BLM seeks comment on plan to reduce Sand Wash Basin HMA (Colo.) herd

/ In The News, News
Wild horses on the San Wash Basin Herd Management Area. BLM photo.

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on a plan to reduce wild horse numbers in and around the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area in northwestern Colorado. Comments are due by May 2.

The agency seeks to reduce the number of horses to a BLM-set Appropriate Management Level of 163-362 on the 156,502-acre Herd Management Area, or as low as one horse for every 960 acres.

In March 2019, the wild horses population was 621, according to BLM. By the late 2021, that figure would reach 935, including foals, according to the agency’s estimates.

BLM is considering capturing and removing wild horses until reaching the low end of AML. It is also considering the use of safe, proven and humane fertility control to reduce the need for future removals, which RTF strongly supports.

In planning documents, the BLM cited drought affecting the range and water, wild horse health and sage-grouse habitat, as well as public safety concerns along State Highway 318 as reasons for reducing the wild horse population.

The HMA is overlapped by four livestock allotments, all used seasonally to graze sheep. The BLM has allocated 19,758 Animal Unit Months to grazing (one AUM equals forage for one cow-calf pair, one horse or five sheep) or the equivalent of 8,232 sheep annually.

To read the agency’s Environmental Assessment and submit a comment, click here.