BLM to conduct the Fish Creek HMA wild horse gather
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Mount Lewis Field Office will begin a wild horse gather on or about September 6, 2019 on the Fish Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) located near Eureka, Nevada. The purpose of the gather is to reduce overpopulation of wild horses within and outside the HMA, where there currently is not enough water to support the number of horses in the area, and to prevent further degradation of public lands by helping to balance herd size.
The BLM plans to gather approximately 600 wild horses and remove approximately 550 excess wild horses. Those mares released back to the range will be treated with fertility control. Approximately 270 wild horses will remain in the HMA once gather operations are complete. The gather is expected to last 12-20 days. The BLM will conduct gather operations using the helicopter-assisted method.
By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the BLM aims to protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, mule deer and elk. Removing excess animals would also enable significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Northeastern Resource Advisory Council.
Fish Creek HMA encompasses over 250,000 acres of public land and has an Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 107-180 wild horses. A helicopter survey conducted on July 26-27, 2019, documented 822 wild horses within and directly outside of the Fish Creek HMA – nearly five-times above the high end of the established AML.
The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse gather operations while ensuring humane care and treatment of all animals gathered. The BLM and its contractors will use the best available science and handling practices for wild horses while meeting overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy.
All horses identified for removal will be transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Center, located Reno, Nev., where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program.
Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations, if doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. Once gather operations have begun, those wanting to view gather operations must call the Fish Creek gather hotline nightly at (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on each days’ meeting location and time.
The BLM is conducting the gather under the DOI-BLM-NV-B010-2015-0011-Fish Creek Herd Management Area Wild Horse Gather Plan Environmental Assessment decision signed on February 9, 2015. Access the Decision Record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy at https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/projectSummary.do?methodName=renderDefaultProjectSummary&projectId=42687.
Gather reports and additional information will be posted on the BLM website at https://go.usa.gov/xVWxC. For technical information, contact Wild Horse and Burro Specialist Shawna Richardson at (775) 635-4181 or email@example.com.
For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit www.blm.gov/whb.
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.