Comment Period Open for Spring Mountains Wild Horse and Burro Complex Project Preliminary Environmental Assessment
LAS VEGAS - The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, in partnership with Bureau of Land Management, Nevada, Southern Nevada District Office, has released the preliminary environmental assessment for the Spring Mountains Wild Horse and Burro Complex Project for a 30-day public comment period.
The Spring Mountains Wild Horse and Burro Complex is located on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Spring Mountains National Recreation Area and the Bureau of Land Management’s Southern Nevada District in Clark and Nye counties in Nevada. The Complex is made up of three joint management areas that encompass approximately 784,326 acres of federal land, of which 21 percent (164,856 acres) is on National Forest System lands and 79 percent (619,470 acres) is Bureau of Land Management public lands. The joint management areas are Red Rock at 187,639 acres, Johnnie at 216,874 acres, and Spring Mountains/Wheeler Pass at 379,813 acres.
“There is a need for the USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to manage wild horse and burro populations consistently across the Spring Mountains Wild Horse and Burro Complex to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance among wild horse and burro populations, wildlife, vegetation, and water resources,” said Spring Mountains National Recreation Area Manager Deb MacNeill.
The Spring Mountains Wild Horse and Burro Complex Project Environmental Assessment is being prepared to address the environmental consequences of a proposed agency action to implement a Herd Management Area Plan. The proposed action establishes appropriate management levels (AMLs) for the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area and reaffirms the BLM’s AMLs for wild horses and burros within the Spring Mountains Wild Horse and Burro Complex.
These AMLs are based on in-depth analysis of population inventory and resource monitoring, and best available scientific data and information with all other mandated multiple uses. Achieving AMLs would prevent deterioration of the rangelands and help maintain a thriving natural ecological balance.
In addition, the proposed action will outline how the use of gathers and removals, fertility control treatments, sterilization and sex ratio adjustments could be used to achieve and maintain AMLs within the Complex. It will also address the following:
- Impacts of excess wild horse use within the habitats of the endangered Mt. Charleston blue butterfly and threatened Desert Tortoise.
- Resource damage created by excess wild horse and burro populations, such as degraded vegetation due to overgrazing as well as trampling at spring water sources.
- Dangerous driving conditions created by habituated wild horses and burros along state highways throughout the Complex area.
- Potential public safety encounters with excess wild horse and burro populations, especially in high-use recreation areas.
The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are publishing the preliminary environmental assessment for a 30-day public comment period due to the prolonged timeline since the initial scoping period occurred in 2013. Interested parties are invited to review the preliminary environmental assessment and provide comments. These comments will be considered by both agencies to improve the proposed action that is analyzed in the environmental assessment. The Spring Mountains Wild Horse and Burro Complex Preliminary Environmental Assessment and other project documents are available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=40960.
Electronic comments must be submitted in a format such as an email message, pdf, plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), or Word (.doc). They can be uploaded to the “Comments/Objection on Project” section of the project website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=40960 under “get connected.” Please put “Spring Mtn WHB Complex EA” into the subject line.
Comments may also be mailed to: Deb MacNeill, Spring Mountains National Recreation Area Manager, 4701 North Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130-2301, or submitted by fax at 702-515-5447.
For additional information on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/htnf or participate in the conversation at https://twitter.com/HumboldtToiyabe and https://www.facebook.com/HumboldtToiyabeNF/.
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.