BLM seeks wild horse and burro research proposals on fertility control and climate change


Bureau of Land Management

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The Bureau of Land Management announced today it is accepting proposals for new research projects to develop safe, effective and longer-lasting fertility control methods for wild horse mares. The BLM is also accepting proposals for research that analyzes how wild horses and burros interact with their environment, including how present and future climate change may impact wild horse and burro management.

The new research will support the goals included in the BLM’s 2021 Wild Horse and Burro Strategic Research Plan, also released today, which outlines the BLM’s wild horse and burro research priorities and lays out a plan to help address management needs through scientific advances. The plan identifies the development of longer-lasting fertility control methods as a top research priority for the BLM.

“The BLM is committed to finding the best, most effective and most humane ways to manage and protect wild horses and burros on public lands,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “Using the best available science to humanely and safely control herd growth will reduce the need to gather excess animals and help protect the health of wild horses and burros, improve wildlife habitat and save taxpayers money.” 

The Strategic Research Plan also identifies, as an additional priority, research to better understand the interaction between wild horses and burros and their environment. This topic of research includes work that would project the effects of climate change on rangeland resources and herds, or the effects of herds on ecosystems' resilience to climate change.

Extreme drought conditions across the West last summer helped trigger emergency actions to gather more than 7,000 wild horses and burros – more than seven times what was gathered through emergency actions the previous year.

“We’re already seeing the impact of climate change and prolonged and extreme drought on the resources that all animals who share the range depend on, including wild horses and burros,” said Stone-Manning. “This new research will help us better understand the effects of climate change and what actions we can take to best protect the health of our wild horse and burro herds and their habitat.”

Researchers are encouraged to submit proposals for consideration. Federal researchers should respond to a request for proposals for federal agencies. Non-federal researchers should respond to the notice of funding opportunity on The BLM anticipates more than $1 million will be available, pending Congressional appropriations, to support projects that address either of the two top research priorities identified in the 2021 Strategic Research Plan. Research proposals will be evaluated by external peer reviewers and selected by the BLM for award in Fiscal Year 2022. The deadline to submit proposals is January 31, 2022.

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.