Wild Horse Education

Cold Creek

Cold Creek wild horses, now (picture provided by Spring Mountain Alliance)

Cold Creek wild horses, now (picture provided by Spring Mountain Alliance)

Cold Creek wild horses, another casualty of BLM’s “Wild Horse Advocate Aversion Program.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is beginning an emergency bait trap operation in Cold Creek, near Las Vegas. The current plan is to remove 200 wild horses due to lack of forage. The “drought” is the reasoning.

“This gather is being conducted because an assessment of the body condition of the herd determined that much of the herd is in critical condition due to lack of forage (water is not an issue). The herd has been stressed for 4 years due to on-going drought.”

There will be opportunities to view the wild horses once captured and taken to a temporary facility. http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/lvfo/blm_programs/wild_horse_and_burro/Cold_Creek_Emergency_Wild_Horse_Gather.html

As always there is a flurry of insanity as media outlets begin to pick up the story.

In Cold Creek, an extremely accessible HMA near Las Vegas, has had a group attempting to work with BLM for years on a management plan. You can visit Spring Mountain Wild Horses here: http://springmountainalliance.org/the-state-of-nevadas-wild-horses/

The group has been trying for at least 5 years to implement a fertility control program and to develop additional water sources for the horses. This group offered to assume all costs of fertility control. They had meetings with Bob Abbey while he was the Director of the BLM and has continued to try to implement the plan.

Water is not the issue, it's forage. In drought distribution of population becomes critical. BLM would not work with advocates to develop a proactive plan.

Water is not the issue, it’s forage. In drought distribution of population becomes critical. BLM would not work with advocates to develop a proactive plan.

Since 2011 the state of Nevada has been experiencing some form of drought that has escalated. (WHE drought monitor https://wildhorseeducation.org/hma-drought-monitor/). Any proactive action throughout the state to address these issues has been extremely limited. WHE has been warning for the last two years that situations will become extreme. In some cases we see a lack of any action to control domestic livestock use (drought restrictions and a program for reimbursement to livestock producers is in effect. see information and action item here: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2015/04/19/drought-take-action/).

Distribution of all wild populations during drought becomes a key component of appropriate management. Multiple water sources keep populations of deer, elk and wild horses utilizing forage in a broader pattern.

At Cold Creek it appears that in spring (and other times of year) there has been some feeding of wild horses at locations where the public can easily photograph them. This habituates a population to an area that if left alone, they would move from.

There is no debate that a removal of some of the wild horses needs to occur because nothing was done. The groups on the ground agree that a removal of about 70 horses should occur. They are concerned that the BLM is simply going to do a removal (200) and then do nothing proactive.

These types of scenarios are playing out throughout the West. Many wild horse advocates (including Laura Leigh of WHE) have been attempting to work with BLM on creating birth control and tracking mechanisms since the 2009 meeting (“Denver Workshop”). The meeting “promised” to have follow up and a continued effort that stalled completely.

Instead of any proactive mobilization with wild horse advocates toward using available tools to get ahead of reactionary practices we have only seen real movement with the “proslaughter” camp. The “proslaughter” camp pushes surgical sterilization and permanent sterilization, along with the “facilities are crowded let’s send them to slaughter” agenda. Since 2009 we have seen millions of dollars thrown into “studies” to sterilize wild horses and the roundup machine ran full steam and removed nearly 10,000 wild horses a year from 2009-2012 further compounding the problem.

WHY do we see multi million dollar efforts like the National Riparian Services Team (NRST) and all efforts made to satisfy livestock permittees that want to turn out livestock during drought working out “deals” that override legally upheld (through the courts) drought restrictions? WHY do we see Senators in Nevada taking the time to get fines reduced on trespass livestock (during drought)? WHY do we see precious little effort to work with wild horse advocates to create proactive management plans for wild horses?

Activities at Fish Creek (where a livestock permittee that had been in trespass for 8 months) created a media storm. There is much more to the events that led to that “drama” and BLM is collecting information as they proceed with an investigation. However the videos, that appeared all over social media, showed apparent disregard for multiple aspects of the Code of Federal Regulations. We have been informing the BLM that how they proceed at Fish Creek will determine future actions all over the West. “If I did what that permittee did, I would have been picked up and thrown in a high security facility by nightfall,” Laura Leigh.

We all know the answer. Wild horse advocates and the issue of wild horses is an annoying footnote to the BLM as a whole. WHE President Laura Leigh has been to multiple meetings with “stakeholders” of public land. Those moderating those discussions often begin with a “belittle the advocate” round of conversation in an almost “bonding moment” to get everyone else in the room relaxed, as if they are all on the “same page.” Leigh calls it “the red-headed step child moment.”

The group that stands for Cold Creek has a team of PZP native darters trained and ready. Will BLM take a step? Or will they simply continue to allow these types of crescendos in an out of control chorus of treating wild horse advocates like their concerns and willingness to participate mean nothing but a “bonding moment” for those that want wild horses sterilized and/or slaughtered?

No one is arguing that some of the horses need to be removed. It is the

No one is arguing that some of the horses need to be removed. It is the “reason why” and how to we stop the BLM’s “wild horse advocate aversion program” moving forward to a better future.

Please note that Cold Creek is NOT an HMA that WHE actively monitors as there are many locals that engage this area. See MORE at the link Cold Creek, The Blame Game

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Please note:

Cold Creek is NOT Fish Creek. These areas are hundreds of miles from each other.

Cold Creek is not near Madeleine Pickens ranch. MP is in Wells NV. Closer to RT 80.

Maps can be very helpful.

Comments I have seen from the “sterilize the horses and slaughter is not so bad camp” that criticize Spring Mountain for making money off of tours, what is the problem? Many interests make money off of public land. If the Alliance wants to pick up funding for fertility control and development of water, what is your problem? Ego?

Categories: Wild Horse Education