Revisit Fish Creek, part 1 (history, before the roundup)


Fish Creek

In a few short days roundups begin again. The schedule for the end of the 2019 fiscal year (that runs through mid October 2019) has been posted. You can read about the schedule HERE. 




Fish Creek mares at the “off limits” Broken Arrow facility. Over 5% of the horses slated for release died between capture and April 2015, the release date, in holding. The palomino mare, named Julia, never went home.

Several of the operations slated between now and mid-October have important history for anyone wanting to understand the battles faced by advocacy. The first two on the schedule have a “past.” (More HERE on the current operations, the “present.) 

Triple B: The first court orders in history against abuse were gained at Triple B. For decades BLM refused to create any actual policy that created a standard for humane treatment, even though they were mandated by law to do so. We were told the case was impossible to win, we won.

Pine Nut: Segments of this herd have a huge public following and a huge organization behind them. For years they struggled to obtain an agreement and finally obtained one to dart a small segment (cloaked in it’s own drama). They are still working to expand. But protests, letter writing campaigns and more, have not helped, timely, to get ahead of expensive removals.

The second wave will include other HMAs with their own unique piece to illustrate the obstacles, program wide, written in their history; Onaqui, Antelope and Devils Garden


If one horse could speak to every betrayal it’s Sarge. Sarge was removed as a youngster and dumped back on the range (no penalty to the person that removed him). That story repeats again later in life. Click the pic for more info. Today? the people that took him betrayed his entire herd. (more later)

But none of them point to the twisted, drama bent, chaos addicted, BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program, and all that surrounds it, more than the area called “Fish Creek.” 

Very little of the world of wild horses has to do with a conversation based on data, the law, equity of process, ethical responsibility or a “bullet pointed to do list” of legal management actions.

As an advocate you slog through, try to play by the rules, try everything you can to get that simple “bullet point list” and the work accomplished to help the wild ones still free. Every step of the way you face the chaos and crisis BLM cloaks itself in like bubblewrap to shield a paycheck from politics, satisfy buddies, and enjoy the benefits of denial. 

As an advocate, this creates almost insurmountable frustration, despair, anger, and the struggle simply to find the “right words” to describe just how inept, and corrupted, the system is.

It is so disheartening that adults find so much satisfaction in bullying that leads to unnecessary cruelty to other humans and innocent living beings. The tactics utilized are unimaginable to those not involved.

However, an educated advocacy is the best defense our wild, wild ones have. Understanding the layers under an “action” can help understand that “action.” We will continue our work to educate the public, media and Congress. Our readers come from many backgrounds. Finding one writing style to gain broad scale comprehension is simply not possible. As an example the document lists we give to Congress are not the same as the pieces we send to media, or write on the website. If they were? You would have nearly 500 pages to read that include a table of contents!

To understand the removal set for September for Fish Creek, the twists and turns, it will take a series of articles! As the operation moves forward we will create a landing page and index for all the pieces. Our legal team is hard at work. We want you to fully understand “what, why and how.” (But we wont bore you with all the legal jargon!)


As the mares were loaded and taken from the range during the stand-off, all the stallions turned in their direction.

A fast re-cap on Fish Creek.

Years of work, and thousands of man hours, were devoted to creating a protocol that recognized existing flaws in management; data, inaccurate decision making, historic manipulation, etc. A protocol was developed that took the population down to what the current BLM staff agreed was actually closer to “AML.” (WHE invested nearly 100K)

An EA was created that outlined multiple actions and public comment ensued. BLM chose the action suited to science and mandates. Part of the herd removed, the rest treated, marked with tracking numbers, and released. A data collection/darting program was to begin a few months after release. The data would be incorporated into the Land Use Plan to address the flawed framework.

The plan moved forward. On the day of the release there was a “stand off” reminiscent of an old “black and white” movie. (HERE) The wild horses set to be released were transported to holding, we were told “for safety.” Before transport, two were euthanized because simply releasing them would be “ok,” transport was not.

The county, ranchers, etc. filed a suit. The suit was essentially a claim that BLM needed to do things as the county wanted them (just remove, no fertility control and kill them if BLM said they had no space in holding). The suit lost. (WHE filed Intervention after BLM did not file a document that outlined the need for immediate action from the court, more horses were dying in holding, mares were giving birth removing them off any list to be released. The “standing” to be a part of the case were the years we had invested. The court recognized that as “value.” )

The release carried the same contention as the day of the “stand-off.” We did not write about all the threats we received that day, we tried to look forward, and hoped that BLM would fight for the law.

That did not happen.

For now, visit the day of that release with us. (In part two we will tell you how it all disappeared into the black hole of backdoor deals, intimidation and the most frustrating path of corruption both big and small.)

Step back in time to a moment when actualizing the law was possible. 

The day of the release:

Thank you to all of you that kept the faith and believed that together we would see these wild horses returned home. Thank you to all of those committed to making this project a long term success that paves a solid path forward.

The future of our wild ones depends on a commitment that stays focused on what is real, what is not, and the stamina to cut through it all. This has been years in the making, and a hard fight that brought sorrow as some of those intended to be releases died in holding, but the plan steps forward for the herd.

Today we celebrate freedom with all of you. A moment to breathe.

Gratitude to everyone on “Team Fish Creek!

UPDATE NOTE June 2019:

BLM caved to political pressure, completely. The suit the ranchers filed, that WHE filed litigation in opposition, lost in court.

However, BLM entered into backdoor deals with those that engaged in harassment campaigns. The $2 million dollar investment to begin the largest fertility control project in the nation, at Fish Creek, has been flushed down the drain. 

The suit (by county and ranchers) that lost? won in the office of John Ruhs, BLM NV State Director. (in a tragic twist members of advocacy also began making their own backdoor deals, destroying the work of other advocates, while we were fighting for the law. more HERE.)  

Fish Creek is now on the roundup Schedule for 2019. The proposed objectives? Exactly what the “Grass March” factions wanted in the lawsuit that lost in court.

Appropriate Management? Fair and equitable engagement in process? 

There was a single moment in time when the objectives of a legal and data based discussion took a step forward. It vanished under threats, manipulation and, as always, wild horses, and justice, pay a heavy price.

note:  Before BLM employees start trolling this topic, remember we have emails from you telling us we were accurate. You always seem to need reminders; it is also against your ethics oath.

Help us stay in the fight.


Take action! You can take action as those behind the betrayals at Fish Creek move to gut the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act move a “plan” through Appropriations. (HERE)


Mare giving birth at Fish Creek surrounded by her family for protection

Categories: Lead, Wild Horse Education