Consequences Unknown: BLM "Restoration" Project EIS Is Inadequate

Comments must be received by November 29, 2013.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Battle Mountain District in Nevada manages what is known as "the heart of wild horse country." The area includes 28 Herd Management Areas (HMAs) spanning more than 3 million acres -- more than any other BLM district. The BLM is asking for public comments on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for what it calls the "3 Bars Ecosystem and Landscape Restoration Project." The Project covers 750,000 acres (more than 1,100 square miles), including wild horse habitats which are managed by the Battle Mountain District's Mount Lewis Field Office. While the Project proposes "treatments" (including temporary fencing, using bulldozers in streams, chopping, burning and destroying various vegetation, etc.) to "improve" the range, the proposed actions are ambiguous and lack clarity.

Please take a minute to tell the BLM that the Draft EIS fails to clearly define proposed actions and fails to adequately analyze the impacts of the proposed actions on wild horses.

Please personalize the sample letter below, then press "submit" to send an individual email with your comments to the BLM.

If you prefer, you can also submit your comments by November 29, 2013 by regular mail or email:

BLM Mount Lewis Field Office (Battle Mountain District)
Attn: Chad Lewis, 3 Bars Project
50 Bastian Road
Battle Mountain, NV 89820
Fax: (775) 635-4034 (Attn: Chad Lewis)

Additional Resources

The Battle Mountain District, Lewis Field Office notice on the public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the "3 Bars Ecosystem and Landscape Restoration Project."

The BLM "3 Bars Ecosystem and Landscape Restoration Project" webpage.

The HMAs affected by this proposal include Roberts Mountain, Whistler Mountain, Fish Creek, Rocky Hills and zeroed-out Herd Areas.

Following are the methods of the "Preferred Alternative:" chaining, shredding, mowing, tilling, roller chopping, tree shearing, intensive livestock grazing (they call it "targeted" grazing), burning and hand cutting. In addition, the BLM proposes to bulldoze and "stabilize" the very small streams. Many of these methods entail ground and habitat disturbance and are likely to increase cheatgrass and other weeds. The BLM plans to treat and remove both pinyon-juniper and sagebrush.

All of this is likely to displace horses - at a very minimum horses will be displaced during the treatment and for a prolonged period of fencing horses out of treatment areas - thus shifting and disrupting use of the HMAs. There may be long-term impacts, which have not been analyzed, due to BLM removing protective cover, or poor site recovery.

The map below (left) shows the BLM designated area for the 3 Bars Project. The map below (right) shows the wild horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and Herd Areas (HAs) which are impacted by the 3 Bars Project.