Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Some numbers for Owyhee

Re: scoping letter for upcoming Idaho Black Mountain and HardTrigger roundups.

This page is a work in progress. Deadline for submissions for the scoping letter was yesterday. Once again, the RMP is our downfall as it sets the AML's. Even though AML's are not the law, they are the guidelines and the BLM can always point to it and simply say they are following their own guidelines.

Also, the Livestock AUM's for each HMA is not easily found. I have requested that they be added to the upcoming E/A so that we will know the "fairness" of the allocations to wild horses. However, per my conversation with Idaho field office this is what I was told.

  • The total livestock AUM's for the district (of which the herd areas compromise only a small part) is 135,116.

  • There is no readily available data on how many of those livestock AUM's are currently being used.

  • The total AUM's for the wild horses in all three herd areas is 2,304. Black Mountain AUM's are 540. Hardtrigger AUM's are 1,176 and the third HMA which is not part of the roundup plan is allocated the remaining 588.

  • The total AUM's for other wildlife, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and Big Horn sheep is 2,673. That numbers is for the whole district. Everything is marginalized in favor of livestock. No surprise.
    (The hunting in the district is managed by Idaho Fish and Wildlife, not the BLM).

  • If the gather finds more than 190 horses, even 191 horses, they will reduce to low AML which means removing nearly 100 horses. They will administer PZP-22 to any mares they release.

  • They have no data on the current population rate of growth even though PZP was administered two years ago. I was told the herds rate of population growth, prior to PZP, was 25% per year up to 29% per year.

Doing the math, the AUM's for the wild horses is around 1.7% of the total AUM's for the livestock. However, the available number for the livestock is for the whole district, of which the HMA's are less than a tenth of the area so I can't determine how much livestock grazing is allocated for each of the HMA's which are to be rounded up. Even the staff person I spoke to yesterday told me it would take her quite a while to find that information.

However, for the purposes of the scoping letter and the eventual E/A, it will make little difference. The RMP is the windmill we are forever trying to stop from turning. Luckily, I have a fondness for Don Quixote.

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