BLM To Begin Emergency Removal With 3 Days notice

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BLM To Begin Emergency Removal With 3 Days notice

Statement from Wild Horse Education

(Ely, NV) The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving forward, with only 3 days public notice, to begin a removal operation of 250 wild horses in the Pancake HMA. 

BLM’s press release claims there is no livestock in the area. The targeted valley has suffered severe degradation from historic livestock use and currently there is no livestock in that exact valley.  There is livestock in nearby valleys, in the HMA. There has been livestock turnout in the HMA. The press release is misleading.

With only three days public notice the Ely district will begin removing 250 wild horses. The Pancake HMA population numbers used in the BLM release would have you believe that the targeted area has over 2000 wild horses. In reality the populations in Pancake are distinct, subset or transient. The area of the targeted operation is currently visited by about 250 wild horses.

We are not saying that there is not a water issue in the targeted area of Pancake, there is. The issue in the area is a “known,” it was never an “unknown.” We have been monitoring the area all year and have had our own concerns. But to create an “emergency” operation without an Environmental Assessment in an area where the issues are well known, in no way “sudden,” and have mitigation alternatives (such as a water haul) until an EA is prepared to appropriately inform and engage the public. Such engagement creates a possibility for problem solving, additional resources and gaining public trust at a time where there is precious little trust of federal management of public land.

The area they are targeting, Big Sand Valley, is an area where there are also some issues with fence lines and gates that are constantly closed inhibiting free movement throughout the HMA. We have asked BLM in the past why gates have no sign that indicates what time of year they are to be open or closed and the answer we received was that “people would just shoot them or steal them” so gates that allow free roaming behavior simply stay closed.

This is the second “emergency” operation in Nevada this year. 

This is the same same district (ELY) that prioritized the western edge of Triple B back in February when there was funding (when that population was stable and faced no impending danger of resource issues AND  mountain lions were also killed). These “emergency” areas should have taken precedence at that time. These areas were known to the wild horse specialist prior to the start of Triple B (February).

If this area was of concern for a pending “emergency” why was it not placed on the regular schedule and simply announced on a Friday for an operation to begin on Monday? We are actually concerned that slipping areas of actual need onto an emergency platform in order to gain emergency funding (available for projects that include fire fighting) may be a directive to agency employees. BLM regular schedule does not include any area that could be categorized as priority of habitat. 

This is not management. 

BLM is not allowing any public observation opportunities. That is not acceptable particularly given the assertions of a situation so dire that it will be implemented in three days. These are the times transparency is the most critical.

BLM will be transporting the wild horses to the Broken Arrow facility in Fallon, NV. The facility is not open to the public.

This is not transparency. 

 Update from Laura Leigh:  July 8, 2018

I have been in touch with BLM. They are working on observation issues.
Holding was planned to be on a native reservation so BLM said no access.
BLM has many places they could set up temporary besides on a sovereign nation.
We are waiting to hear back.