The Bureau of Land Management’s Southern Nevada District began the wild horse gather on July 29, 2020, and concluded on Aug. 8, 2020.
2020 Nevada Wild Horse Range Emergency Wild Horse Gather
Purpose of Gather:
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Southern Nevada District will begin an emergency wild horse gather on or about July 28, 2020, on the Nevada Wild Horse Range Herd Management Area (HMA) located about 30 miles southeast of Tonopah in Nye County, Nevada. The Nevada WIld Horse Range HMA lies entirely inside the Nevada Test and Training Range.
The action is needed due to lack of water and declining health of the wild horses - the Nevada Wild Horse Range HMA has a history of water issues during dry spring and summer months.
All horses identified for removal will be transported to the Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals, located in Ridgecrest, Calif., where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program.
Details of Gather:
The BLM will conduct gather operations by using temporary water and bait traps consisting of a series of corral panels stocked with water and hay; no helicopters will be used. The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 125 excess wild horses, once gather operations are completed, approximately 676 wild horses, not including the 2020 foal crop, will remain in the HMA. The gather is expected to last approximately 10-14 days.
The current population of wild horses, including the 2020 foal crop, in the Nevada Wild Horse Range HMA, was estimated at 961 – this is approximately 192% above the appropriate management level (AML) of 300-500 wild horses.
The purpose of the gather is critical to prevent further deteriorating body condition of the wild horses/burros in the area due to extremely limited water sources/lack of forage/wildfire/public health and safety/private land issues, undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses/burros, and 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 Nevada Wild Horse Range HMA is located about 30 miles southeast of Tonopah in Nye County, Nevada. The Nevada Wild Horse Range HMA is entirely inside the Nevada Test and Training Range.
The area consists of 1.3 million acres of withdrawn BLM land managed by the United States Air Force. The area is within the southern Great Basin/northern Mojave Desert physiographic regions, characterized by high, up-thrusting mountain ranges running north/south and playas throughout many of the valleys. In suitable areas, galleta grass and Indian rice grass grow along with saltbush, greasewood, and rabbit brush. The mountains surrounding the valleys contain pinyon pine and juniper trees with an understory of sagebrush and other mountain shrubs. Elevation ranges from 4,500 feet in the valley bottoms to 7,000-9,000 feet in the mountains.
The area falls within the southern portion of the Great Basin Desert that encompasses much of Nevada and western Utah, portions of southern Oregon and small parts of California and Idaho. The Great Basin is effectively cut off from the westerly flow of Pacific moisture due to crossing air masses created by the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges that cool and precipitate much of the moisture out. The result is a cold, dry desert. Precipitation in the NWHR averages 6.6 inches of precipitation a year. The precipitation comes in the form of snowfall during the winter and monsoonal moisture during summer. Summers are hot with high temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Winters are cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing.
Due to the nature of the bait and water trap method, wild horses are reluctant to approach the trap site when there is too much activity. Also, the Nevada Wild Horse Range is entirely inside the Nevada Test and Training Range; therefore, only essential gather operations personnel will be allowed at the trap site during gather operations.
Continuing our service to the public while doing our part to address COVID-19 is very important. The BLM and its contractors will follow guidance from the CDC and all recommendations and/or mandates from state and local public health authorities throughout the gather operation.
The wild horses removed from the range will be transported to the BLM’s Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals, located in Ridgecrest, Calif., where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption program. Animals not adopted will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they retain their "wild" status and protection under 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.