Bureau of Land Management to begin the FY2022 Blue Wing Complex Wild Horse and Burro Gather
Lovelock, Nev. – The Humboldt River Field Office will begin a wild horse and burro gather on or about August 1, 2022 on the Blue Wing Complex (complex) located North of Lovelock, Nevada. The BLM will conduct gather operations using the helicopter-assisted method.
The complex has five Herd Management Areas and four Herd Areas which encompass over 2,283,000 acres and has an Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 333-553 wild horses and 55- 90 wild burros. Based on aerial surveys completed in 2021, the estimated wild horse population is 1,695 and the wild burro population is 1,327. That is over 3-times above the high end of the established AML for wild horses and 15 times above high end of established AML for wild burros. The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 200 wild horses and 800 wild burros.
The purpose of the gather is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses and burros, to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The action is also necessary to reduce overpopulation of wild horses and burros within and outside the complex, where there currently is not enough water to support the number of horses and burros in the area, and to prevent further degradation of public lands by helping to balance herd size.
By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the Humboldt River Field Office aims to protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer. Removing excess wild horses and burros would also enable significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Sierra Front Northwest Resource Advisory Council.
“We conduct gathers like this to ensure the health of public lands within the complex as well as the health of the wild horses and burros in the area, are not at risk due to herd overpopulation and severe drought conditions,” said Kathleen Rehberg, Humboldt River Field Office Manager. “As always, we are committed to work toward restoring a thriving natural ecological balance to the land.”
The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse and burro 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 and burros while meeting overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy.
All wild horses will be transported to the Palomino Valley Off-Range Corrals, located in Reno, Nevada. All wild burros will be transported to the Axtell Off Range Corrals in Axtell, Utah. Upon arrival to the facility, all animals 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, provided that 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 gather hotline nightly at (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on each days’ meeting location and time.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people visiting public lands prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health. During the gather, the observants should follow local area health orders including the Emergency Directive 052 Guidance for individuals, businesses and employers, practice Leave No Trace principles, practice social distancing and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
- BLM reserves the right to limit media/public observers in order to comply with CDC guidance for social distancing.
The BLM is conducting the gather under the Blue Wing Complex Wild Horse Gather Plan Environmental Assessment decision signed on October 23, 2017. Access to the Environment Assessment documents is here- https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/66599/510.
Gather reports and additional information will be posted on the gather page at https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/nevada-humboldt-fo/2022-blue. For technical information, contact Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, Morgan Weigand, at (775) 623-1500.
For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit www.blm.gov/whb.
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.