RBC | For a recently-formed group, Piceance Mustangs is making great progress towards helping the wild horses in the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area. At the initial public meeting on Feb. 17, more than 30 people joined, and more members have been added since. Their goal is to be active on behalf of the mustangs, coordinating with the BLM to promote healthy horses and rangelands.
The group has had five project work days so far, with good participation. Members have worked on boundary fences or removed downed barbed wire to make the range safer for the mustangs and wildlife. They also have worked to improve water sources within the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area. On one project day, a water gap and stream was cleaned up, and on another, a natural spring was improved in the Rocky Ridge area. The group has also enjoyed getting together for a couple barbecue picnics and often offers tours of the range.
After project work days where the group removed old barbed wire from the ground, members repurposed the wire into wreaths and decorative accents. These have been available for purchase at events such as Range Call, the Rio Blanco County Fair and the Meeker Sheepdog Trials. There will be booths at upcoming events and holiday craft shows as well. All proceeds go toward improving the range for the horses.
The group received a grant to be used towards the range, and were able to reopen an old water well, installing a pump, solar panels and a trough for providing water. Similar projects are in development in different parts of the range.
Some members of the Piceance Mustangs group have been working towards documenting the wild horses in the herd, which will help other members as they hope to initiate a birth-control darting program in 2019. This type of program has been effective in other wild horse management areas across the Western states, helping to slow herd growth.
The organization has scheduled their next project work day for Saturday, Oct. 27, and interested parties are welcome to join in and learn more about the group. Call Tracy Scott at 970-241-0939 for more information, or email PiceanceMustangs@gmail.com. The group can also be found online at PiceanceMustangs.org or on Facebook at Piceance Mustangs.
Special to the Herald Times