RBC I The White River and Douglas Creek conservation districts joined with the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition (Coalition) to launch a public information and education campaign to provide insights to the general public of the challenges excess wild horses and burros pose to Western rangelands.
The campaign aims to increase awareness of the need for better management actions to improve and maintain the health of Western public rangelands for the benefit of wild horses and burros, wildlife, livestock grazing and other multiple uses.
Brief informative videos air on multiple outlets, including 9News in Denver on the districts’ and coalition’s website; and numerous national organizations’ social media.
Currently, more than 64,000 wild horses and burros roam public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 10 Western states, with an additional 47,000 currently residing in government-funded holding facilities at a cost of more than $40 million annually to taxpayers. The BLM reports that the land available for wild horses in these 10 states is only able to support 27,000 horses.
Horses and native wildlife are suffering and even dying in various locations in the West because of the lack of sufficient food and water resources to sustain them.
With a 20 percent annual population increase, nearly 130,000 wild horses and burros will be on the range by 2020. The coalition believes such an increase will place even more horses and burros and native wildlife at risk as the overpopulation causes rangeland health to deteriorate beyond recovery.
“The White River and Douglas Creek conservation districts have been actively involved in the excess ‘wild’ horse problem for more than five years,” said Callie Hendrickson, executive director of the districts. “Constituents expressed concerns that excess horses have been degrading rangelands to the point they are impacting our rural communities that depend on big game hunting and ranching.
“The districts support ‘wild’ horses on the BLM land, within the herd management areas, as one of the many multiple uses of the public lands as long as their numbers are within Appropriate Management Levels,” she said.
Please visit whiterivercd.com for more information or you can email Hendrickson at callie.districts@ gmail.com