BLM, USFS select Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board members

/ In The News, News, Staff Blog

RTF’s San Luis Obispo Sanctuary at sunset photo by: Irene Vejar

The Bureau of Land Management(BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced selections for the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, September 29th, 2023. The Agencies selected two new members and re-appointed a third to the board, which advises both agencies on the management and protection of wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands.
Dr. Gwen Iacona of Palm Bay, Florida, will represent wildlife management organizations; Lincoln County Commissioner Varlin Higbee of Alamo, Nevada, will represent livestock management organizations; and Ms. Susan McAlpine of Kingman, Arizona is serving a second term representing humane advocacy groups.
Dr. Iacona is a biodiversity conservation scientist focused on data use to support resource management decisions and has a broad understanding of the ecological as well as the social and political drivers of wildlife management decisions in the Southwest. An assistant research professor with the Arizona State University Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, she holds a M.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and a Ph.D. in Ecology and has authored and co-authored numerous research papers and publications. She is also an associate editor for the scientific journal Conservation Science and Practice. Dr. Iacona currently owns
a formerly wild horse and offspring of BLM burros.
Commissioner Higbee has served on numerous committees and boards related to livestock management. As a fifth-generation career rancher and BLM permittee, Commissioner Higbee brings knowledge and experience managing livestock on private, state, and federal grazing lands. He has also raised and trained horses since childhood. Higbee is also active in the Free Roaming Equids and Ecosystem Sustainability Summit looking to address wild horse and burro management and population control.
During her first term, Ms. McAlpine exhibited equine management knowledge and skills in team building, communication, mediation, and problem-solving to help build a cohesive Advisory Board. McAlpine is experienced in raising, training, and advocating for horses, both personally and professionally. As a Horse Program Specialist for the University of Massachusetts, she developed extensive knowledge of equine behavior and humane care and treatment of horses. Ms. McAlpine received her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education at Framingham State College and her Master of Education in Instructional Design from the University of Massachusetts in Boston.
The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is comprised of nine members of diverse expertise and backgrounds who provide guidance and recommendations to the BLM and USFS on management and protection of wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands. Members serve three-year terms.