Date: April 15, 2012
TO: Robert Pawelek, Acting Field Manager
BLM Ridgecrest Field Office
Fax: (760) 384-5767
RE: Piute Mountains Herd Area Wild Free-Roaming Burro Removal DOI-BLM-CA-D090-2012-0029-DNA
Dear Mr. Pawelek,
Reading the E/A, and the news reports of the incident from August of 2010, one can't help but be shocked by the numbers of burros that died from dehydration. If there were there known drought conditions in the area at the time, your office was extremely negligent. If there were other problems with the water source, your office was simply negligent.
While at first glance, your reason for removing them sounds like you are trying to protect them but anyone with an inquiring mind starts to wonder when, or even if, you ever will stop removing burros from their designated lands and bit by bit, zeroing out these California herds? And why wait two years before removal? If 13 burros survived in 2010 and there are 25 burros today, it sounds like the population is thriving. Aren't you a little late to this party? (Again) And while I'm grateful for the rancher who sounded the alarm and helped save them two years ago, the law does say that public lands can be closed to livestock grazing if necessary to provide habitat to wild burros or horses. And if cattle are up there, what are they drinking and where are their water sources?
You surely can't say that the BLM lacks the manpower. With so many herds gone or reduced, you probably have many Wild Horse and Burro specialist with nothing to do these days. Do they miss the herds they have helped to wipe out? Will Mr. Neiberg take a cut in pay once this herd is removed as part of his job duties will no longer be needed?
Please don't reply that improving conditions for the burros is not within the scope of the above referenced document. You have been charged by the law to protect and manage these free roaming populations and since they add diversity to the landscape, you should do whatever you can to make sure that the burros remain alive and in the Piute Mountains. Even if it means you have to work a little harder, travel a little farther to do so.
I am against the removal of this Piute burro herd. Burros have roamed there for a hundred and fifty years, and with a little bit of oversight, hard work and actual commitment to the spirit of the 1971 law, they can remain there for another hundred and fifty.