Comments for the Bureau of Land Management public scoping period to address wild horse and burro management are due Sept. 27. The wild horse and burro analysis is part of the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan, though it addresses wild horse herding areas close to Rawlins, such as the Great Divide Basin Herd Management Area.
Serena Baker, public affairs specialist for the BLM High Desert District, said two records of decision will be released in 2016 — one for Rock Springs and one for Rawlins.
In 2011, the Rock Springs Grazing Association filed a lawsuit against the BLM to get the BLM to remove all wild horses from private land within the “checkerboard” pattern of mixed land ownership. To settle the lawsuit, on April 3 this year the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming approved a consent decree, which outlines specific wild horse management analyses the BLM must perform.
The four herd areas affected by the analysis will be the Salt Wells Creek, Adobe Town Complex, Great Divide Basin and White Mountain, according to the consent decree. There are 610-800 horses in Adobe Town, 205-300 in White Mountain, 250-365 in Salt Wells Creek and 415-600 in Great Divide Basin, said Ben Smith, wild horse specialist, who attended an open house meeting about the analysis on Thursday.
The consent decree states that the BLM analyze three of the four herd areas and change their designations from herd management area to simply herd area, which means the BLM would not manage any wild horse herds on that land, Smith said.
The White Mountain herd would be managed as a non-reproducing herd, which means the BLM would spay or geld every horse in the herd, Smith said. Other horses that were also spayed or gelded would be rotated into the herd as the number of horses began to dwindle.
Though the BLM has agreed to remove wild horses from the checkerboard private land areas, the consent decree only dictates that the BLM perform an analysis on the herd management areas.
Comments may be emailed to RockSpringsRMP_WY@blm.gov (include “Wild Horse Scoping” in the subject line), faxed to (307) 352-0329, or mailed to the Bureau of Land Management, Rock Springs Field Office, Wild Horse Scoping, 280 Highway 191 North, Rock Springs, WY 82901.