BLM seeks public comment on wild horse gathers and fertility control treatments for the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area

CRAIG, Colo.As part of its mission to sustain the health of public lands, the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office proposes to remove wild horses from areas in and around the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area in northwestern Colorado to reduce herd numbers to within the Appropriate Management Level and reduce population growth over time.

The BLM’s wild horse census shows 828 horses in and around the 160,000 acre Sand Wash Basin HMA. The HMA can support an AML of between 163-362 wild horses.

“We are committed to maintaining a healthy population of wild horses in the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area as well as being a good neighbor to the communities we serve. Over 800 wild horses are in an area where the appropriate management level allows for up to 362,” said Little Snake Field Manager Bruce Sillitoe. “The removal of excess wild horses over the next few years will reduce impacts to private property, sensitive plant and animal species, and promote healthy rangelands.”

The BLM has released an environmental assessment that analyzes wild horse removals in and around the HMA that could occur over a multi-year period using helicopters and/or bait trapping methods. Fertility control treatments would also be used to help reduce annual population increases, without which, herd numbers have been shown to increase by 20% each year in the HMA. The environmental assessment is available for public review and comment at Public comments need to be submitted by May 2, 2021. Written comments can be mailed to the Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson St., Craig, CO 81625, or submitted via eplanning at

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, and/or other personal identifying information in your comment, please be aware that your entire comment, including personal identifying information may be made publicly available at any time. While individuals may request BLM to withhold personal identifying information from public view, the BLM cannot guarantee compliance.

For information about the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, visit


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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Bureau of Land Management


Little Snake Field Office


Chris Maestas