Wild Horse Education

Eagle Update: Legal Action Filed Against Grazing Scheme

As the Eagle roundup continues, and the Silver King roundup is set to begin, WildLands Defense and Wild Horse Education file legal action against the massive EA BLM has been trudging forward since 2018. The EA includes massive changes (deals) for domestic livestock producers in the area. (you can see what this document, moving as a single EA, looks like HERE)

From the legal documents filed by WLD and WHE: “The permits Appealed include: Southern Nevada Water Authority South Lake Valley Use Area and Deadman Use Area, B Bar D LLC, Bulloch Brothers on Black Rock “allotment” (formerly Thorley use area in Wilson Creek), Dry Valley LLC, Charles and Fawn Hulet, Kena Gloeckner, Kenneth and Donna Lytle, SNWA Bernard Pearson- Dry Lake Valley Use Area, Carlisle Hulet, Kena and Pat Gloeckner, Kena and Pat Gloeckner and Kenneth and Donna Lytle for Lytle Living Trust, Bernard Peterson SNWA, Dry Lake Valley Use Area Group permit (Dry Valley LLC, Charles and Fawn Hulet, Kena Gloeckner, Kenneth and Donna Lytle, Bernard Peterson SNWA) and any others we may have missed in the confusing way BLM lumped permittees in this confusing stack of grazing decisions.”

This massive grazing EA will have a devastating impact on wild horse HMAs. “The evaluation area West of Highway 93 makes up 35% of the Silver King HMA (formerly called Dry Lake, Highland Ridge and Rattlesnake)… The evaluation area East of Highway 93 makes up 76% of the Eagle HMA (formerly called Wilson Creek and Deer Lodge Canyon)… The Evaluation area in Utah (U-4) makes up 56% of the Chokecherry HMA..”

BLM does not even use current data on these herds, blames degradation on the wild horses that are drastically outnumbered by livestock and inaccurately represents the timeline of removals of wild horses in these areas. BLM even asserts that this EA, with the increase in livestock AUMs (forage allocation) and more fences that will cut them off of grazing land and waters, is somehow beneficial for wild horses!

The 112 page filing by WLD and WHE points out many deficits, and several absurdities, in this grazing EA. The multi-layered grazing “scheme” essentially is a convoluted attempt to avoid addressing livestock use on a permit by permit basis and it, appears, to put into practice a plan that could never even be monitored effectively. This EA is an atrocity.

The conglomerate that makes up this EA, and the massive amount of acreage it  covers, should require BLM to undertake the more in-depth process of creating an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as well as rectify the data deficits and failure to balance interests.

Many wild horse advocates get frustrated because they make comments about livestock use on wild horse EAs and BLM will state that is not an appropriate place to comment on livestock use. You can comment when BLM creates a Land Use Plan, or when they create a livestock permit plan, BLM will say. Livestock permits have to go though the NEPA process, just like every proposed action on public lands. These plans are supposed to be done site-by-site, just like an EA for a roundup.

This is the third time this EA has come forward in a final form; we were one of the protests on the first final plan, the second simply withdrawn days after it went out.

It would be good for advocates to take a peek at what these types of plans look like.  If you want to make comments on livestock use to protect wild horses you should begin to learn what gazing plans entail. You can read it here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/110283/570

The HMAs effected in this monstrous EA have been repeatedly hit with intensive roundups since discussions began to create this grazing EA. Over and over we have watched BLM aggressively push populations of wild horses down on the over 1.3 million acres designated for their use that overlap these livestock permits. In this area BLM states that only a maximum of 468 wild horses can be sustained in these HMAs. 

The areas covered by this grazing EA are critical to the survival of many species including pygmy rabbits, sage grouse, elk and wild horses.

Checking in on the ongoing Eagle roundup: 702 (313 Studs, 388 Mares, and 1 Foals) captured, 15 have died so far: 

  • 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.
  • 4 year-old mare BLM said “with BCS of 1” Body Condition: Unable to Maintain or Improve).
  • 3 year-old mare BLM said  “BCS of 1” Body Condition: Unable to Maintain or Improve).
  • 1 year-old stud BLM said “from pre-existing conditions (Fracture: Chronic/Pre-Existing)”
  • 7 year-old mare BLM stated “due to unexpected/acute issue (Laceration)”
  • 2 year-old stud BLM said “died due to unexpected/acute issue (Respiratory: Other)”
  • 6 year-old stud BLM stated “pre-existing conditions (Blindness or Eye Abnormality).”
  • 6 year-old mare BLM said “pre-existing conditions (Physical Defect or Deformity: Acquired)”

In 2021 the target for capture is 1,131 in Eagle. 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).

Today, as the pandemic rages, the nearly 60 day operation covers 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. 


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Categories: Wild Horse Education