President Obama’s FY 2011 BLM budget proposal requests $75.7 million for the wild horse and burro program, a nearly $12 million increase over the FY 2010 level of $63.9 million. The budget proposal makes a separate, but related, land-acquisition funding request of $42.5 million for the purchase of land for one wild horse preserve.
The current path of the wild horse and burro program is not sustainable for the animals, the environment, or the American taxpayer. On October 7, 2009, Secretary Salazar announced a new, comprehensive, long-term plan to put the wild horse and burro program on a sustainable track. The plan identifies three strategies to improve the protection and management of wild horses and burros:
Managing sustainable herds on Western rangelands through the aggressive application of fertility-control measures.
Establishing new wild horse preserves, particularly in the Midwest and East, for horses that must be removed from Western rangelands.
Providing special designations for selected treasured herds in the West.
The BLM's Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) budget also includes an increase of $42.5 million to acquire land for one wild horse preserve.
Initial costs for implementing the Secretary’s proposals would be significant as the BLM acquires preserves and works to achieve sustainable herd levels on public rangelands, but overall program costs would decline in future years. The plan would enable the BLM to achieve appropriate management levels for herd populations on Western rangelands by 2013.