In yet another letter to the Bureau of Land Management — this one to John Ruhs, Nevada state director of the BLM— Gov. Brian Sandoval again takes issue with the proposed restriction on grazing due to over population of wild horses on the range, especially in Elko County. (Letter to Ruhs from Gov with Attachments)
Sandoval also notes that the range conditions are much changed from the drought of a year ago and says rainfall has created forage growth that, if not properly grazed, could erupt in wildfires that destroy forage for horses, other wildlife and cattle and sheep.
“Wild horse herds are uncontrolled and increase at a rate of about 15 to 20 percent each year with no management plan besides the occasional, high cost round-ups which are not a permanent solution to the problem,” Sandoval writes. “It is unfair to ask permittees to sacrifice their livelihood in an attempt to mitigate the ecological impacts of wild horses while at the same time making no commitment to resolve the actual problems with the wild horse and burro program.”
He noted that the 2016 drought monitor reveals marked improve over a year ago all across much of Nevada, especially Elko County.
“Another matter that should be taken into consideration is that reducing or eliminating livestock grazing in this region will increase the risk of wildland fires,” the governor relates. “As a result of higher precipitation in late winter and early spring this year, the fine fuel sources, particularly cheatgrass and other grasses, have exploded leaving our public lands even more susceptible to ignition and uncontrollable wildfire. Normal livestock grazing this year will help reduce the extraordinary fuel loads and serve as an effective tool for reducing the risk of wildfire.”
Sandoval attached a letter sent to him by Gracian Uhalde, chairman of the N-4 State Grazing Board. His board has sent seven letters to the BLM complaining of the lack of wild horse management and failure to maintain appropriate management levels (AMLs) in herd management areas (HMAs).
Uhalde attached a photo of thirsty and starving horses at a spring in White Pine County in September of 2015: