Wild Horse Education

BLM “Plan” and the HMAP

By reader request we did the following video to explain a bit about the BLM report/plan and the action item we are asking you to take. Our action item is comprehensive. The HMAP is a critical component of that item.

Action item and sample “call script,” click here. 

BLM 2020 plan/report, click here.

BLM 2018 report, click here.


The Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP) is the foundation management document for wild horses and burros according to the BLM handbook. BLM likes to cite the handbook, but most of us know BLM never actually follows the handbook claiming Congress made everything in it discretionary, not mandatory, under the Act.

We are asking you to help us rectify that soundbite. Congress mandated management, not removal. BLM created the handbook to follow the directive. Congress can now mandate that no funding is to be spent on removals or fertility control in any HMA that does not have a management plan (HMAP).

In the western US we have 177 HMAs; only 7 HMAs have this critical document in any active form, no matter how shabby or outdated.

The failure that sets up the entire program to crumble is step one; the failure to create a management plan. This not only increases the destruction of our herds, it increases contention year after year.

The plan would help protect critical resources from destructive actions of industry, inform and revise land use planning, reevaluate stocking levels (AML) and be a place to begin to rectify decades of mismanagement.

For advocates the HMAP is the only part of the “wild horse NEPA” process that actually deals with management plans. The removals EA’s that you all comment on are not where management plans are determined, but where the effects of a roundup are analyzed. BLM skips the entire first step in the overwhelmingly vast majority of cases.

BLM handbook states:

Herd Management Area Plans (HMAPs) identify and set objectives for WH&B herds and their habitat. HMAPs are prepared with public involvement through a site-specific environmental analysis and decision process (NEPA). During the NEPA process, the environmental impacts associated with a range of alternative management strategies for the WH&B herd and its habitat is analyzed. The approved HMAP outlines the selected management actions, together with the management and monitoring objectives which, when implemented, would make progress toward achieving land health standards, LUP goals/objectives, and other relevant objectives.


chart from handbook on HMAP creation

The HMAP is critical to evaluating AML, mitigating damages from industry, fertility control, range restoration projects, etc.


Chart referencing AML evaluation, source BLM handbook


You can see that an HMAP is critical to manage wild horses and burros. In so many HMAs, that do not have this essential first step completed, BLM rushes to do massive removals based on political prioritization. The historic flaws of inaccurate boundary lines, fictional AML, and more, simply get carried forward and buried under another layer of fiction.

There are multiple errors, misleading statements and more in the report/plan. We will have more for you soon. This report was set as a requirement for the release of an additional $21 million into the BLM 2020 budget. BLM will use that money to amp up removals in the summer/fall roundup schedule and include sterilization (example: Twin Peaks where BLM plans to geld/vasectomize 60% of the studs on range).

We have less than 50 days until BLM hits that mark. Congress must reject BLM’s lazy response to their oversight request on spending.

We are busy working on our official response document to send to Congress.

Please take the action noted HERE today. 


We are up against a very well funded machine. Can you help us continue to fight back? 

Our wild ones need your voice.

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Categories: Wild Horse Education