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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Carson City District
 
Release Date: 10/20/10
Contacts: Mark Struble , Public Affairs Officer , 775-885-6107
News Release No. CCD-11-08

BLM Signs Final Decision Records for Pine Nut and Pilot Mountain Wild Horse Gathers


Carson City, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Carson City District, has issued the Decision Records for the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Pine Nut and Pilot Mountain Wild Horse Gather Plans. Fertility control will be used on the Pine Nut and Pilot Mountain gathers to slow population growth to reduce the need for future gathers.

The Pine Nut HMA is located five miles east of Carson City, Nevada. The decision is for the BLM to gather approximately 118 wild horses from within the Pine Nut HMA, vaccinate approximately 45 of the mares with a two year fertility control vaccine, and then release all 118 horses (including the 45 treated mares) back into the HMA. Approximately 67 additional wild horses are residing well outside the HMA (up to 12 miles away); about 20 horses are residing on a mix of public and private lands in the Fish Springs (Douglas County) area, creating a public safety hazard on roads and damaging private property. The rest of the 67 wild horses outside the HMA are primarily in the Buckskin Range of Lyon County.  Horses outside the HMA will be gathered and removed. The gather is tentatively scheduled to begin mid-November 2010, and will last about one week.

The Pilot Mountain HMA is located approximately 25 miles east of Hawthorne, Nevada. The decision is for the BLM to gather approximately 242 wild horses from within the Pilot Mountain HMA, remove approximately 53 excess wild horses, vaccinate approximately 76 of the mares with a two year fertility control vaccine, and then release 189 horses (including the 76 treated mares) back into the HMA. Approximately 104 additional wild horses are residing well outside the HMA on the Hawthorne Army Depot, often congregating on and along highway U.S. 95 near Walker Lake, Nevada, creating a serious public safety hazard. In February - March 2010 at least seven wild horses were killed in vehicle accidents. These 104 excess wild horses will be gathered and removed. The gather is tentatively scheduled to begin in late-November 2010.

Treating selected mares with a two year fertility control vaccine on the Pine Nut and Pilot Mountain HMA gathers will assist in maintaining the Appropriate Management Level (AML) of horses and reduce the number of excess wild horses that would need to be removed in the future. The utilization of the PZP-22 vaccine will help reduce population growth and assist in maintaining a population size within the AML.

The gathers are needed to achieve the Appropriate Management Level (AML) in order to maintain a thriving natural ecological balance for the remaining wild horse population, wildlife, permitted livestock and vegetation within each HMA. The AMLs were established upon completion of an in-depth analysis of habitat suitability, resource monitoring and population inventory data. The upper limit of the AML range is the maximum number of wild horses that can be maintained within an HMA while maintaining a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple use relationship on the public lands. Establishing the AMLs within a population range allows for the periodic removal of excess animals (to the low end) and subsequent population growth (to the maximum level) between removals. Development of the Herd Management Area Plans (HMAP) for both HMAs included public involvement.

The BLM will use helicopters to gather the wild horses and will transport the animals by motorized vehicles. The use of helicopters, which is authorized by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, has proven to be the safest and most practical means for gathering excess wild horses.

The BLM coordinates closely with the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s (NDOA) Brands Division to provide Brand Inspectors during wild horse removal efforts across the State. NDOA brand inspectors must verify the animals are excess wild horses and burros as defined by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Once verified, the Brand Inspector will provide the BLM a certificate to transport the animals. Without this cooperation and coordination, the BLM would not be able to remove the excess wild horses and burros which, if not removed in a timely manner, would result in degradation of our native rangelands. The NDOA also may take jurisdiction of any estray, branded or abandoned domestic horse(s) under the State of Nevada estray laws.

Wild horses removed from the range will be offered for adoption to qualified individuals through the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Un-adopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and will retain their "wild" status and protection under the 1971 law. The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.

The gather and impacts are described and analyzed in the Pine Nut, Pilot Mountain & Clan Alpine HMA Gather Plan Final EA. The EA, separate Decision Records for each specific gather, associated documents, maps and other information about the Pine Nut and Pilot Mountain HMAs are posted on the BLM Carson City website at www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field.html. A Decision Record has not yet been signed for the Clan Alpine HMA gather that is tentatively scheduled for February 2011.

The BLM also will provide updates and information at the same web address on a regular basis throughout the course of each gather.

For more information, please call (775) 885-6000, for Coreen Francis, Supervisory Natural Resource Specialist for the Stillwater Field Office (Pilot Mountain HMA gather), or Alan Bittner, Supervisory Natural Resource Specialist for the Sierra Front Field Office (Pine Nut HMA gather).



The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.
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Carson City District   5665 Morgan Mill Road      Carson City, NV 89701  

Last updated: 10-27-2010