BLM to gather and remove excess wild horses from Sand Wash Basin and Piceance-East Douglas herd management areas

RBC| The Little Snake Field Office plans to gather and remove approximately 50 excess wild horses from Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands and private lands within and adjacent to the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area (HMA) in Moffat County in response to written requests from private landowners.

These wild horses are part of the West Douglas herd, one of two wild herds in Rio Blanco County.

According to BLM press release in October, the White River Field Office plans to remove approximately 75 excess wild horses impacting private property within the Piceance-East Douglas HMA following requests from a private landowner. That process is expected to begin next week.

Under the Wild Horse and Burro Act, the BLM is required to remove wild horses from private lands when requested in writing. Approximately 20 wild horses will be gathered and removed from private lands in Moffat County near the Sand Wash Basin HMA and Adobe Town HMA located to the north in Wyoming.

At the same time, the BLM plans to remove approximately 30 excess wild horses from BLM public lands along eight miles of the Sand Wash Basin HMA’s southern boundary, within two miles of Colorado Highway 318. The purpose of this gather is to reduce the risk of wild horse/vehicle collisions, for the safety of the wild horses and members of the public travelling on the highway.

“We are committed to managing healthy wild horses on healthy rangelands, while being a good neighbor,” said Little Snake Field Manager Bruce Sillitoe. “Prolonged drought conditions have increased wild horse movement in search of water and vegetation resources, impacting both public and private lands.”

All of the excess wild horses will be gathered using approved capture techniques, primarily bait trapping.

The current population of the Sand Wash Basin herd is estimated to be 828 head of wild horses, but the Appropriate Management Level is between 163 and 362 wild horses.

The current population of the Picance-East Douglas HMA is estimated at 838 wild horses within the management area and 438 wild horses outside the HMA, which is “approximately six times more than the rangelands are expected to support,” according to the October press release.

For more information, contact Maribeth Pecotte, 970-724-3027.