Eagle Roundup Begins, Again (What, Where and Why)

Roundup statistics to date, January 18, 2021:

503 (214 Studs, 285 Mares, and 1 Foals), 8 dead.

  • 3 year-old mare, BLM stated “Physical Defect or Deformity: Acquired.”
  • 20 year-old mare, BLM stated “Body Condition: Unable to Maintain or Improve.”
  • 12 year-old mare, BLM stated “Blindness or Eye Abnormality”
  • 4 year-old mare, BLM stated “Physical Defect or Deformity: Acquired” with no other explanation.
  • 4 year-old mare, BLM stated “fracture” with no other explanation.
  • 20 year-old stud, BLM said “Blindness or Eye Abnormality.”
  • 7 year-old mare, BLM stated “Physical Defect or Deformity” with no other explanation. Acquired.
  • 9 year-old mare, BLM said “Blindness or Eye Abnormality” with no further explanation.

The Eagle roundup of 2021 falls almost exactly one year since the last roundup at Eagle. During the 2020 operation 24 wild horses lost their lives during the roundup, we do not know how many died in the ensuing months in holding.

In 2021 BLM will capture 1,131. In 2020 BLM captured 1716 wild horses. In 2018 BLM captured 203 (in an operation many of you will remember as the mare that was run as she aborted).

In 2016 BLM hit Eagle twice, lumping one operation listed as Silver King/Eagle (Dec) and the other listed as Caliente/Eagle (Feb).

(covid-19 note at the bottom of the page)

As the pandemic rages, the nearly 60 day operation that will hit both the Eagle Complex and the Silver King HMA (significant to the Wilson Creek cattle allotment discussed in this article) has begun. The combined operations targets 1414 wild horses and is scheduled to end around Feb 28. 

After the 2020 roundup the Miller fire hit the area wild horses were removed from, not an uncommon occurrence. The fuels driving that fast moving fire were, in part, classified as “short grass.” The short grasses were noted as a foot tall.

If it is not a lack of forage causing the removal (as demonstrated by the Miller fire) why is BLM hitting this complex for the 5th time in as many years? Why is the agency, that always claims they do not have enough money to basic field work, range improvements for wild horses, create actual management plans, prioritizing another hit on the Eagle complex?

The Eagle Complex consists of about 743,000 acres of public lands. BLM states 139-265 wild horses is all the area can sustain (an absurdity).

There is a massive use of public lands up and down the eastern edge of the state of Nevada, not simply within the Eagle complex. Nearly 1.5 million domestic sheep and cattle graze in the allotments that overlap the Eagle complex. Wild horses are obviously not getting a “fair share” of the grasses at Eagle.

Over the same timeframe that the complex has been hit each year by a chopper, the agency has been approving, and working to approve, massive gifts to livestock permittees.

In 2018 we did an article called “Cow, it happens.” The article focuses on allotments that span both Eagle and Silver King. WildLands Defense and Wild Horse Education filed a protest to the proposed project for the Wilson Creek Allotment. That project was shelved and brought back to the table for revision.

Wild horses cut off of the vast majority of the HMA by fences and waters throughout the area are turned off. (Wilson Creek allotment)

On 12/22/2020 the agency put out a revised plan that is currently open for comment and legal protest. 

The Eagle HMA that is the largest HMA in the Eagle Complex (670,000 acres; formerly called Wilson Creek and Deer Lodge Canyon) is located 90% on the Wilson Creek Allotment (605,824 Acres). The allotment is authorized to run 1,090,414 head of domestic European cattle from 3/1-2/28 (do the math, that means year round). That number allows the operator to take massive guaranteed loans, even if they do not run full numbers. If the permittee run half their allowed number, that is still over half a million cows. 

BLM says only 100-210 wild horses can live on that HMA. Probably the number they determined that could live on the 10% of the HMA not occupied by the Wilson Creek permit? 

The Silver King HMA (606,000 acres) formerly called Dry Lake, Highland Ridge and Rattlesnake) – is 62% on the Wilson Creek Allotment (374,183 Acres). The AML for the Silver King HMA is 60-128. 

You can access the documents here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/110283/570

BLM can not find the funding to craft actual management document for the Eagle Complex or Silver King. Instead, they craft “gather EAs” that do not allow the public any input except comments directly related to removals.

More on HMAPs here.

We need management planning that determines what kind of fertility control each area might need as well as preservation of critical habitat, free-roaming behaviors and more. BLM needs to stop simply scapegoating wild horses without any justification simply to keep powerful political forces happy.

What we see with the massive amount of money spent on the Wilson Creek projects (fencing, water, etc) is actually a part of a management plan. We see this type of workload prioritized by the agency again and again, sometimes monopolizing an entire district for a year.

Wild horses? no actual management plan. They simply get a “gather EA” that sweeps them out of the way of livestock, mining and even in deals like the Southern Nevada Water Authority pipeline to feed Las Vegas (many ranches along the border of the Nevada/Utah were purchased with the idea water rights could be sold to the pipeline).

The fight to protect and preserve wild horses goes deep into public lands management. Wild horses are to managed equally with other interests on the land they stand. In practice we never see this actualized, we see wild horses pay the price for industrial interests that get priority from land managers in funding and range resources.

Wild Horse Education is working on another legal action against the Wilson Creek EA, our deadline is coming up fast. It gets really complex and in-depth and we hope you browse through the documents so you can see what “livestock management” documents look like compared  to the roundup EA you see for wild horses. (see here)

Comments, that set the stage for litigation, are also due for another NV HMA where BLM has never created an actual management plan (HMAP), in another area BLM prioritizes industrial use of public lands. WHE is sending in our comments to set the stage to file legal action once more. BLM is planning on using extreme measures, that include brutal spaying, to keep satisfying livestock at Desatoya. (here)

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The 2021 Eagle roundup has begun.

As the pandemic rages, the nearly 60 days of operations that will hit both the Eagle Complex and the Silver King HMA (significant to the Wilson Creek cattle allotment) has begun. The combined operations targets 1414 wild horses and is scheduled to end around Feb 28.

As of Jan 16, 5 have died.

If you are shopping online you can help Wild Horse Education by choosing us as your charity of choice on IGive or Amazonsmile.com 

Of note: 12 days ago crews set up the Fish Creek operation in Eureka. At the start of the operation the county measured zero cases of Covid-19, dropping out of the hot spot list. Today Eureka county is ranked as one of the hottest spots in the state of NV.

01/08/2021 Covid hotspots in NV. Eureka county is the long dark read hotspot in the middle.

We have been tracking transmission rates after BLM does a roundup. Within 10-14 days after staff arrive, rates of transmission rise.

1/18: 12 days after Eagle traps are active, Lincoln county rises in Covid cases

We have noted many BLM staff and contractors do not wear masks in town. If you intend to observe a roundup during the pandemic we advise you take the lead in protecting yourself from contracting and spreading the virus.

Categories: Lead, Roundups