Let’s correct a misconception right now! The Bureau of Land Management (i.e. BLM) and the Department of the Interior (i.e. DOI) leads the American taxpaying public to believe, quite costly to taxpayers in the billions of dollars yearly, that Wild Horse Herd Roundups and getting them off of Public Lands is a necessity. This is not true!
The Truth: After a thorough and comprehensive study of the vegetation research, range management criteria, the perusal of false Environmental Impact Statements’ (i.e. EIS, and plenty to review to show this as fact even on the Internet, with many blatantly copied from previous and bogus EIS) and “Laws” complete with thorough Federal Court precedence, this author can say beyond a doubt — Roundups Are Not Required – Technically, Scientifically, or Legally.
As a matter of fact when we peruse the legalities, as America is based upon an honest Legal System for government agencies to abide, we find discrepancy and criminal behavior abundant. This is referenced quite well, factually. . .
These Laws are put into place in order to give administrative and management paradigms for government agencies to follow, as an appropriate process, for the safety of America’s wildlife and Public Lands — as well as to protect the tax paying public from taxpayer money abuse by these same government agencies.
These Laws, both procedural and administrative, remain ignored by our present politician’s and government agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Interior. Essentially, this neglect and ignoring Law allows corporations free-reign on Our (Americans’) Public Lands, to include foreign corporations as well.
The BLM and DOI consistently and constantly ignore the information given below. This criminal behavior quite costly, with a cost to the American Taxpayer (GAO-05-869) in excess of $450 million dollars per year in administrative costs alone . . . in managing our Public Lands and completing wild horse herd roundups irresponsibly and unnecessary . . . There remains, over the years, No Support for the necessity to do so, other than rhetoric, or what many call “bullshit” —
Violation of DOI Policy – Integrity of Scientific and Scholarly Activities
DOI Integrity of Scientific and Scholarly Activities Policy § 3.4 Policy “The Department… will not tolerate loss of integrity in the performance of scientific and scholarly activities or in the application of science and scholarship in decision making…”
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff and Department of the Interior (DOI) staff has set aside recovery criteria and designation of suitable habitat based upon the best available science in favor of what is termed – Welfare Ranchers who acquired preferential grazing permits on Public Lands, among other situations . . .
DOI Integrity of Scientific and Scholarly Activities Policy § 3.4.C “ Document the scientific and scholarly findings considered in decision making and ensure public access to that information and supporting data through established Departmental and Bureau procedures…”
In this instance, Environmental Assessment documents were leaked to politicians and selected lobby groups and other friends of BLM and DOI staff and other groups. By contrast, the deliberations between BLM, DOI, WH&B Consultants, Welfare Ranchers, other groups and state agencies in the SDM process were kept behind closed door, with no public access to the scientific data, conclusions or the standard by which decisions were being made.
And the Violations of DOI Policy List Goes On and On —
Legal Aspects of the EIS and Mandatory Procedure
We also use here, as reference, definable aspects of legal procedure to show BLM and DOI in violation of Procedure Law and Administrative Laws in total, in the matter of the Wild Horse Herd Roundups. It’s easily stated that both these government agencies outright LIE on their Environmental Impact Statements, or the necessity of such, in order to conduct the Wild Horse Herd Roundups on America’s Public Lands.
The Endangered Species Act is a comprehensive scheme with the “broad purpose” of protecting endangered and threatened species. Babbit v. Sweet Home Chapter of Comtys. For a Great Or., 515 U.S. 687, 698 (1995); see Tenn. Valley Auth. v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 180 (1978). Two interlocking provisions of the Act are of particular significance here: section 9, which prohibits the “take”3 of any member of an endangered or threatened species, 16 U.S.C. § 1538(a)(1)(B), and section 7, which imposes upon federal agencies an “affirmative duty to prevent violations of section 9,” Ariz. Cattle Growers’
Ass’n v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife, 273 F.3d 1229, 1238 (9th Cir. 2001) (citing 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2)).
