ELKO, Nev. – The Elko District, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is inviting the public to participate in a tour of Cherry Spring within the Maverick-Medicine Herd Management Area (HMA), where a wild horse water/bait trapping gather operation is planned. District wild horse and burro specialists and management are offering an opportunity to see first-hand the range conditions that exist at this limited water source as well as learn how a water trap gather operation works. The public will also see viewing locations that will not interfere with gather operations and possibly some Wild Horses will be seen.
The tour is scheduled for Saturday, July 27, at 8 a.m. and is anticipated to last five hours. The tour will leave from the Elko District Office, but public can leave from the tour at their leisure. Participants are requested to sign up prior to the event by calling Lesli Ellis, Elko District public affairs specialist, at (775) 753-0386.
The tour will include travel over gravel and dirt roads and over difficult terrain. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended. Participants should also bring a bag lunch, plenty of water and sunscreen.
This gather operation was analyzed as part of the Three HMA Environmental Assessment released on May 13, 2013. That EA can be viewed here: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/elko_field_office/blm_information/nepa/3hma_water_trap__9.html
The Appropriate Management Level (AML) of wild horses within the Maverick-Medicine HMA is 166-276 wild horses and the current estimated population is 587. More than 80 wild horses have been observed frequenting Cherry Spring, which flows naturally at about 14 gallons an hour. This flow can adequately support approximately 20 wild horses.
The Elko District has been hauling supplemental water to Cherry Spring since 2003 and this year began hauling water at the end of May. This year, the BLM has hauled more than 15,000 gallons to supplement the limited flow from Cherry Spring. With the lack of needed precipitation the past fall and winter, the BLM expects that there will be a lack of available water for wild horses in the months ahead.
The gather is based on limited water and/or forage availability to adequately support the current population of wild horses and on the adverse impacts to range resources being caused by wild horses concentrating on this site. Attempts were made during two 2011 gather operations to relieve the pressure on areas of concentrated wild horses and to achieve AML. Both gathers were completed prior to achieving appropriate AML due to vegetative cover, terrain and weather conditions.
The Elko and Ely District Offices have been monitoring water and forage resources since the completion of the 2011 gathers. Semi-weekly from June 2011 through the end of October 2012, the BLM hauled more than 150,000 gallons of water to springs in affected areas to help alleviate wild horse pressure on the springs.
Removing the excess wild horses will help to prevent further deterioration of the range in an effort to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship as required under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as well as help to achieve and maintain healthy, viable wild horse populations.
For more information on this tour, contact Lesli Ellis, Elko District Public Affairs Specialist, (775) 753-0386. For more information on the gather, please contact Bruce Thompson at (775) 753-0200.
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 multiple-use mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2012, activities on public lands generated $4.6 billion in revenue, much of which was shared with the States where the activities occurred. In addition, public lands contributed more than $112 billion to the U.S. economy and helped support more than 500,000 jobs.