Marietta, located in Nevada, is the Nation’s only recognized Wild Burro Range. An old ghost town that sprang up during the borax mining days, burros still inhabit the area long after the town was abandoned.
This area was dedicated as the only wild burro range (Range) in the US in 1991, 20 years after the passage of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act. This area is to be managed “principally, but not exclusively, for wild burros. The BLM set Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 78-104 burros for the 68,000-acre Range.
The Stillwater Field Office has just begun a 30-day public scoping comment period. Scoping is a process done prior to drafting an analysis document like an Environmental Assessment (EA). The scoping period. is for a draft Gather EA, not a Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP) revision. Public comments will be accepted through May 15, 2022.
Background: The last plan at Marietta is a “gather plan” that lumps horses and burros into a removal plan. This plan is from 2011. There is no integrated HMAP for horses, burros or any active/updated singular HMAP. You can see the 2011 document HERE.
Sample scoping comment:
The BLM should be crafting/updating a draft HMAP-EA for any removal EA to tier from. Instead, the agency is skirting the obligation to manage and, once again, removal remains the focal point. As Marietta is the only burro Range in the US, the agency should be focused on preservation of this historic herd. In the entire US the agency claims it can only manage fewer than 3000 burros. This increases the need to maintain a large herd of genetically viable and diverse burros at Marietta. The current estimated population of 500 burros on the range indicates that AML needs to be reevaluated and increased to a minimum of 250 to ensure that the US maintains a healthy representation of the historic significance of the burro as outlined in the 1971 Act. Creation of an HMAP would include any range improvements necessary to achieve those goals. Goals for preservation of the herd are to be outlined in an HMAP, not a gather plan. The agency must craft a comprehensive and complete HMAP that includes current science on burro behavior, climate change, genetics, etc. (and begin scoping on an HMAP) in place of another gather plan.
NOTE: the link provided in the BLM press release is not publicly functional. Please use this link https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2018955/570
From BLM press release:
The proposed action is to reduce impacts to rangeland health and wildlife habitat inside and outside of the Marietta HMA. The EA will be used to facilitate gathers, and removals of excess wild burros in accordance with 43 CFR 4700 regulation and the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, as amended (Public Law 92-195). The appropriate management level for the Marietta HMA is 78-104 burros. In 2021 and 2022, BLM conducted aerial census flights; as a result, BLM estimates the current burro population to be 450-500 burros.
BLM requests comments to be submitted via the ePlanning website at: https://go.usa.gov/xuxxA. Comments may also be submitted via mail to 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, NV 89701, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (775)-885-6147. Written comments must be postmarked or otherwise hand delivered by 4:30 p.m. on or before May 15, 2022.
Before including address, phone number, email-address, or any other personal identifying information in your comments, be advised that your entire comment, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While individuals may request that the BLM withhold personal identifying information from public view, the BLM cannot guarantee it will be able to do so. If you wish us to withhold your personal information you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. We will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, available for public disclosure in their entirety.
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