BLM Logo
Elko District Office
Release Date: 05/15/13
Contacts: Lesli Ellis , 775-753-0386 ,
News Release No. ELDO 2013-045

BLM releases Environmental Assessment of Three HMA Wild Horse Water/Bait Trapping Gather

ELKO, Nev. – The Wells and Egan Field Offices of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Elko and Ely District Offices are releasing the Final Environmental Assessment (EA), Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and Decision Record (DR) for the Three HMA Water/Bait Trapping Wild Horse Gather.

The project area for this gather and removal of wild horses is from within and outside the Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and the western and central portions of the Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas (HMAs). Total acreage within the project area is 1,839,459 and the 2013 estimated population is 1,504 wild horses. The Appropriate Management Level for the project area is 548-1,015 wild horses. With the lack of needed precipitation this past fall and winter, BLM expects that there will be a lack of available water for wild horses in the summer and fall months ahead.

This action 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 site specific areas within the project area. Attempts were made during two 2011 gather operations to relieve the pressure on these areas of concentrated wild horses and to achieve AML for the HMAs. 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 within the project area to help alleviate wild horse pressure on the springs.

Public scoping was initiated June 14, 2012 and on September 4, 2012, the BLM released a Preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) analyzing the impacts of this proposed horse gather to the human environment for a 30-day public comment period. This gather will take place in various spots within the project area beginning after June 13, 2013 based on need. However, specific dates have not been determined due to budget constraints and other higher priority gathers.

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, contact Bruce Thompson, Elko District wild horse specialist, at (775) 753-0200 or Ruth Thompson, Egan Field Office wild horse specialist, at (775) 289-1800.

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 sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Elko District Office   3900 E. Idaho St.      Elko, NV 89801  

Last updated: 04-20-2015