Update on Eco-Sanctuary scoping period

Horse heading to sanctuary with “SAM” in 2011

Note: Deadline for comments is Sept. 19th

Yesterday evening the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held a public outreach meeting in Reno to answer questions regarding the proposed wild horse “eco-sanctuary” in Wells, Nevada.

The current proposal seeks to create a privately-managed, non-reproducing wild horse eco-sanctuary under Federal ownership.Madeleine Pickens foundation, Saving America’s Mustangs (SAM), submitted the proposal that would improve and maintain fencing and water wells, oversee management of the horses, provide tours, create and distribute educational material on wild horsesand western history. The horses would remain under Federal ownership and retain their wild status under law.

According to the scoping document: “The proposal would result in the adjustment and/or modification of portions of the existing Spruce-Pequop, Goshute, and Antelope Valley HMAs to create a new modified herd management area to be managed as an eco-sanctuary. Those areas of the HMAs that are not within the proposed Eco-Sanctuary would be evaluated to determine their ability to sustain a viable horse population with reduced acreage and water resources.” *note these areas are also referenced as the “Antelope Complex.”

Public outreach at the Hyatt Place, Reno. BLM answers public questions regarding proposed "eco-sanctuary" in Wells, Nevada
Public outreach at the Hyatt Place, Reno. BLM answers public questions regarding proposed “eco-sanctuary” in Wells, Nevada
Photo credit:
Laura Leigh

On hand from the BLM were several staff members from the Elko District office, State public affairs personnel and Zack Reichold, National BLM Wild Horse and Burro Specialist.

According to Reichold the parameters for the project are not defined. Three alternatives will be presented for continued public input in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). During this current scoping phase the public is invited to ask questions and suggest proposed solutions to problems. Those suggestions from the public, if pertinent to the project, may influence the alternatives that are presented.

Several examples discussed with Reichold for areas appropriate for comment include: fence line placement, solutions for keeping acreage available within Herd Management areas (HMA’s) for wild horses, types of gates and cattle guards.

“This is a time when the public can have input specific to concerns about this project” said Reichold “we set up these public outreach opportunities to answer questions and begin to address a dialogue with the public to identify concerns and possible solutions.”

Of interest within the scoping document are the other public uses impacted by the project. The document details several of the uses that will remain active on the public land occupied by the proposed sanctuary including historic sites and hunting. A chart detailing the seasonal ranges for big game and sage grouse is included in the scoping document. Yet no such detailed analysis appears on wild horses on the HMA’s, the use most greatly impacted by this project. (See slideshow: http://www.examiner.com/slideshow/maps-of-proposed-eco-sanctuary-and-surrounding-hma-s)

The public will have one last opportunity to engage the BLM at the next meeting:

Sept. 4
Elko Convention Center – Cedar Room
700 Moran Way
Elko, Nev. 89801

Comments can be submitted to the BLM here:

Interested individuals should send written comments to the BLM Elko District Office, Wells Field Office, 3900 E. Idaho Street, Elko, NV 89801, Attn: Wild Horse Eco-Sanctuary, or fax at (775) 753-0385. Comments may also be submitted to the project e-mail address:EcoSanctuaryComments@blm.gov.

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.examiner.com/article/blm-public-outreach-on-wild-horse-eco-sanctuary

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