Q. Is there livestock grazing in this area?
A. Yes. Livestock grazing is authorized within the Jackson Mountains HMA. The Bottle Creek, Deer Creek, Desert Valley, Happy Creek, Jackson Mountains and Wilder-Quinn Allotments are managed for livestock grazing but portions of these allotments also overlap with HMA boundaries and those are also managed for wild horses (with the exception of the Desert Valley Allotment).
The HMA acreage comprises 31% of the total allotment acres. There are a total of nine livestock operators (permittees) currently authorized to graze livestock in these allotments annually. The total permitted use for these permittees is a combined total of 32,744 Animal Unit Months (AUMs) yearly in the six allotments (including on non-HMA lands).
Q. Has BLM issued decisions to remove livestock from allotments within the Jackson Mountains HMA?
A. No, not at this time. Within the Herd Management Area (HMA) are several grazing allotments with permitted livestock. Due to the drought conditions, the permittees have taken voluntary measures to delay turnout, reduce numbers and adjust livestock operations.
Livestock have been removed from the southern use area of the HMA and Jackson Mountain Allotment (Trail Springs/DeLong Windmill). Some livestock may remain because they have returned to the area out of habit, in search of water. The Trail Spring use area is the location where the temporary water hauling has and continues to occur. The permittees are actively checking for, and removing, cattle that have returned to this portion of the HMA. With the known water source of Trail Spring and the water hauling, the livestock are accustomed to these water sources. There are no internal pasture/use area fences to restrict livestock movement to and from this use area.
Due to drought conditions within the Winnemucca District (WD) and Black Rock Field Office, the District Manager issued a drought letter in February 2012 to all livestock permittees and interested publics within the WD and sought their voluntary efforts to adjust their livestock operations based on drought. Grazing permittees within the HMA have voluntarily reduced livestock numbers, delayed turnout and removed livestock earlier than normal from pastures/use areas because of a lack of forage and water and impacts of excess wild horses in and outside of the HMA.
In turn, the southwest portion of the HMA and/or of the Jackson Mountain Allotment will have changes to the permitted livestock starting in the fall/winter of 2012/2013. A separate livestock grazing agreement/decision will be issued to the permittee within the next couple of months prior to permitted livestock use in this use area. Adjustments in the livestock operation will occur for this use area prior to permitted use this fall/winter.
Q. Is the BLM removing wild horses and burros to make room for more cattle grazing?
A. No. The removal of wild horses and burros from public rangelands is carried out to ensure rangeland health. These land-use plans are the means by which the BLM carries out its core mission, which is to manage the land for multiple uses while protecting the land’s resources. Authorized livestock grazing on BLM-managed land has declined by nearly 50 percent since the 1940s; of that authorized use, actual livestock grazing use on public rangelands has declined by 30 percent since 1971.
The livestock permittee within the Jackson Mountains allotment is voluntarily working with the BLM Winnemucca District Office to move livestock out of the area in order to alleviate pressure on the limited water and vegetation resources.