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2020 Diamond Complex Wild Horse Gather
The 2020 Diamond Complex Wild Horse Gather has concluded.
The Bureau of Land Management, on or about September 10, 2020, will begin the Diamond Complex gather operation. The Diamond Complex is comprised of three HMAs in three BLM Districts in three Nevada counties. The Complex encompasses the Diamond Mountain Range north of Eureka, Nevada and encompasses 258,278 acres of public and private lands.
The purpose of the gather is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, 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. By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the BLM aims to protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope and mule deer. Central Nevada is experiencing severe drought which has reduced forage and impacted available water.
This gather will not achieve the AML for the entire Complex. Due to the summer-time frame and the large population relative to AML, it is not likely that enough horses can be gathered to achieve the AML. Reducing the excess wild horses will help bring the population to a closer balance with available waters, until a follow-up gather can be completed to achieve the AML and fully implement a population growth suppression program. Removing excess animals would also enable significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Sierra Front Northwestern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council.
Horses identified for removal will be transported to the Palomino Valley Corrals located north of Sparks, Nevada. All animals, upon arrival, will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption program.
Details of Gather:
The objective is for the capture of approximately 1,225 and removal of approximately 1,165 wild horses within and outside of the boundaries of the Complex. Approximately 30 mares will be treated with PZP-22 and released back to the Diamond HMA along with an equal number of studs. The BLM expects the helicopter gather to take approximately 20-25 days.
The BLM last conducted a gather of wild horses from the Diamond Complex in February 2013. The current estimated populations of 1,495 wild horses, which includes the 2020 foals born this year. The current population estimate, which includes the 2020 foals, puts the HMA at approximately 712 percent of the established AML which is 210 wild horses for the Complex. The Diamond Complex is located directly north of Eureka, Nevada in Eureka, White Pine and Elko Counties. The area consists of 235,954 acres of BLM land and 22,324 acres of private lands for totaling 258,278 acres.
The Complex consists of the north-south trending Diamond Mountain range and rolling terrain north of the Range. Elevations within the Complex range from 5,700 feet to 10,660 feet on Diamond Peak. Temperatures range from highs of 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer to less than 20 degrees below zero in the winter. Precipitation is in short supply with an annual total of only 5 to 16 inches. Within the highest elevations, and subsequently the greatest precipitation, the vegetation consists primarily of pinyon pine and juniper trees, mountain mahogany and low sagebrush. The mountain range supports important browse species for deer such as bitterbrush, serviceberry and snowberry. The lower and drier elevations consist of saltbush, greasewood, sagebrush and a variety of annual and perennial grasses and wildflowers. Important species include needle-and-thread, bluegrass, Indian ricegrass, bottlebrush, squirreltail, scarlet globemallow, phlox, lupine, and many species of aster. Cheat grass, an annual invasive weed, has invaded much of the low elevation rangeland.
The entire Diamond Complex is experiencing Severe Drought conditions in 2020. Many of the perennial grasses did not grow or set seed, especially in the lowest elevations.
The area is also utilized by domestic livestock and numerous wildlife species. Wildlife species occurring in the area include mule deer, sage grouse, chukar, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, pronghorn antelope and numerous other small mammals, birds, and reptiles.
Horses within the HMA are descendants of ranch horses and horses that either escaped or were released into the area. The majority of horses exhibit a bay, brown or sorrel color, however there are also roan, black, palomino, sabino, chestnut, gray and white horses found in the area. The size of the Diamond Complex wild horses is average to above average for wild horses, with heights averaging 15-15.2 hands for many of them, with a well-muscled build.
In order to keep the public informed and allow reasonable access to gather operations, the Battle Mountain, Ely and Elko Districts plan to schedule daily public visitation opportunities to view the gather operations. Please review the "Know Before You Go" and "Visitation Protocol and Ground Rules" documents, located on the lower right had side of this page, before planning to attend.
All media and/or visitors wanting to go to attend gather operations as an observer must call the “2020 Diamond Complex Wild Horse Gather information hotline” at 775-861-6700 for daily meeting times and locations. The hotline will be updated nightly, by 8:00pm PST with information about the following day's activities. A Public Affairs Officer and a Law Enforcement Officer will meet the public each morning at the pre-determined meeting location, to escort the group to and from the gather observation sites.
It may be necessary to limit the number of observers in an effort to allow for “Social Distancing”. The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. We continue to work closely with the Department of the Interior and follow CDC guidance to ensure public and employee spaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners and volunteers.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating on 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.
When visiting public lands, the public should follow local area health orders including Governor Sisolak’s standards for individuals, businesses and employers, practice Leave No Trace principles, practice social distancing and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
A Public Affairs Officer will meet the public each morning to escort the group to the gather and/or holding sites. BLM staff will escort all media and/or visitors to and from the gather site each day.
The horses removed will be transported to the Palomino Valley Corrals located north of Sparks, Nevada. All animals, upon arrival, 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 will retain their "wild" status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming and Burros Act.
For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.