Background (scroll down for updates)
The Blawn Wash and Bible Springs roundup of wild horses has begun in Utah. The BLM targets 450 for capture in the Herd Management Areas (HMA) located about 45 miles West of Cedar City in Iron and Beaver Counties.
The Environmental Assessment (EA) for this operation first went out for public comment in May of this year. It was finalized on July 7, a mere 30 days prior to the planning document being executed.
In recent years this rush to completion is gutting a fundamental and critical part of NEPA into nothing but lip service. After the agency finalizes a planning document you have 30 days to craft and file an Appeal (a legal brief) and ask the land use court to halt the operation so that your appeal can be heard. Then to fully brief a case it requires, at minimum another 45 days. Your right to fully engage in NEPA requires the agency wait at least 75 days after finalizing an EA before they ram it through and you are left only with the (much) more expensive avenue of federal court to address your issues. (Note:We have never seen BLM move a grazing decision, closure, etc. forward without allowing time for a full appeal to be heard, not just filed.)
BLM Utah did exactly this “rush through the Appeal period” with the EA on the Confusion HMA (the spay plan) where issues in planning are still unresolved.
Concluded 8/20 early (target was 450):
Captured: 305 Wild Horses (97 Stallions, 143 Mares, and 65 Foals)
Shipped: 277 Wild Horses (89 Stallions, 123 Mares, and 65 Foals)
Deaths: 1 (17-year-old stud was put down BLM said due to single-eye blindness).
Daily Report notes will appear with the newest at the top. Scroll down for earlier reports.
08_20_22: Shipping completed, 27 Horses (7 Studs, 20 Mares, and 0 Foals) to Axtell.
08_19_22: 19 Horses (10 Studs, 6 Mares, and 3 Foals)
08_18_22: 1 stud captured
08_17_22: 17 Horses (3 Studs, 10 Mares, and 4 Foals)
44 Horses (12 Studs, 22 Mares, and 10 Foals) wild horses captured.
6 Horses (1 Studs, 4 Mares, and 1 Foals). Rain expected in the area in the afternoons this week.
34 Horses (11 Studs, 15 Mares, and 8 Foals) wild horses were captured.
During the first run a wild horse evaded capture. Observers were informed that the next group contained a mare that was giving birth, or had just given birth, and the band was not run. (We have seen mares with afterbirth or miscarrying run in other districts.) There were 7 additional runs that our observer reported were done, in what appeared to be, band-by-band. She reported that many of the foals appear very young. Foaling season obviously is still going on for this herd and we wish BLM would stop skipping the HMAP-EA and start actually creating a data-based management plan that includes specifics like a data-based foaling season.
53 Horses (19 Studs, 23 Mares, and 11 Foals) wild horses were captured at the new trap between Tilly Creek and Bible Springs.
This was the largest day of capture during this operation, but still not a “rush job.” Between capture and loading wild horses are being given an opportunity to settle down: between the first group and loading there was an hour lapse. Throughout the day there was a minimum of a 20 minute settle time. Many operations today are loading almost as fast as they run them in. This is a new contractor and perhaps the policies are simply accepted and taken more seriously, and no resented as it appears other contractors and BLM offices do? Time will tell.
We have an appeal against the ten-year gather plan at Bible Springs. These ten-year removal plans are not management plans and wild horses are not being given a fair deal on the ranges they inhabit.
Photos: livestock in operation zone, wild horses running through the recovering burn area, wild horses moving through the valley during helicopter drive.
10 Horses (4 Studs, 4 Mares, and 2 Foals).
They are also watching a mare with a foal who was seen on the range – appeared to have a lameness issue with her hind leg. (Update: this morning our observer reported that the mare is no longer on “watch” and appears to be doing “ok.”)
The operation continued to run small groups (band-by-band) and 3 got away. The babies coming in appear to include some very tiny babies. At least one (unidentified) member of the BLM CAWP team is onsite.
Mares that will be treated with GonaCon (2 doses) prior to release were shipped to Axtell). We will update with more info on the release as it becomes available.
37 Horses (8 Studs, 20 Mares, and 9 Foals) we captured and this operation logged the first death: 17-year-old stud was put down BLM said due to single-eye blindness.
This little palomino family was captured. Our observer commented in her log how beautiful they were and how sad it is that they could not stay together free on the range.
NOTE TO BLM: We would like to point something out to BLM COR at other roundups: When we tell you that the overhead rails that lead onto the trailers need to be padded (and you deny they even need padding) this is what we are talking about.
We know that the district that did the Blue Wing roundup in NV (where the capture of 805 burros was out of clear view) has repeatedly allowed no padding and has told us it is not required. We can’t even tell you if they used it or not at Blue Wing as no access to clearly view trap and zero access to holding was permitted.
NOTE TO BLM: When we point out that ratty duct tape is not padding the overhead bars at holding at other operations (and are basically told we are annoying and ignored) this is what padding on overhead bars looks like for the alley at temporary holding (with special attention to the places they are most likely to come in contact with a stressed wild horse).
It is very frustrating for our team members that are onsite to assess capture and handling (our entire purpose for attending) when BLM thwarts observation and ignores input year-after-year in process-after-process. BLM claims that stakeholder engagement is welcome and they have been approving grants and coming up with new grants, year-after-year. However, this engagement has turned into an exercise in BLM choosing only the “preferred partners” on subjects they want to address (like population growth suppression) and ignoring all others that want to actually address flaws in various stages of the program. We will expand on this topic in future articles.
Our observers are back onsite today at this operation and others and we will update you soon.
There were multiple small runs at the new trap and several escape attempts (a group successfully evaded capture). 51 Horses (16 Studs, 26 Mares, and 9 Foals) wild horses were captured including a couple of (apparently) rival band stallions. At holding the only time you can get a really clear picture is when horses rise above the panels. So rival band stallions are often the clearest pictures at temporary holding. Observers were informed 9 of the dry mares (no foal) and 3 stallions that have been captured, will be part of the release.
Our observer said that the operation appears to be operating in a “band-by-band” capture. She is back onsite now.
Wild horses are shipping off the range to Axtell, off-limits to the public.
Note from observer: Today was a good day for yesterday’s 3 gotaways – 2 adults and a foal (family, maybe?) – because they now have retained their freedom until the next roundup.. After refueling 2 times the helicopter found no horses and trap will be moved to Four Mile tomorrow.
25 (9 Studs, 9 Mares, and 7 Foals) wild horses were captured. Many of the foals were very, very, young. During the 3rd run two wild horses veered off; BLM roped one of the adults (thinking it might be the mother of the young foal) and let the other go.
The last run contained 3 adults and one foal that ran into the trees. They were let go for the day.
Observers were placed with viewing of the wings and catch pen opening that feel below the rise and catch pens not visible. Viewing was about 250 yards to trap. BLM will return to the same trap tomorrow.
Observers were permitted a walk around at temporary holding (privater property). It was a very long drive to get to the temporary facility.
8 Horses (3 Studs, 4 Mares, and 1 Foal) were captured.
Note: the BLM appears to be having issues loading correct data onto their webpage. The numbers on the counts and species (wild horses, burros) are not matching what is happening in field. We have alerted them of the problem.
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Categories: Wild Horse Education
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