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MEEKER I The Bureau of Land Management has issued the final environmental assessment and decision record for its plan to remove a herd of about 100 wild horses south of Rangely.
BLM plans to begin removing the wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area beginning in October. The majority of the wild horses gathered will be available for adoption through BLM’s wild horse and burro program. The wild horses not adopted will be placed in long-term pastures.
The wild horses in the West Douglas herd are isolated from the larger Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area immediately to the east, which is an area specifically managed to maintain a healthy wild horse herd of 135-235 horses.
“The West Douglas Herd Area is simply not as suitable for wild horses as the area to the east,” said Field Manager Kent Walter. “Wild horses are an integral part of the multiple use management of the 1.5-million acre White River Field Office. We will continue to manage for wild horses in the better-suited, 190,000-acre Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area.”
BLM made the decision to remove the wild horses from West Douglas through various public planning efforts since 1975, including the current 1997 White River Resource Management Plan and a 2005 RMP amendment.
Copies of the environmental assessment are available at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/wrfo/wrfo_wild_horses.html, or by contacting the White River Field Office, 878-3800.
BLM conducts gathers to remove excess wild horses and burros from public lands to help keep the wild horses and rangeland healthy. In addition to the gather to remove wild horses from West Douglas, BLM is planning a gather to check the growth of the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area in October following the West Douglas gather. This type of gather is conducted about every four years. Gathers were last conducted in these areas in 2006.
BLM manages four Herd Management Areas in western Colorado for wild horse herds: The Piceance-East Douglas west of Meeker, the Little Bookcliffs Herd northeast of Grand Junction, the Sand Wash Herd west of Craig, and the Spring Creek Herd southwest of Montrose.