Saturday, April 28, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I can't believe they are actually talking about this! I thought the door had been closed on this consideration and it is back and in full force ... referred for further study!
Some information on this from Humane Observer: Dr. Kane on his spay procedure:
6:05 PM My first look at Callie. Gosh, what an annoying voice!
Monday, April 23, 2012
After three years and the removal of over 34,000 wild horses, (not to mention the thousands of foals born in LTH) the BLM has announced that there are now 31,459 wild horses on the range per this February 29, 2012 document.
I was expecting some ridiculous number remaining, but not this. With 10,000 removed through last September, the total numbers of wild horses and burros decreased by around 1,000. And not even a whiff of an explanation as to why their MATH has been so bad for years.
Also note acreage transferred from BLM. Where did over 2 million acres go and why?
Also of note, as of April 20, 2012, Gorey was still using last year's numbers on the WH&B site, even though he MUST have known a new census number was available. Sloppy at best.
Updated as of April 20, 2012
Wild Horse and Burro Population
The Bureau of Land Management estimates that approximately 38,500 wild horses and burros (about 33,000 horses and 5,500 burros) are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states based on the latest data available, compiled as of February 28, 2011. Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years. As a result, the agency must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control herd sizes.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Funded with up to $40 million of stimulus funds, BLM is conducting Rapid Ecoregional Assessments in each of the six main regions (such as the Colorado Plateau and the Northern Great Plains) covering the vast sagebrush West. A key task was choosing the “change agents” (such as fire or invasive species) which would be studied. Yet when the scientific teams were assembled at an August 2010 workshop, BLM managers informed them that grazing would not be studied due to anxiety from “stakeholders,” fear of litigation and, most perplexing of all, lack of available data on grazing impacts.
Exclusion of grazing was met with protests from the scientists. Livestock grazing is permitted on two-thirds of all BLM lands, with 21,000 grazing allotments covering 157 million acres across the West. As one participating scientist said, as quoted in workshop minutes:
“We will be laughed out of the room if we don’t use grazing. If you have the other range of disturbances, you have to include grazing.”
In the face of this reaction, BLM initially deferred a decision but ultimately opted to –
- Remove livestock grazing from all Ecoregional assessments, citing insufficient data. As a result, the assessments do not consider massive grazing impacts even though trivial disturbance factors such as rock hounding are included; and
- Limit consideration of grazing-related information only when combined in an undifferentiated lump with other native and introduced ungulates (such as deer, elk, wild horses and feral donkeys).
“This is one of the screwiest things I have ever heard of. BLM is taking the peculiar position that it can no longer distinguish the landscape imprint of antelope from that of herds of cattle,” remarked PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting BLM has far more data on grazing than it does on other change agents, such as climate change or urban sprawl, that it chose to follow. “Grazing is one of the few ‘change agents’ within the agency’s mandate to manage, suggesting that BLM only wants analysis on what it cannot control.”
Earlier this year, the Interior Department, parent agency for BLM, adopted its first scientific integrity policies prohibiting political interference with, or manipulation of, scientific work. The PEER complaint charges that BLM officials improperly compromised the utility and validity of the Ecoregional assessments for reasons that lacked any technical merit and urges that responsible officials be disciplined.
“This is like the Weather Service saying it will no longer track storms because it lacks perfect information,” added Ruch, pointing out that an extensive formalized Land Health Assessment database, including range-wide assessments of livestock grazing across the sagebrush biome, has existed since at least 2008. “If grazing can be locked so blithely into a scientific broom closet, it speaks volumes about science-based decisionmaking in the Obama administration.”
Read the PEER scientific integrity complaint
View the Workshop Minutes
See summary factsheet
Examine Interior scientific integrity review process
Find out more about the Ecoregional Assessments
Sunday, April 15, 2012
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.