Do NOT freak out!

28 07 2018

under the rainbow

Some ofย  you may have received an email from Tres Rios Field Office Manager Connie Clementson regarding an EA now out for public comment about bait trapping in Spring Creek Basin. If you didn’t, you can follow this link to DOI-BLM-CO-S010-2015-0001-EA (Spring Creek Basin HMA Bait Trap Gathers).

At the above website, you will find links to the “public notice: opportunity to comment” letter as well as the EA. You’ll also find this summary of information:

The BLM is analyzing the environmental effects of removing wild horses by bait and/or water trapping in a site-specific analysis of potential effects that could result with the implementation of a proposed action or alternatives to the proposed action.

Background
In August 2014, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tres Rios Field Office (TRFO) received a Bait Trapping Proposal for future removal of excess wild horses from the Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area (HMA) from Kathryn Wilder, TJ Holmes, Colorado Chapter of the National Mustang Association, Four Corners Back Country Horseman and the Mesa Verde Back Country Horseman [collectively known as Disappointment Wild Bunch Partners].

The proposal is for the BLM to use bait and/or water trap methods for future removal activities of excess wild horses within the Spring Creek Basin HMA located in Disappointment Valley, Colorado. ***It should be noted that the BLM TRFO is not proposing to remove any excess wild horses from the HMA at this time.***

The purpose of the proposed action is to implement the use of bait and/or water trapping methods for removal of excess wild horses within the Spring Creek Basin HMA in order to maintain a thriving natural ecological balance with healthy sustainable rangelands by maintaining the appropriate management levels (AML).

The proposed action is needed because, at some future date, the BLM may determine that the number of wild horses on the range within the Spring Creek Basin HMA exceeds the established Appropriate Management Level (AML), and horse gathering is necessary in order to maintain the population at an appropriate level in balance with the ecosystem.

Decision to be Made
The BLM will decide whether or not to use bait and/or water trapping as the preferred gather method for removing excess wild horses from the Spring Creek Basin HMA. This analysis and subsequent decision will be utilized for future gathers over the next 10 years.

Project Location
The Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area is located between Norwood and Dove Creek, Colorado in the Disappointment Basin. The main access is from the west via San Miguel County Road 19Q (also known as Disappointment Road).

*****************************************

*** Do NOT overlook this very important sentence: “It should be noted that the BLM TRFO is not proposing to remove any excess wild horses from the HMA at this time.” (Emphasis, mine.)

This, dear readers and wonderful supporters of Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs, is a good thing.

As noted, in 2014, we submitted a proposal to BLM to consider bait trapping above all other methods of rounding up and removing mustangs from Spring Creek Basin. In other words, bait trapping over helicopters. That led to a scoping period, during which BLM received 8,000 letters (give or take) favoring bait trapping over helicopters (thank you!).

Here’s the thing: Spring Creek Basin MUST be able to support its mustangs.

To great effect, we are using native PZP (one-year fertility-control vaccine) to slow population growth (because, as you undoubtedly know, PZP works where PZP is used). Given the fact that it is 2018, our last roundup was in 2011, and still NO HORSES ARE SLATED FOR REMOVAL FROM SPRING CREEK BASIN, I’m going to underline our successful use of PZP.

However, that doesn’t mean that we may never need to remove some horses for the continued range health of Spring Creek Basin, which is the absolute foundation of the health of our mustangs (of course, our priority is to manage our wild horses in the wild, on their home range).

This EA is the culmination of years of work by our groups (see above, noted by BLM) to make bait trapping the preferred method of gathering (yes, I’ll use that term with regard to bait trapping), as opposed to helicopter driving.

This EA does NOT mean the removal of horses from Spring Creek Basin is imminent; it DOES mean BLM wants to use bait trapping here instead of helicopters – IN THE FUTURE, WHEN NEEDED (also mentioned in the summary above) – and BLM wants your public comments to cement the deal.

We hope you’ll support us as we support our mustangs AND our local BLM folks who work closely with us toward that goal: Connie Clementson (manager, Tres Rios Field Office), Mike Jensen (herd manager extraordinaire (his official title is rangeland management specialist)) and Garth Nelson (rangeland management specialist who works with Mike and with us). (Special shout of note to former range tech Justin Hunt, now working for the recreation folks at TRFO. We’re sure – and glad – that we haven’t seen the last of him.)

The deadline for comments is Aug. 27, 2018. Please do comment favorably about bait trapping in Spring Creek Basin (in the future, when needed): Alternative A – proposed action: “The proposed action would utilize bait/water trapping as the primary gather method to remove excess wild horses from the HMA. No wild horses would be removed as long as population was or remained within AML.”

