NACD Calls for Swift, Deliberate Action on the Over Population of Wild Horses and BurrosWed, 13 Apr 2016 12:32:03 CDT
The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) submitted comments today to the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board calling for a more robust, strategic, long-term management plan to deal with the overpopulation of wild horses and burros on public and private rangeland in the American West.
Populations of wild horses and burros have been allowed to grow at a rate that in many places exceeds six times their Appropriate Management Level (AML). This situation has not only lead to widespread degradation of the West’s public lands, but has also had devastating effects on the health of the animals themselves who often face starvation and dehydration.
Horse and burro numbers are far exceeding the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Resource Management Plans (RMPs) within the Horse Management Areas (HMA), and large numbers of horses and burros are occupying private and federal lands outside of the HMAs. Overpopulation on the HMAs combined with the intensive grazing habits of horses and burros are stressing our Nation’s rangelands beyond natural recovery.
NACD recommends and supports the use of common-sense, ecologically-sound rangeland management practices to ensure healthy wildlife and rangelands for future generations.
Specifically, the letter encourages the BLM to:
• Implement alternative methods to address wild horse and burro overpopulation and to reduce expenses to the taxpayer.
• Use sound scientific rangeland health practices to ensure protection and preservation of critical sage grouse habitat, other wildlife habitats, and multiple land use.
• Continue managing wild horse and burro populations to balance their impacts on rangeland resources with other public land uses while protecting the resource base.
• Oppose any action to expand HMA boundaries or establish new HMAs.
• Oppose any action to classify wild horses and burros as a threatened or endangered species, or classification as treasured herd status.
• Oppose any special management or protections of abandoned, feral, stray or otherwise unauthorized horses and burros.
"The rangeland of the West is under intense pressure from the overabundance of wild horses and burros. Without swift intervention and proper management, the future health and vitality of the Western rangeland is in jeopardy," said NACD President Lee McDaniel.
"We need to act now to protect the ecosystem that so many farmers and ranchers depend on and the critical habitat that supports native plant and animal species. NACD is available and willing to work with the BLM and to partner on addressing this critical issue facing the American West."
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