Under Section 7, a federal agency must “insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by such agency . . . is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any
endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat of such species.” 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2).4 To facilitate compliance with this substantive requirement, section 7 and its implementing regulations also impose specific procedural duties upon federal agencies: Before beginning any “major construction activities,” agencies must prepare a “biological assessment” to determine whether listed species or critical habitat “are likely to be adversely affected” by the proposed action. 50 C.F.R. § 402.12 (2012). If so, the action agency must formally consult with the appropriate wildlife agency, in this case the FWS,5 before undertaking the action. 50 C.F.R. § 402.14; see Karuk Tribe of Cal. v. U.S. Forest Serv., 681
F.3d 1006, 1020 (9th Cir. 2012) (en banc); Sierra Club v. Babbitt, 65 F.3d 1502, 1505 (9th Cir. 1995). During the formal consultation process, the “[f]ormulate its biological opinion as to whether the action, taken together with cumulative effects, is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.” 50 C.F.R. § 402.14(g)(4).
If the FWS concludes that jeopardy or adverse modification is likely, then any take resulting from the proposed action is subject to section 9 liability (unless that take is authorized by other provisions of the Act not relevant here). See Sierra Club v. Babbitt, 65 F.3d at 1505; Defenders of Wildlife v. EPA, 420 F.3d 946, 966 (9th Cir. 2005), rev’d on other grounds by Nat’l Ass’n of Home Builders v. Defenders of Wildlife, 551 U.S. 644 (2007).
Although a federal agency or project applicant is “technically free to disregard the Biological Opinion and proceed with its proposed action,. . . it does so at its own peril (and that of its employees), for ‘any person’ who knowingly ‘takes’ [a member of] an endangered or threatened species is subject to substantial civil and criminal penalties, including imprisonment.” Bennett v. Spear, 520 U.S. 154, 170 (1997); see also San Luis & Delta- Mendota Water Auth. v. Salazar, 638 F.3d 1163, 1170 (9th Cir. 2011) (“[T]he determinative or coercive effect of a Biological Opinion stems directly from the Service’s power to enforce the no-take provision in ESA § 9 . . . .”).
(1) specify the impact [i.e., the amount or extent] of the incidental taking on the species;
(2) specify the “reasonable and prudent measures” that the FWS considers necessary or appropriate to minimize such impact; [and];
(3) set forth “terms and conditions” with which the action agency must comply to implement the reasonable and prudent measures . . . . Or. Natural Res. Council v. Allen, 476 F.3d 1031, 1034 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting 16 U.S.C. § 1536(b)(4); 50 C.F.R. § 402.14(i)).
“Significantly, the Incidental Take Statement functions as a safe harbor provision immunizing persons from Section 9 liability and penalties for takings committed during activities that are otherwise lawful and in compliance with its terms and conditions.” Ariz. Cattle Growers’ Ass’n, 273 F.3d at 1239 (citing 16 U.S.C. § 1536(o)).
ESA regulations further require federal agencies and project applicants to “monitor the impacts of incidental take” by “report[ing] the progress of the action and its impact on the species” to the FWS. 50 C.F.R. § 402.14(i)(3). If the amount or extent of incidental taking is exceeded, the action agency “must immediately reinitiate consultation with the FWS.” Allen, 476 F.3d at 1034-35 (citing 50 C.F.R. §§ 402.14(i)(4), 402.16(a)). The action agency must also reinitiate consultation if the proposed action “is subsequently modified in a manner that causes an effect to the listed species or critical habitat that was not considered in the biological opinion.” 50 C.F.R. § 402.16(c); see also Defenders of Wildlife v. Flowers, 414 F.3d 1066, 1070 (9th Cir. 2005). When reinitiating of consultation is required, the original biological opinion loses its validity, as does its accompanying incidental take statement, which then no longer shields the action agency from penalties for takings. See Allen, 476 F.3d at 1037; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv. & Nat. Marine Fisheries Serv., Endangered Species Consultation Handbook: Procedures for Conducting Consultation and Conference Activities under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act 4-23 (1998) [hereinafter ESA Handbook].
Once again, as always when dealing with the BLM or DOI in regard to matters concerning our natural Environment and America’s wildlife on Public Lands, we find these government agencies in contempt, both ethically and legally. This is a nation government by Law, and these agencies ignore this law in total!
