BLM announces new members for the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board ahead of Washington, DC meeting

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today selections for three open positions on its National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. The nine-member Advisory Board will next meet Oct. 29-31 in the District of Columbia at the Phoenix Park Hotel and 20 F Street NW Conference Center.

Dr. Vernon Bleich of Bismarck, North Dakota was appointed to represent wildlife management; Susan McAlpine of Kingman, Arizona was appointed to the position for humane advocacy; and Steven Yardley of Beaver, Utah has been re-appointed to the position representing livestock management. Each individual will serve a three-year term on the Advisory Board.

Bleich is a wildlife biologist with over 40 years of professional experience devoted to studying western wildlife populations, improving their management and advancing conservation of species and habitat. Before retiring after 35 years at the California Department of Game and Fish, Bleich was involved in wildlife conservation efforts throughout the Great Basin, Mojave and Sonoran deserts of California. Bleich is currently a research professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he collaborates with faculty on a variety of research projects and advises graduate students working primarily on the ecology of large mammals occupying the arid-land ecosystems of the West. 

McAlpine has been involved in raising, training and advocating for horses – both personally and professionally – for the majority of her adult life. She is active in her community and currently serves as a Trustee (District 4, appointed and elected since September 2017) on the Mohave Community College Board of Governors. She received her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education at Framingham State College and her Master of Education in Instructional Design from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. McAlpine has served on the Mohave County Horse Science Committee, planned educational equestrian programs for area residents and volunteered for the Arizona Dressage Association. She has also written extensive grants for a local animal sanctuary and is a published author.

Yardley, currently vice president of Yardley Cattle Company, is a public land rancher and private landowner who holds grazing permits from the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service.

A graduate of Southern Utah University, Yardley has been active with the Future Farmers of America, Utah Cattlemen’s Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and Southern Utah University’s Block and Bridle Club. Yardley also currently serves as vice president of the Western Rangelands Conservation Association. This is Yardley’s second consecutive term on the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. He served his first appointment from 2016-2019.

The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board (Board) is comprised of nine individuals representing a diverse range of stakeholders and interests. The Board provides advice and recommendations to the BLM and U.S. Forest Service as the agencies carry out their responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The law mandates the protection and management of these free-roaming animals in a manner that ensures healthy herds at levels consistent with the land’s capacity to sustainably support them and other authorized uses of the land. Board members have a demonstrated ability to analyze information, evaluate programs, identify problems, work collaboratively and develop corrective actions. More information about the Advisory Board can be found at BLM.gov/WHB.

The next meeting of the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is scheduled for Oct. 29-31 in Washington, D.C. The meeting will be live-streamed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time Oct. 30-31, at www.blm.gov/live. The public will have an opportunity to provide comments to the Board on Oct. 31. The BLM will host a visit for the Advisory Board to a wild horse and burro adoption and sale event in Lorton, Virginia on November 1. Location information and instructions for submitting public comment can be found in the June 7, 2019 Federal Register.

The BLM, in partnership with the Mustang Heritage Foundation, will also provide the Board and interested public the opportunity to visit the America’s Mustang Experience – a free interactive trailer filled with videos and information about wild horses and the public lands on which they live. The highlight of the America’s Mustang Experience is a virtual reality simulation that puts visitors face-to-face with real wild horses to see, hear and experience their life on public lands. The America’s Mustang Experience trailer will be open to the public 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Oct. 29-30 between 12th and 14th St. on the National Mall in the district.

For additional information regarding the October Advisory Board meeting, please contact Dorothea Boothe, Acting Wild Horse and Burro Program Coordinator, at 202-912-7654 or at dboothe@blm.gov. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-8339 during normal business hours.

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’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. 

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