Colorado Mustangs Are Under Attack

Photo | BLM
Comments Due by Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) White River, Colorado Field Office is "seeking public input on alternatives or issues that should be considered" when evaluating the proposed helicopter roundup and removal of 167 wild horses from the West Douglas Herd Area (HA), a 123,38-acre public lands area approximately 50 miles north of Grand Junction. If unable to capture all 167 horses from the West Douglas HA, the BLM will send its helicopters to the neighboring Piceance/East Douglas Herd Management Area (HMA) in order to meet its removal quota.  

The BLM has been trying to "zero out" (eliminate all wild horses from) the West Douglas HA for years, but legal action by The Cloud Foundation and other advocacy groups has, so far, blocked the BLM from eradicating this historic herd. The agency makes clear that energy development/oil drilling in the area and the desire to continue to allocate forage for livestock grazing are the reasons behind the agency's desire to eliminate horses from these areas.

Please take action below to weigh in for an alternative that eliminates livestock grazing and protects the wild horses of the West Douglas Herd Area.

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If you prefer, you can send your comments to the address below. All comments must be received no later than May 5, 2015

Melissa Kindall
BLM WRFO
220 E. Market Street
Meeker, CO 81641
Or you can submit them via email to mkindall@blm.gov .
General questions can be directed to Melissa Kindall at 970-878-3842.

Constituents outside the United States are not eligible to send an email using our web form above. International comments must be mailed or emailed to the addresses above.

Photo | BLM

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

West Douglas HA: 123,387 acres BLM land, AML: 0, Current Population: 365 (est), Authorized cattle: 620  (est annual equivalent)

Piceance East Douglas HMA: 131,018 acres BLM land, AML: 135-235, Current Population 377 (est), Authorized cattle: 577 (est annual equivalent)

BLM Information on West Douglas Herd Area Land Use Planning History

BLM Information on East Douglas Piceance Herd Area

Press release April 6, 2015

West Douglas Herd Area Preliminary EA

West Douglas Herd Area Unsigned FONSI

Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area Preliminary DNA

Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area Unsigned FONSI

LEGAL HISTORY


In 2009, in response to a lawsuit filed by The Cloud Foundation and other wild horse organizations, Federal District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that the BLM's plan to eliminate all wild horses from the West Douglas Herd Area was illegal: See the following information from the Animal Law Coalition:

 "[t]he principal problem in maintaining wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area is a major shift in wild horse grazing use patterns that has occurred since the early 1980′s….It is probable that intense energy exploration and development occurring in the northern part of the herd area has concentrated use in the south…. Accordingly, it is this shift in the West Douglas Herd’s grazing patterns, likely caused by human development, and not overpopulation, that formed the basis for BLM’s decision to remove the West Douglas Herd."....The Court found the BLM had not determined there was an overpopulation of wild horses in this herd and conceded the horses were not "excess" animals. The Court concluded that "decision to remove an entire herd of concededly non-excess wild free-roaming horses and burros is … impermissible". With that finding, Judge Rosemary Collyer put an end to the BLM’s overreaching claim that it can round up and send to slaughter or otherwise destroy any wild horses, whether or not they are deemed "excess". The judge put it bluntly, "Congress did not intend for BLM’s management authority to be so broad."

For more information on the legal fight to protect the West Douglas wild horses, see also The Cloud Foundation, West Douglas Wild Horses Dodge Another Bullet, September 20, 2012.