Public Lands in America
America’s taxpayers’ Want Wild Horses on Our Public Lands. . . American taxpayer’s DO NOT WANT our Public Lands destroyed for short-term profits!
There are no endorsed or legitimate technical reports, authentic range management reports of what is referred to as good-science, or legal aspects that support the roundup of wild horse herds taken off of Public Lands. It is simply a convoluted estimating and contrived situation (i.e. which gives consent to something wrong based on falsehoods and misinformation) by BLM management, driven by the Cattleman’s Lobby and the Sportsman Lobby, among other lobby groups; Unfortunately, this leads to the obvious – our Public Lands environments’, wildlife, and biosphere’s are being ruined daily by decision’s made by falsehoods and lies by the BLM and DOI.
There exist several reasons to stop the rounding up of wild horses off Public Lands! But first and foremost, and throughout “all” the information in accord with the certification of wild horse herds (or HMA), one must acknowledge the very primary reason for the HMA’s to exist — American taxpayers support this distinct and overall priority to keep the Wild Horse Herds as they are, and government should leave them alone in total!
BTW The origination of the HMA’s, to protect the Wild Horse Herds on Public Lands, was passed unanimously in the Senate and Congress, and with approval of the overall American taxpaying public. Nothing has changed; well, nothing except politician’s who currently support corporations on our Public Lands and unethical government agencies who manage our Public Lands via criminality and special favors conducted.
There exists no priority what so ever for our Public Lands to be taken over by corporations, welfare ranchers, or foreign corporations, ongoing currently and ALL SUBSIDIUZED by America’s taxpayer money! (i.e. Did any of you vote for this – this author certainly did not and would not!)
There exists a large gap between truthfulness and crime in these government agencies, mostly filled with criminal behavior. They outright lie to the taxpaying public (against policy and law), they misinform and disburse false information to the taxpaying public (against policy and law), they violate Federal Law and Federal Court rulings directly involving their administration and management criteria, they continue daily having numerous violations of Law, they ignore their own Policy criteria, and worse yet — they remain unchecked by the legal community designed to protect taxpayers against such narrow-in-scope, illegal, and frivolous behavior.
Taxpayers receive nothing from these particular government agencies, other than costly roundups that the American Public does not want! This indicates not only severe problems within these particular agencies, but problems within a non-functioning legal system that continues to allow such behavior.
American’s are fed-up with this type of behavior from America’s government agencies and their irresponsible conduct. The push for new legislators has started, and the next election will show a heavy turnover in politicians . . . Voters will elect those that will rid our government agencies of illegal and dishonest behavior from the employees staffs and administrators alike.
Term-Limits for politicians’ is starting to pick-up momentum, within a Grass-Roots level. It has begun, make no doubt. There is a gathering of people at this grass roots level that are working toward positive change within our government – honesty rather than criminality. The truth is out there, and Politician’s and government agencies better take heed, as American’s are now speaking in vast numbers, demanding a change, and will continue to do so.
BLM NEPA Documents for Oregon / Washington http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/prineville/plans/index.php
Live Stock Grazing Federal Expenditures and Receipts Vary, Depending on the Agency and the Purpose of the Fee Charged http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-05-869
Negative Effects of Livestock Grazing Riparian Areas http://ohioline.osu.edu/ls-fact/0002.html
Grazing Regulations Include Doctored Environmental Analysis http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/abuses_of_science/cattle-grazing.html
Grazing on public land: helpful to ranchers, but harmful to habitat? http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2008076883_grazing28m.html
Is cattle-grazing damaging public lands in the West? http://summitcountyvoice.com/2012/05/16/is-cattle-grazing-damaging-public-lands-in-the-west/
Briefing Report to Congressional Requestors, Rangeland Management: Grazing Lease Arrangements of Bureau of Land Management Permittees, May 1986. (General Accounting Office GAO/RCED-86-168BR).
Dobie, F.J., The Longhorns, (Boston, MA: Little Brown & Co.), 1941, pp. 21.
Freemuth, John, “Federal Land Management in the West:, in Zachary A. Smith, editor, Environmental Politics and Policy in the West, (Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Debuque, Iowa, 1993), p. 202.
