Wyoming BLM Reduces Wild Horse AMLs by 60 Percent in Three HMAs

by Andy Schwab

Today the Bureau of Land Management Wyoming State Office issued a Record of Decision and approved Resource Management Plan Amendment for wild horse management within the Rock Springs and Rawlins Field Offices. The amended plan resolves ongoing wild horse management conflicts between private and public land sections within the checkerboard land pattern.  

The BLM prepared the amendment per the terms of a 2013 consent decree with the Rock Springs Grazing Association, which required BLM to analyze certain wild horse management options as part of a new planning process. The approved plan amendment removes all checkerboard land from three Herd Management Areas. As a result of this action, two of those Herd Management Areas will revert to Herd Area status and will be managed for zero wild horses. The third will continue to be managed as a Herd Management Area with the checkerboard lands removed.

Appropriate Management Levels (AML) under this plan amendment would be 464 to 836 wild horses, a roughly 60 percent decrease from previous AMLs of 1,481 to 2,065. Population management tools will be used to help manage wild horse populations and reduce the frequency of gathers.

The planning area for this Resource Management Plan Amendment includes the Herd Management Areas within the BLM Rock Springs and Rawlins Field Offices that contain checkerboard land and that are associated with the 2013 consent decree. Specifically, this includes the Adobe Town, Great Divide Basin, Salt Wells Creek, and White Mountain Herd Management Areas. The planning area encompasses approximately 2.8 million acres, of which the BLM manages just over 1.9 million. 

The BLM published the Final Environmental Impact Statement associated with this plan amendment on May 6, 2022, initiating a 30-day protest period. The BLM received 26 protest letters from various individuals and organizations. After careful review of the protest points, the BLM Director confirmed that BLM Wyoming had followed all applicable laws, regulations, and policies and considered all relevant sources of information and public input in preparing the Final Environmental Impact Statement. Further, the BLM Director determined no changes to the Proposed Resource Management Plan Amendment were necessary. 

The BLM prepared and published a Director’s Summary Protest Resolution Report on Dec. 15, 2022, which is available online at: https://www.blm.gov/wyoming/directors-protest-resolutions/protest-resolution-report/wild-horse-management-blm-rock.

The BLM also completed a 60-day Governor’s Consistency Review period with the publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement. For more detailed information surrounding this Record of Decision, please visit our ePlanning site at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2009946/510.


BLM – 2023

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