Wild Horse Education has done a report demonstrating how the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) shirks responsibility to the law by ignoring basic on-range planning. BLM has run the program under pressures from politics and profit-driven users of the public domain since the inception of the agency.
After the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) was enacted, ensuring public lands remained in the public domain, the agency faced intense pressure to reduce wild horse and burro populations down to the number Congress found “fast-disappearing” from western rangelands when the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed.
Under the same political pressure BLM has reduced acreage available for wild horses and burros to less than half the acreage denoted for their use in the 1970s. The BLM has removed more acreage for wild horse and burro use than they now manage for their use.
The lack of foundational management planning outlined in the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) has led not only to boundary lines denoting acreage based on convenience, but also to stocking levels of wild horses and burros (that BLM calls Appropriate Management Levels) that reflect levels found prior to the passage of the ’71 law. Many herds have been entirely zeroed out without ever having any Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP), the foundational management plan.
Herd Management Area Plans are the only planning document specifically noted in the regulations. Regulations were not finalized until the late 80s. The HMAP was not defined in the handbook until 2010. The few HMAPs we have nationwide are sporadic, inconsistent, in actuality simply “gather” plans and pre-date the direction.
In 2020 the BLM provided Congress with a loose plan (based on an acceleration of the status quo with a bit of accelerated fertility control) in order to release additional funding allotted through the Consolidated Appropriations process. Each year since, Congress has continued to allot additional funding to the plan. Removals have reached historic levels. Stockpiling in holding facilities increases the obligation to the taxpayer for decades to come.
BLM continues to spend the vast majority of available funding for removals and stockpiling of wild horses and burros. BLM continues to spend less than 1% of the budget on management planning (beyond creating more removal plans). The entire program begins with on-range planning that the agency repeatedly skips. By failing to take this single critical step the program remains unsound and racing towards fiscal collapse.
BLM must not be allowed to continue to destroy herds and habitat by perpetuating a system built in an archaic, cowardly, shirking of a responsibility to the public and the public resource.
Call your Congressmen today. Go to Gov.track.us and pick up the phone.
Congress must craft a provision in the Department of Interior Appropriations bill for 2023:
Congress must deny funding for removals of herds where BLM has failed to craft foundational planning required by regulations. No roundup should occur where BLM has failed to craft an HMAP.
Even though the BLM plan notes that they have failed to create and update HMAPs, asks for funding, since the 2020 plan began BLM has not begun a single scoping period for an HMAP for a herd that has none.
The taxpayer should not be shouldered with the mounting expenses of the program while BLM fails to use funding to create responsible decision-making.
WHE personnel are doing outreach to Congressional staffers after the conference in DC last week. We are providing them with the report featured below (and other materials). You can download the report HERE to use in your outreach.
A roundup begins long before a chopper flies. Help us stop the mismanagement of wild horses and burros. They are fast disappearing from the landscape and so is the territory they need to survive. Wild horses and burros are being removed so industry can continue to exploit your land. That is a simple truth that has existed for decades; it is not rhetoric.WHE_2022Report_FInal0522
Help keep us in the fight.