Grazing Fee Review and Evaluation, The Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of the Interior, 1986, p. 79. A 13.2:G79.
Hanneman, Michael D., Effects of Cattle, Elk and Mule Deer on a Narrowleaf Cottonwood Riparian Community Under a Short Duration Grazing System in Northern Arizona, Masters Thesis, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 1991.
Norlagg, Neil, Personal Interview, rancher, Mormon Lake, Arizona, 8 March 1995.
Rangeland Reform ’94 Draft Environmental Impact Statement, The Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture Forest Service, I53.19:R16.
Smith, Zachary A., The Environmental Policy Paradox, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ Prentice Hall, 1995), p. 195.
Tersey, Darrell Personal Interview, Rangeland Management Specialist, Bureau of Land Management, Phoenix District Office, 19 April 1995.
Young, James A., Sparks, Abbot B, Cattle in the Cold Desert, 1985. Utah University Press, Logan, UT 84332-9515, p. 68.
F.J. Dobie, The Longhorns, (Boston, MA: Little Brown & Co.), 1941, pp. 21.
Briefing Report to Congressional Requestors, Rangeland Management: Grazing Lease Arrangements of Bureau of Land Management Permittees, May 1986. GAO/RCED-86-168BR, pp. 1-14.
Grazing Fee Review and Evaluation, (The Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of the Interior, 1986, A 13.2:G79), p. 79.
Personal Interview, Darrell Tersey, Rangeland Management Specialist, Bureau of Land Management, Phoenix District Office, 19 April 1995.
Zachary A. Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ Prentice Hall, 1995), p. 179
John Freemuth, “Federal Land Management in the West:, in Zachary A. Smith, editor, Environmental Politics and Policy in the West, (Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Debuque, Iowa, 1993), p. 202.
Personal Interview, Gary Hase Jr., Natural Resource Manager II, Range Section, Land Department, State Forestry Division, 20 April 1995.
Personal Interview, Neil Norlagg, rancher, Mormon Lake Arizona, 8 March 1995.
Rangeland Reform ’94 Draft Environmental Impact Statement, (The Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture Forest Service, I53.19:R16), p. 1-9
Michael D. Hanneman, Effects of Cattle, Elk and Mule Deer on a Narrowleaf Cottonwood Riparian Community Under a Short Duration Grazing System in Northern Arizona, (Masters Thesis, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 1991), pp. 11-19.
Rangeland Reform ’94 Draft Environmental Impact Statement, p. 1-8.
Personal Interview, Darrell Tersey, Rangeland Management Specialist, Bureau of Land Management, Phoenix District Office, 19 April 1995.
The Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of The Interior, Grazing Fee Review and Evaluation Final Report 1979-1985, (Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Department of The Interior Bureau of Land Management, A13.2.G79, 1986), p. 7.
Federal lands accounted for 10% of the rangeland forage and 2% of total food consumed in 1982.
January 12, 2014 at 9:13 am
International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, the oldest wild horse and burro group in the United States. Velma Johnston (Wild Horse Annie) was its first president.
ISPMB HERDS SHOW THAT FUNCTIONAL SOCIAL STRUCTURES CONTRIBUTE TO LOW HERD GROWTH COMPARED TO BLM MANAGED HERDS
As we complete our thirteenth year in studying the White Sands and Gila herds, two isolated herds, which live in similar habitat but represent two different horse cultures, have demonstrated much lower reproductive rates than BLM managed herds. Maintaining the “herd integrity” with a hands off management strategy (“minimal feasible management”) and no removals in 13 years has shown us that functional herds demonstrating strong social bonds and leadership of elder animals is key to the behavioral management of population growth.
ISPMB’s president, Karen Sussman, who has monitored and studied ISPMB’s four wild herds all these years explains, “We would ascertain from our data that due to BLM’s constant roundups causing the continual disruption of the very intricate social structures of the harem bands has allowed younger stallions to take over losing the mentorship of the older wiser stallions.
