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As local conservation districts from the northwest portion of Colorado, we would like to call attention to a serious natural resource problem here in our state and others in the West. The Bureau of Land Management is not in compliance with their management plan for wild horses. As a result, wildlife habitat, rangeland conditions, water quality, and the overall health of the horses are being jeopardized.
Wild horse advocate groups have filed once again to stop BLM’s gathers scheduled for this October. This is a two-fold problem. First, each time they file and are successful in stopping the gathers they cause more degradation of the range. Second, each time these groups are successful they file under the Equal Access to Justice Act and receive payment of their outrageously high legal fees. When they were successful in stopping the gather of this same herd in 2009, they were awarded $40,000 from the government in “attorney’s fees and costs.” Yes, your tax dollars.
Communities including conservation, sportsmen, agriculture, environmentalists, wildlife enthusiasts, and others are working together to inform people on the devastating effects of not managing wild horse herds properly. The numbers of horses here in Colorado are currently more than double what the BLM’s range management plan calls for and will double their population again within the next four years. The results of large numbers of horses will have devastating consequences to our western economies when it comes to the natural resources, endangered species, and the multiple uses in which our public lands were intended.
Wild horses play an important role in our heritage and we want to insure they are properly cared for and managed, but the current situation and the overabundance of horses will only lead to severe natural resource depletion and ultimately, unhealthy and unsustainable wild horse herds, which is a lose-lose situation.
White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts