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The Bureau of Land Management’s Winnemucca District, Humboldt River Field Office began the wild horse and burro gather on August 3, 2020.
2020 Shawave Mountains Wild Horse and Burro Gather
Purpose of Gather:
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Winnemucca District, Humboldt River Field Office will begin a wild horse gather on or about August 3, 2020, on the Shawave Mountains Herd Management Area, which is located in western Pershing County approximately 50 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada. In addition, gather operations will take place in areas outside the HMA where wild horses have moved in search of food and water. The action is needed due to lack of water and declining health of the wild horses - the Shawave Mountains HMA has a history of water issues during dry spring and summer months.
All horses identified for removal will be transported to the Indian Lakes Off-Range Corral, located in Fallon, Nev., 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 Bureau of Land Management Winnemucca District, Humboldt River Field Office, plans to capture approximately 1,600 wild horses and 200 burros. The plan is to remove approximately 1,600 wild horses and 200 wild burros within and outside of the boundaries of the Shawave Mountains HMA - the HMA is not managed for burros. Approximately 50 mares will be treated with Gona-Con fertility control and released back to the HMA.
The BLM expects the helicopter gather to take approximately 45-60 days.
As of March 1, 2020, the population of wild horses on the HMA was 1,722 wild horses. Based on the ground observations, approximately 200 wild burros are in the HMA. These population estimates do not include the 2020 foal crop.
The purpose of the gather is critical to prevent further deteriorating body condition of the wild horses in the area due to extremely limited water sources, undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, 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 Shawave Mountains HMA is managed within the Winnemucca District Office, by the Humboldt River Field Office. The HMA is located in western Pershing County, approximately 50 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada. The area consists of 139,552 acres of BLM land and 37,652 acres of a mix of private and other public lands for a total of 177,204 acres.
The terrain in the area consists of north-south trending mountains separated by broad valleys. Elevations within the HMA range from 4,000 feet along the valley floor to 7,771 feet at Juniper Mountain. Climate is characterized by warm dry days, cool nights and low yearly precipitation that ranges from 4 to 6 inches at lower elevations to approximately 10 inches at higher elevations.
Vegetation varies from salt desert shrub communities at lower elevations to big sagebrush/grass communities at upper elevations. Typical species in the salt desert shrub community includes shadscale, budsage, winterfat, black greasewood, indian rice grass, squirrel tail and desert needlegrass. Species typical of the sagebrush/grass communities include low sage, Wyoming sagebrush, desert peach, rabbit brush, needlegrasses, basin wild rye, squirrel tail, indian paintbrush and phlox.
The area is also utilized by domestic livestock and numerous wildlife species. Typical wildlife species found in the area include mule deer, pronghorn antelope, California bighorn sheep, chukar partridge, coyote, and various rodents.
In order to keep the public informed and allow reasonable access to gather operations, the Winnemucca District, Humboldt Field Office plans to schedule daily public visitation opportunities to view the gather operations.
All media and/or visitors wanting to go to the gather site need to call the “Shawave Wild Horse Gather information hotline” at 775-861-6700 for daily meeting times and locations.
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.
Excess wild horses removed from the range will be transported to the BLM’s Indian Lakes Off-Range Corrals located in Fallon, Nev., 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.