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BLM Issues Decision for Wild Horse and Burro Population Management

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

The Bureau of Land Management has finalized a plan to reduce the size and slow the growth of wild horse and burro populations on public lands in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area, along the California-Nevada border in northeast California.

BLM Northern California District Manager Alan Bittner has signed a decision record and finding of no significant impact for the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area Wild Horse and Burro Gather Plan.  An environmental assessment analyzing impacts of the population management actions was released for public review and comment last May. Comments were addressed and incorporated into the final plan, where appropriate.

This plan calls for several approaches, including using helicopter drive trapping, bait-and-water trapping and fertility control to reduce the herd to its appropriate management level over ten years.  No management actions or gathers have yet been planned.

The final plan, decision record and associated materials are available online at the BLM’s planning website: https://bit.ly/2YVsUnL. Copies in other formats are available by contacting Amanda Gearhart, the BLM Northern California District wild horse and burro program specialist, at 530-257-0456.

Appeals must be filed by Dec. 2. Information on filing an appeal is available on the above planning website.

“Our goal is to establish and maintain healthy wild horses on healthy lands in balance with other authorized range users,” Northern California District Manager Alan Bittner said. “The wild horse and burro population in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area has grown well beyond the population range established in our land use plan.”

The Twin Peaks HMA covers nearly 800,000 acres in Lassen County, California, and Washoe County, Nevada.  Based on aerial population surveys, the BLM believes there are about 2,350 wild horses, 520 burros and 40 mules in the HMA. The appropriate management level for wild horses is a minimum of 448 and a maximum of 758 animals. The AML for burros ranges from 72 to 116 animals.

Wild horses and burros are protected on BLM-managed lands by the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, a federal law. The law requires the BLM to determine population levels that allow wild herds to thrive in balance with other range users including wildlife and livestock.

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