For wild horse and burro advocates there are many items that need to be addressed besides traveling document roundups, holding and range conditions. Meetings and documents must be responded to. Below are several items “on the calendar.” If you have time to attend meetings and comment to documents this is where your voice is needed.
BLM Mojave-Southern Great Basin RAC Meeting
Ely, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will meet with the Mojave-Southern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council (RAC) at 9 a.m., Thursday, March 21, via video teleconference with participating locations at the BLM Southern Nevada District Office, 4701 N. Torrey Pines Dr., in Las Vegas; Ely District Office, 702 N. Industrial Way, in Ely; and Caliente Field Office, 1400 S. Front Street, in Caliente, Nev.
The RAC advises and makes recommendations to the BLM on public land management. Discussion items will include, but are not limited to, a review of Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) Round 14 proposals and resource management plans. The meetings are open to the public and provide the public an opportunity to ask questions of or make comments to the citizen-based council. A public comment period is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend and provide comment at any of the aforementioned participating BLM offices. Written comments can also be submitted to the RAC Coordinator, Chris Hanefeld at the Ely District Office, 702 North Industrial Way, HC 33 Box 33500, Ely, NV 89301. The agenda is available online at www.blm.gov/nv under “In the Spotlight.”
The Federal Land Policy and Management Act directs the Secretary of the Interior to involve the public in planning and discussion of issues related to management of BLM-administered public lands. The Mojave-Southern Great Basin RAC is one of three such councils in Nevada that accommodate this community participation directive. Represented on the council are commercial and non-commercial users including environmental, livestock, mining, Native American, and wild horse and burro interests and elected officials and state agencies.
For more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District Office public affairs specialist, at (775) 289-1842 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amodei schedules AG Town Meeting in Battle Mountain
“Federal agencies are putting some real pressure on our ranchers and farmers, from the BLM raising grazing fees, to the Department of Labor changing regulations for sheep, to the age old western battle for water rights,” said Amodei. “This is an important forum for learning more about the impact of Washington rules here on the ground in Nevada.”
The agriculture town hall is a forum for producers, agriculture advocates, and state organizations to convey their concerns to Amodei and federal agencies. Officials from Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Labor have been invited to attend.
The meeting is slated from 9 a.m. to noon at the Battle Mountain Civic Center, 625 S. Broad St.
Contact Meghan Brown at 777-7705 with any questions.
NOTE: If you want to attend this meeting and can travel from the Reno/Sparks area contact Wild Horse Education: WildHorseEducation@gmail.com
COMMENTS TO DROUGHT EA’S
Two BLM Districts are asking for comments to drought EA’s. Drought EA’s are now required. These EA’s are to outline potential actions that can be taken to deal with any assessed drought. These actions would require NO further process by a filing of a decision record to remove wild horses and burros. These drought EA’s are supposed to outline all potential actions to all uses. WE MUST comment to each EA to require that any action taken during a drought (urgent and temporary) require that restrictions are not unduly placed on wild horses and burros.
Sample letter below can be used to comment on both the Ely (due March 21) and Carson (due April 12).
Subject line, ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT DOI-BLM-NV-L000-2013-0002-EA all BLM cites no email to address written comments to but notes Mindy Seal in the attention line of snail mail, Mindy Seal, email@example.com
SNAIL MAIL: The BLM is seeking written comments to the Ely District Drought Management Environmental Assessment (EA). Written comments should be addressed to the BLM Ely District, HC 33 Box 33500, Ely, NV 89301, Attn: Mindy Seal. Comments should be postmarked or otherwise delivered to the Ely District Office by March 21, 2013, to ensure full consideration. Please make your comments as specific as possible.
CARSON: via email, CCDODroughtEA@blm.gov
All Drought Management Environmental Assessments (EA) are programmatic documents. All of these EAs that have been presented to the public lack site specific information. Therefore comments are restricted by that lack of information to over all programmatic comments.
As drought conditions can create an urgent, yet temporary, situation measures to address any drought conditions must be seen in that light. Drought conditions are foreseeable. All attempts to mitigate damages must be attempted prior to any fill blown “emergent” removals of wild horses.
– Livestock restrictions must suit the circumstance. If only seasonal restrictions are required that restriction does not justify any wild horse removals. If range conditions exist that allow a private entity to gain a private profit off of public land (where that profit might me minimized on private land but still obtainable) wild horses (that have no other area of public or private land available to that use) must not be removed. Only if conditions exist that require a full removal of livestock for a two-year period do conditions exist to take a permanent measure against wild horse use.
– Water hauling and evaluations for feed stations on the range should be evaluated. Although not current BLM practice, feeding on the range is not in violation of any provision of law. If used as a temporary measure to mitigate damage this is reasonable. This is also reasonable in that if removals of wild horses becomes necessity creating a bait trap at these stations would ease stress to the animals and make any operation likely to result in greater success.
– If removals of wild horses do become necessity all attempts must be made to achieve relief to the range via bait/water trapping. Helicopter roundups create undue stress to a population and a population compromised by drought should be spared any additional trauma.
– If removals of wild horses do become a necessity they must only occur as a measure to relieve immediate stress on the range and not as a tool to go beyond the parameter of a “drought plan” to create an operation to achieve any standard of Appropriate Management Level (AML). Any roundup to achieve AML, that may be contended or disputed through other process of law, must be required to undertake a separate process as outlined in NEPA with opportunity for public comment or challenge.
– This document fails to do a cost analysis. Data on the current cost of livestock permittees should be included. Currently Animal Unit Months (AUM) are awarded at considerably less than market value, (in many instances more than 10 times less). Add to that the cost of removing wild horses, warehousing them and continuing to allowing grazing on a depleted rage may be an over burden to the tax payer. These costs the tax payer may require increasing grazing fees, particularly if grazing is allowed during drought to adequately address the potential damage done to a public resource. These costs must be explored.
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