Tag Archives: bureau of land management

Wild Horse and Burro Adoptions Increase Thanks to Incentive Program

BLM Press Release

WASHINGTON— The Bureau of Land Management announced today that the Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Incentive Program launched in March 2019 contributed to a significant increase of animals placed into private care. In the first 12 months of the AIP, the agency adopted 6,026 animals, compared with 3,158 during the previous full fiscal year. That increase of 91% revives and accelerates an upward trend of adoptions that began in 2015.

The AIP, which began mid-way through Fiscal Year 2019, helped the agency to achieve a 15-year record for total placements that year of 7,104 animals. Total placements include animals adopted, sold or transferred to another public agency. Each animal successfully placed into private care is estimated to save taxpayers approximately $24,000 in lifetime off-range holding costs. That amounts to over $170 million in lifetime savings generated during Fiscal Year 2019 alone, in large measure due to the AIP.

“We’re excited that the public has responded so strongly to this innovative program. The successful use of incentives to increase adoption rates is a win for all involved – saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, reducing the overpopulation of wild horses and burros on the range, and helping these animals find homes with families who will care for and enjoy them for years to come,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond.

The AIP seeks to increase placements of wild horses or burros by paying individuals $1,000 for each untrained animal they adopt. Payments are made in two installments: $500 within 60 days of adoption, and $500 within 60 days of receiving title (approximately one year later). By contrast, it costs an average of $1,850 per year for the BLM to care for a wild horse or burro in an off-range corral facility.

“Placing animals into private care is a vital component of our mission to restore and maintain balance to America’s public lands where extensive wild horse and burro overpopulation threatens ecosystems, economies and even the health of the herds themselves,” said BLM’s Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Pendley. “The response we’ve seen to this incentive reveals how much the American people value wild horses and burros and understand the importance of BLM’s mission to properly manage them.”

Besides an increase in overall adoption numbers, the first year of the AIP also saw a sharp rise in the number of first-time and repeat adopters, as well as the number of individuals who adopted multiple animals. In all, there were 2,923 first-time adopters, 932 repeat adopters and 1,280 multiple-animal adoptions – all of which represent substantial increases over previous years.

Brad Smoot and his family, who live in Arco, Idaho, learned of the Adoption Incentive Program and ultimately adopted eight wild horses. They started their herd by adopting two weanlings and two 2-year-olds from the Boise Wild Horse Off-Range Corrals. The initial experience with BLM Wrangler Ruby Kyle was so positive they made a trip to Boise and adopted three more mares. The Smoots then adopted a pregnant mare during the wild horse adoption held in Challis the winter of 2020. Having grown up with Quarter horses and Tennessee Walkers, Brad Smoot knew he wanted his family to enjoy experiencing life with horses.

“Together my wife and I have eight children and we enjoy getting into the back country and trail riding,” said Brad. “These horses have been relatively easy to start. I really do prefer working with horses that do not have any developed or spoiled habits. My 15-year-old daughter has already started riding one of them.”

During the same time the agency ramped up other efforts to find good homes for more animals, including holding more events and offering more animals. Nationwide, there were a total of 223 adoption events held at BLM facilities, remote venues and online, at which 9,228 animals were offered. This also represents a substantial increase over previous years.

Under a 1971 law, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, BLM is responsible for preserving and protecting these animals as part of a thriving natural ecological system on public lands. The agency achieves this objective primarily by gathering and removing excess animals from the range and offering them for adoption or purchase at facilities and events around the country.

As of March 1, 2019, the wild horse and burro population on public lands was estimated at more than 88,000, which is more than triple the number of animals the land can sustainably support in conjunction with other legally mandated uses, making every successful adoption or sale vitally important in helping the agency regain proper balance.

Given the extensive overpopulation, wild horses and burros routinely face starvation and death from lack of water. The high number of excess wild horses and burros causes habitat damage that forces animals to leave public lands and travel onto private property or even highways in search of food and water.

“The current overpopulation of wild horses and burros represents an existential threat to the health of landscapes across the West. In many places, the range will take decades to recover – and in some cases, it’s unlikely that it ever will,” said Pendley. “For this reason, the Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program is critical to the health of native wildlife populations and the economic health of countless communities.”

When the number of animals removed from the range exceeds the number the agency can place through adoption or sale, the remaining animals are held in off-range corrals or contracted pastures at taxpayer expense. Currently there are approximately 50,000 wild horses and burros in off-range corrals and pastures. The cost of providing quality, humane care for these animals runs about $50 million annually.

To learn more about the wild horse or burro program, visit https://blm.gov/whb.

 

 

BLM Conducting Pile Burns in Mono County

BRIDGEPORT, Calif. – Wildland fire crews from the Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office are planning winter pile burning operations with interagency partners for south of Bridgeport, Mono County, when weather and air quality conditions permit.

 

Slash piles, composed of limbs, branches and trees will be burned on approximately 270-acres of BLM-managed public lands at several locations in the Mormon Meadows and Bridgeport Canyon areas. Prescribed burning helps to reduce hazardous fuels, moderate the potential negative effects of wildland fire and increase firefighter and public safety.

