Needles Field Office

BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program LogoPiute Mountain Burro Roundup

Begins Fall 2012


The BLM proposes to gather and remove all wild burros encountered in the Piute Mountain Heard Area. The Piute Mountain Herd Area is located in the East Mojave Desert in southeastern California, approximately 25 miles west of the town of Needles in San Bernardino County.

The 1980 California Desert Conservation Area (COCA) Plan established the Piute Mountain Herd Area's Appropriate Management Level (AML) as zero burros (COCA Plan, Table 5) and the 2002 Northern and Eastern Colorado Desert Coordinated Management Plan amendment, Table 3-9, maintained the Herd Area's AML of zero burros.

Fenner Spring is the only reliable water source within the Piute Mountain HA which the burros have access to. This spring was developed by the Santa Fe Railroad and abandoned between 1915 and 1920. The spring source is located in a tunnel excavated by the railroad, and flows outward to provide water to the burros and wildlife. In August 2010, 56 burros succumbed to dehydration, due to the spring source being inaccessible. Emergency actions were taken to have an excavator dig down enough into the tunnel to allow adequate water flow for the remaining burros. Due to the unpredictable variations of the water output of the spring, expected drought conditions and the burros dependency on this sole water source to survive, continued efforts are being conducted to remove the burros from the Piute Mountain HA to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. Currently, there is an estimated population of 34 burros in the Piute Mountain HA.

Public Comments

Due to public interest, the comment period has been extended to September 28, 2012. For more information: Comment Period Extension Letter

Comments concerning the Piute Mountains Herd Area Wild Free-Roaming Burros Removal environmental assessment must be received by the Needles Field Office. Comments may be addressed to Needles Field Office, Bureau of Land Management, 1303 South U.S. Highway 95, Needles, California 92363.

For more information: Dear Reader Letter

Wild burros from the Needles Field Office area. 

Planned Operations

The action would utilize helicopter assisted gathers and bait trapping. Captures would be conducted by BLM in-house or by BLM contracted vendor. The capture methods could be used singly or in conjunction with one another. This gather is expected to take two or three days. At this time the gather is being planned only and a start date has not been determined. Subsequent actions may occur at any time during the next five years to address the need for burro removals from the Piute Mountain Herd Area.

All removed burros will be placed into the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. The health and welfare of all the animals will be given the highest priority.

For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 866-468-7826 or email

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Bureau of Land Management
Needles Field Office
1303 S Highway 95
Needles, CA 92363
Phone: (760) 326-7000
Fax: (760) 326-7099
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., M-F
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