Located 50 miles southwest of Winnemucca, Nevada, the Blue Wing Complex (the Complex) consists of approximately 2,283,300 acres. The area designated for the Proposed Action encompasses five Herd Management Areas (HMAs) that include Kamma Mountains, Seven Troughs Range, Lava Beds, Blue Wing Mountains, and Shawave as well as four Herd Areas (HAs) that include Antelope Range, Selenite Range, Trinity Range, and Truckee Range.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has set the Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) for the Complex at 333 to 553 wild horses and 55 to 90 wild burros. Based on a December 2014 aerial census, the USGS data analysis, and an estimate of the 2015 and 2016 foal crops (20% for wild horses and 11% for wild burros), the BLM has determined the wild horse population to be about 2,081 and the wild burro population to be about 768, for a total of approximately 2,850 wild horses and burros.
The BLM has authorized six grazing allotments in the Complex that include HMA and HA acres. The total permitted use for the grazing of livestock, both cattle and sheep, is 45,831 Animal Unit Months (AUMs). In 2016, the estimated use of AUM’s was 25,482, a number based on paid bills or submitted actual use by livestock operators.
The BLM’s Proposed Action for the Complex involves a range of management methods that will be used individually or in combination but described in little detail; these methods consist of the following:
• gather wild horses and burros via multiple gathers;
• remove and transport wild horses and burros;
• treat and release mares with fertility control (PZP/GonaCon);
• spay and/or geld wild horses and burros.
The BLM plans to implement this Proposed Action immediately upon approval and meet the low AMLs (333 wild horses and 55 wild burros) and maintain AML ranges within approximately 20 years.
In this Proposed Action, the BLM has NOT stated, for example, when and how many roundups would take place; how many wild horses and wild burros would be subjected to each method and when each method would be implemented; the number and time would depend on the BLM’s management priorities and current on-the-ground conditions.
Ultimately, this Proposed Action is designed to manage for a non-breeding component of 50 mares and 50 stallions and 9 jennies and 9 jacks. This equates to approximately 30% (approximately 15% females & 15% males) of the low AMLs.
Once the BLM achieves the low AMLs and completes subsequent monitoring, it would examine the non-breeding component percentage to determine if additional multiple removals and population growth control treatments are needed to maintain the AML and sustain reduced population growth rates.