BLM and FOAL improve habitat for wild horses, wildlife and livestock
CODY, Wyo. — The Bureau of Land Management Cody Field Office and Friends of a Legacy (FOAL) partnered in October to remove saltcedar on public and private land in the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Herd Management Area (HMA) east of Cody.
Saltcedar, designated a noxious weed by the Wyoming Weed and Pest Council, creates numerous negative impacts on water quality and quantity, native plant and wildlife species, and wildlife habitat.
“By removing this invasive species that uses a lot of water, the wild horses, wildlife and livestock will benefit from more water in nearby reservoirs and from the space created for native vegetation to flourish,” said BLM Wildlife Biologist Abel Guevara.
A group of FOAL members, BLM employees and other volunteers spent the day cutting saltcedar from an area surrounding a water well, including from the well’s lined recharge area. Water from the well is pumped to two nearby reservoirs that are used by all creatures that inhabit the McCullough Peaks HMA. The resulting piles will be burned this winter when snow is on the ground.
The BLM Cody Field Office has partnered with FOAL since the non-profit group formed in 2005. Together, they effectively manage the herd, coordinate on opportunities for public education, and enhance habitat in the HMA.
“People often ask how our partnership with the BLM works,” said FOAL Executive Director Kim Zierlein. “I tell them it works through honesty and communication. I like how we work with the BLM…it’s been rewarding.”
Annual field darting with the fertility control vaccine porcine zona pellucida (PZP) has been used in the McCullough Peaks herd since 2011, where it successfully lowers horse birth rates.
“The BLM’s partnership with FOAL is vital to sustainably managing the McCullough Peaks herd, as well as to maintaining healthy, productive public rangelands for wildlife and livestock that share the herd management area,” said BLM Cody Field Manager Cade Powell.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.