ELY—The Bureau of Land Management Ely District, Caliente Field Office will begin an emergency wild horse gather on or about September 13, 2018, within and outside the northern portion of the Eagle Herd Management Area located in Lincoln County, as there is not enough water to support the number of horses in the area. The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 300 excess wild horses using the helicopter gather method.

The gather will be conducted by Sun J Livestock, Inc. and is necessary to prevent wild horse mortalities due to a water shortage caused by the overpopulation of wild horses. The purpose of the gather is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, and to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFRHBA).

The current population estimate for the Eagle HMA is approximately 1,859 wild horses with the appropriate management level determined to be 100-210 wild horses. The appropriate management level is the level at which wild horse populations are consistent with the land’s capacity to support them and other mandated uses of those lands, including protecting ecological processes and habitat for wildlife and livestock. Approximately 1,559 wild horses will remain in the Eagle HMA once the gather is completed.

Horses identified for removal will be transported to the National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley, in Reno, Nevada, to be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption program. For information on how to adopt a wild horse, visit www.blm.gov/whb.

The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse gather operations while ensuring humane care and treatment of all animals gathered. The BLM and its contractors will use the best available science and handling practices for wild horses while meeting our overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with current BLM policy, standard operating procedures, and contract requirements.

Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations.  The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands.  The BLM anticipates that viewing opportunities will be limited due to logistics in regards to private land issues, terrain and weather. Once gather operations have begun, those wanting to view gather operations must call the Eagle HMA gather hotline nightly at (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on meeting locations and times.

The BLM is conducting the gather under the DOI-BLM-NV-L030-2018-0004-EA Eagle HMA Gather Plan Environmental Assessment decision signed on August 27, 2018. The decision record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy can be accessed at the national NEPA register at https://go.usa.gov/xQNUe.

Gather reports and additional information are posted on BLM’s website at https://go.usa.gov/xPrTR.

For more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District public affairs specialist, at (775) 289-1842 or chanefel@blm.gov.