The areas directly to the West of the significant fence line are predominantly off limits, the areas to the East are the canyons utilized by livestock grazing and the fences are closed to keep the cows on the eastern side of the fence. Directly to the eat there is significant impact from years and years of over utilization by domestic livestock. The HMA boundary is the mountain ridge, (like the horses did not use both sides of that mountain range in 1971, hard to believe isn’t it?) Throw into the mix a year of significant drought, a lack of formal data on movement (and movement impacted by release of livestock) serious questions can be raised as to the significance of “off HMA” being a man-made condition imposed on the population and not a valid indication of a claimed “over population.” (WHE notation: One of the most significant problems in the program is the lack of formal data on a viable population, what resource that population requires and exactly when a population becomes “excess” has lead to an apparent arbitrary process of managing wild horses that in many instances seems to be based more on what permitees want than science).
It appears that the schedule for operations within the Complex managed by three different District offices (Ely, Elko, and Battle Mountain) will be adhered to. After the ten animals, that have been designated “important” (because the are “off HMA” and appear to be on an important permitees “property” that was not included in the HMA boundary lines), have been removed operations will move North into Elko. The third area to be targeted will be Battle Mountain.
Of note is an interview done during the Owyhee operation by Nevada NPR with WHE’s founder Laura Leigh. The BLM declined to be on the program but Nevada Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea, a permitee in the area currently under removal, spoke on air: http://www.knpr.org/son/archive/detail2.cfm?SegmentID=9602&ProgramID=2685
It is unclear how further weather delays will effect the operation. An adoption event was scheduled in Battle at the “trap side” for Feb. 2nd. It was expected that a holding area for weanlings would have been set up and Coggins drawn early in the week. As the temporary holding area is still located in Ely delays of that event are unclear. Please contact Shawna Richardson with the Battle Mountain district if you plan to adopt from the range and ask to be placed on a notification list: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is unknown how further weather delays may impact the Swasey operation in Utah scheduled to begin on Feb. 11, 2013. Originally Sun J was the contractor chosen by BLM to complete that operation concurrently with Diamond. A few weeks ago BLM changed the start date of Swasey to begin after Diamond and changed the contractor to Cattoor, the one operating for BLM in Diamond. If you are planning to attend the Swasey operation it is suggested that you contact Utah BLM: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro.html