BLM seeks public input on 10-year plan to remove wild horses from Nevada herd areas

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A contractor’s helicopter pursues wild horses at the Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area in Utah in February 2017. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.


The public has until Jan. 22 to submit comments on a Bureau of Land Management plan to capture and remove all “excess” wild horses from Seaman Range and White River Herd Areas, located southwest of Ely, Nevada, in Lincoln and Nye counties.

The proposal  would allow for an initial helicopter roundup with follow-up roundups for up to a decade from the date of the initial gather. The transported wild horses would be put up for adoption under the current proposal, though Congress is still considering whether to allow BLM to euthanize — shoot — healthy, unadopted wild horses and burros.

As of March 2017, BLM estimated the wild horse population on the two Herd Areas at 365 horses on 475,100 acres.

In the 1980s, the “Appropriate Management Level” for Seaman Range and White River were set at 159 and 90 wild horses, respectively. In 2008, however, an updated management plan called for what were then Herd Management Areas to be converted to Herd Areas and the population to be reduced to zero.

Herd Areas are areas where wild horses were found when the Herd Management Areas are areas within Herd Areas that BLM determines have adequate food, water, cover and space to sustain healthy herds The agency says there is inadequate forage, marginal to very little water, inadequate reproductive viability with no summer habitat or adequate cover on the two Herd Areas.

BLM permits 31,379 Animal Unit Months (AUMs) for cattle and sheep on the two Herd Areas. An AUM is the use of public lands by one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month. BLM notes that actual livestock use has varied from 11-70% of permitted use over the past 10 years.

To read BLM’s planning documents, click here.

Submit a public comment

Questions and written comments should be directed to:

Bureau of Land Management Ely District Office

Attention: Ruth Thompson, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist

702 N. Industrial Way, Ely, NV 89301

Comments can also be submitted electronically at  E-mail messages should include “Seaman-White River Herd Areas Wild Horse Gather” in the subject line.