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Northern California District
Release Date: 08/03/10
Contacts: Jeff Fontana , 530-252-5332  
  Erin Curtis , 916-978-4622  
News Release No. CA-N-10-89

BLM Says Twin Peaks Horses and Water Sources Healthy, Roundup to Proceed

The Bureau of Land Management, based on aerial and on-the-ground assessments completed July 26, has concluded that conditions warrant proceeding as planned with a roundup of wild horses and burros in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area near Susanville beginning August 9.

District Manager Nancy Haug said BLM crews found that the estimated 2,000+ wild horses and 200+ wild burros appeared in good condition and showed no visible signs of dehydration.

Of the 85 major water sources checked, 42 were in good condition, 31 in moderate condition, and 12 dry, about normal for this time of year in this area. Haug said the animals are moving as they typically do to alternate water as their current sources in the southern part of the HMA begin to dry up as usual.

"In the Twin Peaks HMA, the horses are healthy and water remains available.  However, the current population of wild horses and burros remains far above the number the range can handle, and this roundup is necessary to keep both horses and range in that healthy state," said Haug.

BLM has a meteorologist keeping close watch on the situation and conditions look stable weather-wise, although the area was hit recently with dry-lightning-sparked wildfires. "In the event of wildfires, the roundup will be shut down if necessary for public safety," she said.

The BLM crews will continue to monitor conditions via ATV patrols through the start of the roundup, she said.  If critical water sources start to dry up and alternate sources are not available, BLM will import water either by water tank truck or by helicopter with a bucket drop.

Haug said BLM will allow public observation/visitation seven days a week as long as the public cooperates with necessary safety guidelines.   No closures of public lands will be instituted unless absolutely necessary for public safety, she added.

Haug also said BLM is taking special precautions for the heat during August and early September.  She explained that BLM does not conduct helicopter gathers during the foaling season, which generally occurs March 1 through June 30, and BLM roundups are scheduled outside that period to make sure foals are strong enough to be moved with their mothers.

BLM must also avoid public safety issues related to the annual Lassen deer herd State-declared hunting season, and the roundup must be completed before winter.

"That doesn't give us a great deal of time, and since we plan to shut down the daily operations when the temperature rises to avoid stressing the animals, the entire gather could stretch out six to eight weeks," said Haug.

Under the federal Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act, the BLM is required to ensure wild horses and burros can be supported by the forage and water resources in each herd management area.  When populations exceed these levels, animals are removed and offered for adoption by the public, or cared for in long-term pastures.


Northern California District   Eagle Lake Field Office 2950 Riverside Drive Susanville, CA 96130  

Last updated: 08-03-2010