Even if/when removing some horses – for the good of the herd and the range – becomes necessary, we want to ensure that it happens in the best possible way for our beloved mustangs.

Please let me know if you have any questions. (You can query in the comment section, or leave a comment asking me to email you.)

Huge thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

Advertisements




Horse Park Fire now on Inciweb

31 05 2018

Skywalker; Horse Park Fire

Another link for ya’ll: The Horse Park Fire is on Inciweb.

The fire is at 1,240 acres and 50 percent contained! Two hundred seventy-two people are working on this fire, and we thank each and every one of them! They estimate containment by June 9.

The smoke was much reduced Wednesday, even from the last couple of days.

And more good news: We got a few drops of rain. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think one of the fire reports said no rain fell over the fire, but it was cooler, and we had cloud cover. The weather is supposed to change (not for the better), so this hopefully gave firefighters a good day to make advances. The report note that the moisture in the dead logs in the fire area is about 3 percent; kiln-dried wood has about 15 percent moisture. Yikes.

It’s hard to overstate how terribly dry it is. Please, please, be careful.





Mustangs in poetry

25 05 2018

Something a little different for today’s post. ๐Ÿ™‚

052318Mancospoetrykids1

Recently, our NMA/CO board members worked with local artist and substitute teacher Ginny Getts to hold a poetry contest with Mancos elementary students. A few weeks ago, each student got to pick one of three photos (one of Sundance; one of Spirit; one of Sundance and Arrow (his mare)), which were designed by executive director Tif Rodriguez like a postcard: photo on the front with room on the back on which to write their poems. Wednesday, at the school’s end-of-the-year assembly, we gave honorable mentions in each of the classes that participated: first grade, two third-grade classes, two fourth-grade classes and two fifth-grade classes. And we gave blue ribbons for the best poem for each photo. Above are all the fantastic winners. ๐Ÿ™‚ Aren’t they cute?

These are the winning poems:

Fast as lightning’s bolt
Beautiful as a flower
on a brown dust trail.
~ fourth-grader Jordan B., Sundance

Beautiful mustangs
with your glorious manes.
The touch of your heartbeat rings,
your hooves thumping the ground
as you run faster and faster.
Precious and fragile
we admire you.
~ fourth-grader Aysia M., Spirit

One is day, one night
They go together dark and light
Like fire love burns bright.
~ fifth-grader Hannah S., Sundance & Arrow

Pretty nice, right? It was hard to pick from all the super entries!

Congrats to all these winning kids, and thank you to all the students who used their creativity to express their love of mustangs!

 





Water update

17 05 2018

Comanche at the new catchment trough.

Comanche and his band have found the “new” catchment trough (where we installed the apron and new trough two summers ago and the evaporation cover last fall).

The horses have two ponds and the two catchments as water sources, as well as numerous (if not high quality) seeps in various arroyos throughout the basin. Our BLM herd manager (Mike Jensen) is committed to closely watching the drought situation (we’re in the D4 category now – exceptional drought). Our awesome water hauler (Steve Heath) is able to pump water directly into the storage tanks. In the next week or so, we’ll be scouting locations that his water truck can reach to pump water into big troughs – supplied by BLM – elsewhere in the basin if conditions warrant.

Local ranchers have been hauling water continuously already this spring because it’s so dry.

And that wind – that howling, awful wind – is leaching away the moisture we don’t have, day after day.

It’s tough, folks, for wildlife and for livestock, and certainly not only in Disappointment Valley. That said, please know that the mustangs do not seem to be stressed. They have decent forage, as well as water sources, and they’re well dispersed throughout their range, not sticking to certain places as they would if they were stressed about sustenance/water.

Members of Disappointment Wild Bunch Partners are monitoring conditions closely, and the Colorado chapter of the National Mustang Association has offered to help pay for water deliveries to Spring Creek Basin.

We are so grateful (as always) to our Tres Rios BLM guys for being committed to the well-being of our mustangs!





Happy Mother’s Day!

13 05 2018

043018greymarefilly1

Huge love to all mothers, whether your babies have two legs or four, all days, especially this day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Especially, love to my mom, Nancy, who instilled in me many fine attributes … most especially, my love for horses!





Beautiful faces

12 05 2018

043018baystband2

These beauties are in the bay stallion’s band at Green Mountain. I got to sit on a rock for a while with them. We had a bit of sunshine before some welcome rain rolled through the area.





Windy Wyoming

11 05 2018

043018mamababy1

We’ve had our share of wind in Disappointment Valley. But it’s true what they say about that ol’ Wyoming wind. … It doesn’t seem to bother the wild ones much.