 

During burn operations, smoke may be visible from Bridgeport, Conway Summit, Conway Ranch Estates, June Mountain, Lee Vining, Mono City, U.S. Route 395 and Virginia Lakes Road. The BLM is requesting the public to avoid congregating on or near roadways, which can obstruct fire equipment and emergency vehicles.

 

The BLM is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive. These prescribed burns are part of a larger strategy to improve sagebrush habitat conditions throughout the Bodie Hills. Trees have been cut and piled in historically open sagebrush areas to increase ecosystem resiliency and restore habitat for several species, including sage grouse and migratory mule deer. All prescribed fire operations are conducted in close coordination with the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District.

 

For more information, please call Heather Stone at the Bishop Field Office, 760-872-5000.

BLM Bishop Field Office Issues Seasonal Fire Restrictions

BISHOP, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office has issued seasonal fire restrictions for BLM-managed public lands in the Eastern Sierra effective Monday, July 1, due to increased wildland fire danger in the region. The restrictions will remain in effect until November 1, or until wildland fire conditions on public lands in the region improve.

Fire officials estimate that nearly 90 percent of wildland fires affecting BLM-managed public lands in California during the last decade have been human caused. Individuals who spark wildfires, intentionally or unintentionally, may be held responsible for fire suppression and property damage costs. Officials encourage the public to be extremely careful when recreating outdoors, to carry a shovel and water at all times, and to check weather forecasts and fire danger conditions before leaving home.

The following restrictions will remain in place until the risk of wildland fire in the Eastern Sierra subsides:

  • No campfires, charcoal or wood barbeques, or similar open flame fires, except within a designated campsite with a fire ring or fire pit specifically provided for such use in the following developed campgrounds: Tuttle Creek Campground, Goodale Creek Campground, Horton Creek Campground, Crowley Lake Campground and Pleasant Valley Pit Campground. Portable stoves burning gas, jelled petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed outside of developed campgrounds when used in accordance with a valid California Campfire Permit, available free at all BLM, Forest Service and Cal Fire offices or at www.preventwildfireca.org/Permits.
  • No tools powered by internal combustion engines off established roads, trails or parking areas (such as chainsaws or lawn mowers).
  • No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or within the developed campgrounds listed above, or while stopped within an area at least five feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
  • No motorized vehicles off established roads, trails or parking areas.
  • Target shooters may not use incendiary, exploding, tracer, steel core or armor piercing ammunition. Shooting at steel or exploding targets that could emit sparks is not allowed. Target shooters must have a shovel or fire extinguisher on hand. Hunters may use steel shot and other non-lead ammunition as required by California State Law.
  • No fireworks, including “safe and sane” fireworks.
  • No welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame, except by special permit.
  •  No use of explosives, except by special permit.

BLM-managed public lands subject to these fire restrictions extend from the southern Owens Valley in Inyo County, north to Topaz Lake and the Nevada border in Mono County. These fire restrictions also apply to popular BLM-managed recreational areas in the region including the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area, Inyo Mountains Wilderness, Volcanic Tableland, Long Valley, Adobe Valley, Mono Basin, Bodie Hills and Slinkard Valley. BLM seasonal fire restrictions for the Eastern Sierra Region are being implemented in close coordination with Cal Fire (https://www.facebook.com/1663811310523258/posts/2419842918253423?sfns=mo).

The BLM is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive by working closely with cooperating agencies, neighboring communities, and public land visitors to prevent wildland fires. To learn how you can do your part to prevent wildland fires visit www.readyforwildfire.org. A listing of fire restrictions throughout BLM California is available at https://go.usa.gov/xmUEG. For specific questions, please contact the Bishop Field Office at 760-872-5000.

Ron Napoles wins BLM Excellence in Interpretation Award

Bishop Park Ranger Receives BLM Excellence in Interpretation Award

Bishop Calif. – Ron Napoles, Recreation Park Ranger for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Bishop Field Office, has received this year’s national award for contributions in the field of interpretation.

Ron was recognized for developing and designing a set of interpretive panels in collaboration with the fourth through seventh grade classes at Round Valley Elementary School in Bishop. The panels are being used on a nature trail at the Horton Creek Campground, managed by the Bishop Field Office.

In the fall and winter of 2014-2015, staff from the Bishop Field Office joined multiple partners to provide a series of classroom lessons to the fourth through seventh grade classes at the school. The classroom workshops taught students about local wildlife and plants, the Paiute people and the geology and ecology of the Eastern Sierra. Students also did their own research on the Sierra Nevada. As part of their lessons, they wrote text, drew and colored pictures, and created maps and images about what they learned.

“Ron took the text and illustrations made by the students and made a set of beautiful and creative interpretive signs for the nature trail,” said Jeff Starosta, Acting Supervisory Resource Management Specialist. “By engaging local school kids in creating the panel content, the Bishop Field Office, Ron in particular, helped to realize the primary goal of BLM’s Recreation Strategy: to connect with communities.”

Nominees for the award were evaluated on the basis of their success in enhancing the public’s understanding of the cultural and natural resources of our public lands, supporting BLM goals and objectives, helping the public to recognize their connection to public lands, creating programs that are accessible to diverse audiences, involving partners and developing strong working relationships with local communities.

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