More Removal Plans Approved (what WHE is doing)

High Rock in the Surprise Complex

The BLM has just released the final EA and Decision Record for the Surprise Complex. The Surprise Complex contains six HMAs administered by the BLM Applegate Field Office (California): Massacre Lakes, Bitner, Nut Mountain, Wall Canyon, High Rock, and Fox Hog. The Massacre Lakes HMA is included in this Complex because it is adjacent to the Bitner HMA.

The total acreage of the Complex is 396,674 acres. BLM set the AML at 283-496 wild horses and 0 burros. Physically the acreage lies primarily in Washoe County, NV and a small section in Humbolt County, NV. The HMAs are managed by California BLM.

The plan will remove wild horses to low AML (283) and remove all burros.  The approved action will also apply: sex ratio to 60 percent males and 40 percent females, treat females returned to the range with fertility control vaccines or insert IUDs. The plan also allows “opportunistic darting,” but due to terrain and size the plan rejected darting as a primary method to apply fertility control.

This approved plan will stand for ten years. The agency states they invited multiple stakeholders to meet since Sept. 2020 to give input to the plan. WHE never received any notice, did you? We wonder who attended?

WHE list of active legals actions below. If our resources allow, we will file for Surprise as well. With your help we can expand the fight.

Roundup at High Rock

Multiple “ten year gather plans,” livestock grazing schemes, mining expansion, etc. have been approved at breakneck speed the last few years. The intensity has overwhelmed many enviro orgs and frustrated the “wild horse public.”

The end of the fiscal year 2021 roundup schedule (that began with the helicopter roundup “zero out” of Centennial this month) targets over 3500 wild horses and burros. The fiscal year calendar runs until Oct. Those numbers do not include wild horses and burros targeted from Oct-Dec 2021.

WHE is involved in 5 active legal actions and (a group effort) that is actively involved in a 6th (the mine expansion that was cancelled, but is working to get back into play)

We are extremely busy.

Below is a fast run down of the active legal actions WHE is taking (along with outreach on the budget debate, setting up additional litigation, field/drought monitoring and roundup observation to continue our work on the CAWP policy).

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The Pancake litigation is in an active briefing stage. Legal filings require multiple briefs, replies and processes.

On 1.1 million acres the (Ely) BLM finalized a “ten year” plan to remove thousands of wild horses and leave 361 on the range. The wild horses left on the range will be sterilized and/or treated with a mishmash of vaccines and IUDs.

Their HMA is being rapidly carved up by profit driven interests and the horses are losing water and forage rapidly.

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Litigation for the Desatoya herd is also in active briefing. We filed a brief yesterday in this case and will have several more to craft.

The BLM (Carson) has created a mishmash of fertility control (IUDs, various substances the agency admits can cause sterilization) and a removal plan without any management plan. In addition to the extreme actions the agency intends to impose on wild horses, the agency released massive livestock grazing plans that will adversely effect the HMA. There is also mining exploration in the area that will move into a proposal stage shortly.

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Eagle/Silver King/Choke Cherry

The Wilson Creek legal action is in active briefing. WHE teamed up with WildLands Defense on this monster of a livestock grazing scheme that has turned into a monster of a case. The agency (Ely) did one EA to cover multiple changes (including new roads) to livestock permits. This one case has been split by the courts to argue into 8 different categories.

The HMAs in the area have been hit 5 times, in as many years, by helicopter roundups. There is no management plan at play to protect the herds and they are rapidly loosing the resources they need to survive, as they are being blamed for the destruction caused by livestock.

On over 1.3million acres designated for use by wild horses, BLM states a maximum of 468 wild horses can live in this massive territory.

WHE has also teamed up with WLD to push back against the permits at Argenta. This area is where the “Grass March” took root and swept the state of NV setting up “appease the rancher” at all costs.

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The Confusion legal action is on hold pending further review. The ovariectomy via colpotomy has been removed from the plan. However, we do not know what it will be replaced with. Sterilization by burning oviducts closed (and other procedures) is still on the table and, most importantly, the sheer lack of actual management planning still exists.

WHE has not dropped our legal action. We are not simply looking for sterilization to be replaced with fertility control vaccines.

The fight to protect the wild, begins in the wild.

We are very busy addressing every EA we can that is in draft so we can take legal action when it finalizes. We will file against as many plans as our resources allow.

Our roundup team is gearing up. The end of the fiscal 2021 schedule is intense. We expect the beginning of the 2022 schedule to be even worse. With  your support, we are prepared to bring issues of abuse back into the courtroom. WHE is the only org to get into the field day after day, catch abuse and take it to court. We drove the creation of the first policy in history against abuse. Over the last few years we have worked to set a frame to take that litigation to a new level.

We hope this article answers your question “What is WHE doing?”

WHE litigation page

Take Action

Our teams are busy. Our roundup team is gearing up team. We are monitoring drought conditions. Our legal team is busy juggling multiple actions with more to come.

Help keep us in the fight. 

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Categories: Lead