Nevada Wild Horses & Burros
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Public Participation in WH&B Planning

Land use plans and implementation planning decisions are the basis for every on-the-ground action the BLM undertakes. Land use plans ensure that the public lands are managed in under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield accordance with the intent of Congress as stated in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA, 1976).

Wild Horse & Burro Management Planning Diagram

The public has an opportunity to participate in BLM’s planning and decision process for wild horses and burros. Individuals interested in participating should write to the Field Office Manager and ask to be added to the Wild Horse and Burro mailing list. Also ask to be notified of any planning or decisions for the specific HMAs of interest to you.

Wild horse and burro decisions are made through Land Use Plans (Resource Management Plans or Management Framework Plans) and through Implementation Planning Decisions. Let’s take a closer look at the types of wild horse and burro management decisions made through Land Use Plans.

Examples of Wild Horses and Burro Decisions Made in Land Use Plans:

Changes in Herd Area (HA) Boundaries
Herd Area boundaries may only be changed when it is determined that (1) areas once listed as HAs are later found to be used only by privately-owned horses or burros, or (2) the HA boundary does not correctly portray where wild horses and burros were found in 1971.

Herd Management Area Designation
Each herd area is evaluated to determine if there is adequate food, water, over and space to manage healthy and diverse wild horses and burros for the long term.

Herd Areas Not Designated as HMAs
Where appropriate, the land use plan may include decisions removing horses or burros from all or part of a Herd Area. Examples include intermingled and unfenced lands within HAs where private landowners do not want to make them available for wild horse or burro use or where essential habitat components are not available for wild horse or burro use within a HA.

Wild Horse or Burro Ranges
An HMA may be considered for designation as a wild horse or burro range when there is a significant public value present, such as unique characteristics in a herd or an outstanding opportunity for public viewing.

Examples of Wild Horse and Burro Implementation Planning Decisions:

Appropriate Management Level (AML) 
The Appropriate Management Level of Wild Horses and/or Burros is established following in-depth analysis and evaluation of resource monitoring data collected over several years. AML decisions may be documented in a Proposed or Final Multiple-Use Decision (MUD) or a Wild Horse Decision.

Herd Management Area Plans (HMAPs) 
Herd Management Area Plans establish short and long term management and monitoring objectives for wild horse or burro herds and their habitat. HMAPs include herd and habitat objectives, monitoring methods and schedules, the upper and lower limit of the population range, and criteria for selective removal animals, if any. HMAPs may also address the method of population control and any restrictions on other resource uses or users.

Gather Plans 
A gather plan is prepared for any scheduled capture and removal of wild horses or burros (unless removal is needed in response to an emergency situation). Gather Plans typically address the following elements: capture method, location, number of animals involved, procedure to minimize stress to animals during capture operations, any selective removal criteria, and whether or not fertility control would be applied.

Project Planning 
Project plans are prepared when structural or nonstructural range improvements are proposed.

Land Use Plans

*Establish goals and objectives for resource management (desired outcomes).

*Identify the management actions needed to achieve the desired outcomes.

*Identify the allowable uses (including any restricted or prohibited uses).

(BLM Manual H-1601-1)

Planning Decisions

*Allow on-the-ground actions to proceed following appropriate site-specific planning and environmental analysis. 

*Tier to Land Use Plans. 

*Are subject to administrative review (appeal).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q – How can I participate in BLM’s planning and decision process?
A – Individuals interested in participating should write to the Field Office Manager and ask to be added to the Wild Horse and Burro mailing list. Also ask to be notified of any planning or decisions for the specific HMAs of interest to you.

Q – Does BLM notify the public about WH&B planning proposals?
A – Yes. Each field office prepares a list of proposed projects and planning decisions annually. This list is available at each Field Office. Field Offices may also issue a letter to interested individuals, groups or agencies requesting any data, information, or issues and concerns about specific project planning proposals. 

Q – Does BLM make environmental assessments (EAs) available for review before making a final decision on the action?
A – BLM typically makes EAs involving wild horse or burro decisions available for a 30-day public review and comment period prior to issuing a final decision, unless an emergency situation exists. This may vary from program to program. For more information, refer to program-specific guidance in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Q – What if I disagree with a decision BLM makes?
A – The authorized officer’s final decision is subject to administrative review. Administrative review procedures are program-specific. For more information, refer to 43 CFR Part 4 and 4770.3.
Q – Why does BLM issue some decisions effective immediately?
A – In accordance with 43 CFR 4770.3 (c), the authorized officer may issue decisions to remove wild horses or burros from public or private lands in situations where removal is required by applicable law or is necessary to preserve or maintain a thriving ecological balance and multiple use relationship. In these instances, the authorized officer may make the decision effective upon issuance or on a date established in the decision.

Q – Does BLM consider the comments made by the public during the planning and decision process?
A – Yes. BLM takes a hard look at all the comments received before making a final decision. However, in some cases, the comments received are outside the scope of the current environmental analysis, or are applicable to decisions which have already been made. In other cases, comments may be contrary to law, regulation or policy.
BLM is particularly interested in knowing if the public has any additional information, data or analysis which should be considered. Examples of helpful information might be:

• Are there additional issues, concerns, or opportunities (not already identified) that BLM should consider?
• Are there additional alternatives (not already identified) that BLM should consider?

Last updated: 11-03-2015