BLM Selects Mustang Monument Wild Horse Eco-Preserve Proposal

Photo Courtesy of Jo Danehy

Dear Friends and Supporters,
We are elated to share the announcement from the Bureau of Land management that they are prepared to move forward with the wild horse eco-sanctuary that I have proposed in Elko County, Nevada. I want to personally thank the thousands upon thousands of supporters of Saving America’s Mustangs that have weighed in with their support over the past few years and for sticking with us through throughout this journey. We could not have done it without each of you.

I also want to thank the BLM and the multitude of their great staff that have worked diligently on this project over the past few years. Their support and the many hours they put into that effort is sincerely appreciated. While we may not have always agreed on every fine point during our early work, I think we always knew we were breaking new ground and moving in the direction of new horizons where the care and management of the Nation’s wild horses are concerned. Nothing of this magnitude is ever accomplished without a difference of opinion and our ability to persevere and work together is essential to the success of this project. And it is important to point out that there is so much hard work left to do and maintaining a good working relationship will ultimately determine how successful we are in moving forward and setting the stage for future successes.

SAM stands ready to take on these challenges and work diligently with the BLM to finalize our agreement so that we can actually take the first group of 900 horses from the pens they stand in to once again enjoy the freedom of the open spaces of Nevada. We are working diligently at the Spruce and Warm Creek ranches and to prepare them for this exciting adventure and sincerely hope that our efforts there will produce new economic opportunities for Elko County and a place we can all be proud of.

We are pleased to continue to update you on further developments as we all make this journey together. We look forward to the day when you can come to Mustang Monument and behold the wonders of that beautiful piece of heaven in northern Nevada, and the magnificent wild horses that will spend their lives there.

Your Friend,
Madeleine Pickens & all the mustangs (that are finally coming home!)

BLM Selects Proposed Wild Horse Ecosanctuary on Private and Public Land in Nevada for Environmental Analysis

The Bureau of Land Management announced today that it has selected for environmental analysis a public-private land wild horse ecosanctuary proposal submitted by Saving America’s Mustangs (SAM), a non-profit organization formed by Madeleine Pickens. The BLM will conduct an environmental analysis of the proposal under the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 to assess the environmental, economic, social, and other effects of the proposed ecosanctuary. The BLM expects its NEPA analysis – which will include extensive public input – to be completed in approximately two years, after which the agency will make a decision about whether to enter into a formal partnership with SAM.

SAM’s proposed non-reproductive, 900-head ecosanctuary would help the BLM care for the horses while ensuring healthy rangeland conditions. Under the proposal, SAM would improve and maintain fencing and water wells and oversee management of the ecosanctuary horses, which would remain under Federal ownership. SAM would also provide Western history- and wild horse-related education and promote ecotourism. The BLM-managed public lands that would be part of the proposed ecosanctuary – 530,000 acres known as the Spruce grazing allotment – would continue to be publicly accessible for a variety of outdoor activities, such as big game hunting. The proposed ecosanctuary also includes SAM’s private land, approximately 14,000 acres located in northeastern Nevada (south of Wells), that serves as “base property” for the Spruce grazing allotment, which overlays portions of three wild horse Herd Management Areas. (Base property is private land to which preference for obtaining a BLM grazing permit is attached; the base property is required for a permit, which authorizes grazing on public land.)

SAM holds the allotment’s livestock grazing privileges, which it would relinquish to the BLM for intended use by wild horses. SAM was the only party that submitted a potentially viable proposal to the BLM in response to the agency’s Request for Applications posted on on March 25, 2011. Other proposals were not selected for environmental review because they did not meet the BLM’s minimum requirements, including ownership or control of the necessary private land and a proven ability to provide humane care for at least 200 wild horses. If a partnership agreement with SAM were to be finalized, the BLM would sponsor the ecosanctuary with funding sufficient to cover the cost of managing the horses – an expense that is anticipated to be less than the BLM’s existing cost for holding horses in long-term pastures in the Midwest. The potential partnership agreement for the ecosanctuary envisions a fundraising role by SAM to cover educational and tourist-related costs.

“The selection of SAM’s proposal for environmental analysis furthers our overall effort to improve management and control costs of the Wild Horse and Burro Program,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey, who noted that the BLM is preparing to publish a new wild horse and burro management strategy in the coming weeks. The strategy, among other things, calls for the establishment of ecosanctuary partnerships.

The decision to begin NEPA analysis of SAM’s proposal follows the agency’s February 24 announcement of its selection of a Wyoming-based, private land-only sanctuary proposal for environmental review. The BLM plans to announce another Request for Applications for more private land-only ecosanctuaries.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Tom Gorey
Thursday, April 19, 2012

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