Second Cup Chatter…

Ok, had my second cup and cleared some work from my desk. Now for some more “chatter.”

Carol Abel wrote in a piece in the Examiner about a possible “Mega Complex.”

* Need to add a note that this is a dialogue ONLY about horses in that area, not a “solution discussion” about the wild horses in every area. (again rumor gets rough.)

AWHPC photo Sheldon 2006 *Does that helicopter look familiar? You bet, same contractor at Calico.

She writes: Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) California, Oregon and Nevada District Offices along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife are in the conceptual stages of creating a two million acre management complex for wild horses in Southeast Oregon, Northeast California, Northwest Nevada and the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge also in Northeast Nevada.  The concept involves a management shift from individual Herd Management Areas ( HMA’s) and smaller HMA complexes to an aggregate of HMA’s called the Tri-State Complex.

She adds: BLM’s Winnemucca District Office manager, Gene Seidlitz says, ” We’re just in the initial discussion stages of developing that sort of strategy of treating all of those areas as one big complex based on what we’ve been finding recently which is a significant amount of movement between HMA’s and outside HMA’s into other areas.”

OK if you can get beyond the “duh factor” about “significant movement” and begin to dissect this concept it is either a good sign or a really bad one.

Let’s do “bad” first so I can end on a “good” note.

“Complex” in BLM speak has often meant combining HMA’s (Herd Management Area, that is a reduced # of acreage from the Herd Area designation in 1971) to reduce the AML (Appropriate Management Level, number of horses BLM claims the land can sustain).

Example of typical BLM math. If I have 5 jars and each jar contains 5 marbles and I put them in a container equal in mass to the five jars my new jar can hold 15 marbles! Aren’t you happy we had the foresight to do this for you!

We need to watch this part of the equation closely.

This will also need watching.

They may very well decide that “showcase” populations are all that is needed in the area. Just look at the “Salazoo” plan and the reiteration in articles mentioning eight showcase herds. Could someone please remind him how many HMA’s still have horses left? He hasn’t zeroed them down to eight… yet.

AWHPC photo Sheldon 2006

However on a positive note the horses at Sheldon NWR have historically been the “poster child” for disastrous gathers and horrific stories about horses once they leave the range. Even with all the BLM “issues,” for these horses (Sheldon) to be processed in an agreement with BLM it would be an improvement. Sheldon NWR has no infrastructure to process horses as they come off that range.

AWHPC Sheldon dead foal

I spoke with Gene Seidlitz about this “Mega Complex” yesterday. He was emphatic that this was a “discussion” and that nothing solid has been decided.

Gene and I have talked in the past about creating a dialogue for change. Now would be the time to actually have that discussion… not an Advisory Board meeting or public comment period… but to invite the advocates to the table and take a look at the tools in a different toolbox.

Gene seemed intrigued… we will see.


10 thoughts on “Second Cup Chatter…

  1. Laura, If this could be done step by step and done with the horses as primarily managed for along with wildlife and real advocates and science were part and party to this as real studies with the horses Real effects upon the range, etc… all carefully watched… it could become a good thing. But this is BLM and the process would need all our scrutiny and they would need to know we would be there to ask questions and Get Answers all the way. It is hard to imagine this or anything with BLM because of a lack of trust. We are not the ones to be worried about by them either. But we would have lots to be concerned about on their part, as you say… mar

    • Laura Leigh says:

      My brain just hears the same old excuses on a bigger scale.
      It’s time for them to provide a map, fix the mistakes they made handing out leases and create core zones for equid containing eco-systems.

      Anything is possible… but the track record is not very promising.

      • That’s the way I feel too. Still, maybe “someone” has realized that things MUST change. Like Mar says, this could be a great thing, but it will take me a LONG time to put any trust in the plans of the BLM.

  2. Rob Pliskin says:

    I am intrigued that Gene S. was intrigued. ONE way it might work for me is management by consensus, with a stakeholders model, including public advocates and independent ecologists, taking the best from other stakeholder run management plans created and now sustained by Land Trusts and some federal agency installations. Plus, an additional full time measurement and monitoring staff/collaboration so that accurate science can be input before any decisions. See ya, Rob Pliskin

  3. janet eaker says:

    I am hoping(ME the eternal pessimist!!!!) that this means something positive, that BLM is realizing the power of advocates is growing and they really need to end the way they’ve done things in the past and open up a possibility of real change, I am hoping!

  4. Remember in Salazoo’s original proposal he wanted advocate volunteers to help on the “preserves.” I’ve been wondering how to get across to him that he could get all the advocate volunteers – and knowledgeable, responsible ones at that – in the WEST.

    Maybe this would be a chance to show him how the eco-tourism and help from advocates would work in the WEST where it belongs!

    Just a thought, but it just became a little more reasonable..

    • Laura Leigh says:

      I believe Salazar was not looking for “volunteers.” I believe when you read the plan there is an expectation that the public will pay… not just through taxes… but will actually pay for the sanctuaries, privately.
      That “volunteer” is a term used in his “budget” to justify.
      Until the advocates get a call to present concepts for discussion I will stay on this like… like… well, a life depends on it.
      : )

  5. […] Second Cup Chatter… « Art and Horses (Laura Leigh's Blog) […]

  6. Anne says:


    my comment is: would this be like a Wild Mustang and Wild Burro Sanctary ? A type of Reservation for Mustangs and Burros: would this be a type of Conservation Preservation land; where the Mustangs would have “free rein; to gallop; canter; walk; Eat Wild Grasses; drink water from brooks; etc. ?

    Or would this be like another Holding Pen for Mustangs;
    on a much larger scale…

    cuz if the BLM plans to “set up a tri state holding pen ?

    you can count me out ! ! ! Anna in Conn. usa

    • Laura Leigh says:

      IF the BLM actually wants to begin a dialogue toward actually acting as the agency tasked by Congress in ’71 Legislation to protect America’s WILD horses as INTEGRAL to the landscape than… yes… this is a good thing.

      However in the past BLM has used this same “smoke” to “mirror” past behavior.

      It needs complete disclosure… public access to any documents pertaining to ANY dialogue. AND it would “shut my mouth, honey” if they actually invited advocates into the planning process.

      I have a panel of 4 that they really need to talk to.
      : )

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