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RBC I The Bureau of Land Management plans to gather excess wild horses in the White River Field Office in Northwest Colorado as early as September.
The BLM will gather up to 167 horses using water and bait trapping and helicopter gathering operations to sustain healthy public lands and wild horse populations.
The BLM has determined that current wild horse populations south of Rangely pose a serious and potentially permanent risk to the area’s ecological balance.
The horses in the West Douglas herd became isolated from the larger Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area to the east when construction of State Highway 139 right-of-way fences created a physical barrier to movement between the herds.
The BLM decided to remove the wild horses from West Douglas through various public planning efforts since 1975, including the 1997 White River Resource Management Plan and a 2005 RMP amendment.
The West Douglas Herd Area currently has 365 horses, which is not sustainable for the area.
The Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area currently has 377 wild horses, but its appropriate management level is between 135 and 235 wild horses.
The BLM evaluated several alternatives in conjunction with scientific data, range-specific conditions and public input through a formal environmental analysis.
The planning documents evaluating the planned gather operations are available at the White River Field Office at 220 E. Market St., Meeker, CO 81641 and online at: www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/wrfo/wrfo_wild_horses.html