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BLM seeks public comment on proposed wild horse gathers in Owyhee County

Photo of wild horses on the BLM’s Sands Basin Herd Management Area in Owyhee County.
Photo of wild horses on the BLM’s Sands Basin Herd Management Area in Owyhee County.

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) – To help healthy wild horse herds continue to thrive on healthy rangelands, the Bureau of Land Management Owyhee Field Office is seeking public comment on the Owyhee Field Office Herd Management Area Management Plan Environmental Assessment for the Black Mountain, Hardtrigger and Sands Basin Herd Management Areas.

The preliminary 10-year environmental assessment addresses potential environmental consequences associated with excess wild horses as well as fertility control applications to help slow future population growth. The environmental assessment is available for comment May 15 to June 13, 2023.  

“We are deeply committed to maintaining healthy wild horse herds on Idaho’s public rangelands in the Owyhee Field Office,” BLM Owyhee Field Manager (acting) Ammon Wilhelm said. “As wild horse populations can double in size every four years, the alternatives identified in the draft environmental assessment provide a wide range of options to maintain the appropriate number of wild horses on healthy public rangelands. These options also took into consideration the comments we received from scoping last year.”  

The proposed action is to gather and remove excess wild horses from within the Black Mountain, Hardtrigger and Sands Basin Herd Management Areas to maintain the appropriate management level of 129 to 254 wild horses for the three HMAs. Additionally, a range of fertility controls to maintain the population within appropriate management level over a period of up to 10 years would be applied. The environmental assessment analyzes the direct, indirect and cumulative effects from implementation of the project. 

The three HMAs are located within and along the Owyhee front southwest of Boise. The BLM conducts removal gathers to ensure the long-term health of the public rangelands and to prevent resource degradation within HMAs, as well as to maintain the health of the wild horses. The BLM is required to manage wild horse herds at the appropriate management levels that were established through the analysis of monitoring data and water and forage availability on a sustainable basis.  

Public input is valuable during any analysis, and the BLM welcomes comments, data or information related to potential issues, impacts and alternatives that should be addressed in the environmental assessment. Comments can be submitted via the Eplanning site.

Those who provide comments should be aware that the entire comment–including personal identifying information like their address, phone number or e-mail address–may be made publicly available at any time. While commenters may ask to have their personal identifying information withheld from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that they will be able to do so. 

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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