In simplistic terms Sussman makes the analogy that over time Harvard professors (elder wiser stallions) have been replaced by errant teenagers (younger bachelor stallions). We know that generally teenagers do not make good parents because they are children themselves.
Sussman’s observations of her two stable herds show that there is tremendous respect commanded amongst the harems. Bachelor stallions learn that respect from their natal harems. Bachelors usually don’t take their own harems until they are ten years of age. Sussman has observed that stallions mature emotionally at much slower rates than mares and at age ten they appear ready to assume the awesome responsibility of becoming a harem stallion.
Also observed in these herds is the length of time that fillies remain with their natal bands. The fillies leave when they are bred by an outside stallion at the age of four or five years. Often as first time mothers, they do quite well with their foals but foal mortality is higher than with seasoned mothers.
Sussman has also observed in her Gila herd where the harems work together for the good of the entire herd. “Seeing this cooperative effort is quite exciting,” states Sussman.
ISPMB’s third herd, the Catnips, coming from the Sheldon Wildlife Range where efforts are underway to eliminate all horses on the refuge, demonstrate exactly the reverse of the organization’s two stable herds. The first year of their arrival (2004) their fertility rates were 30% the following first and second years. They have loose band formations and some mares are without any harem stallions. Stallions are observed breeding fillies as young as one year of age. Foal mortality is very high in this herd. Generally there is a lack of leadership and wisdom noted in the stallions as most of them were not older than ten years of age when they arrived. In 2007, a decision to use PZP on this herd, a contraceptive, was employed by ISPMB. This herd remains a very interesting herd to study over time according to Sussman. “The question is, can a dysfunctional herd become functional,” says Sussman who speculates that the Catnips emulate many of the public lands herds.
In 1992 when Sussman and her colleague, Mary Ann Simonds, served on the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, they believed that BLM’s management should change and recommended that selective removals should begin by turning back all the older and wiser animals to retain the herd wisdom. Sussman realizes that the missing ingredient was to stop the destruction of the harem bands caused by helicopter roundups where stallions are separated from their mares. “Instead, bait and water trapping, band by band, needed to be instituted immediately,” says Sussman. Had this been done for the past twenty years, we would have functionally healthy horses who have stable reproductive rates and we wouldn’t have had 52,000 wild horses in holding pastures today. BLM’s selective removal policy was to return all horses over the age of five. When the stallions and mares were released back to their herd management areas by the BLM, younger stallions under the age of ten fought for the mares and took mares from the older wiser stallions. This occurs when there is chaos happening in a herd such as roundups cause.
Sussman also believes that when roundups happen often the younger stallions aged 6-9 are ones that evade capture. This again contributes to younger stallions taking the place of older wiser stallions that remain with their mares and do not evade capture. She is advocating that the BLM carry out two studies: determining the age of fillies who are pregnant and determining age structures of stallions after removals.
Currently Sussman is developing criteria to determine whether bands are behaviorally healthy or not. This could be instituted easily in observation of public lands horses.
Taken from BLM’s website: “Because of federal protection and a lack of natural predators, wild horse and burro herds can double in size about every four years.”
White Sands Herd Growth: 1999-2013 – 165 animals.
BLM’s assertion herds double every four years means there should be 980 horses or more than five times the growth of ISPMB’s White Sands herd.
Gila Herd Growth: 1999-2013- 100 animals
BLM’s assertion herds double every four years means there should be 434 horses or nearly four times the growth of ISPMB’s Gila herd.
Sussman says that BLM’s assertion as to why horse herds double every four years is incorrect. The two reasons given are federal protection of wild horse herds and lack of natural predators. ISPMB herds are also protected and also have no natural predators, but they do not reproduce exponentially. She adds that exponential wild horse population growth on BLM lands must have another cause, and the most likely cause is lack of management and understanding of wild horses as wildlife species. Instead BLM manages horses like livestock. “According to the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971, all management of wild horse populations was to be at the ‘minimal feasible level’,” Sussman says. “When the BLM’s heavy-handed disruption and destruction of wild horse social structures is the chief contributing factor in creating population growth five times greater than normal, than the BLM interference can hardly be at a ‘minimal feasible level.’”
Sussman concludes that ISPMB herds are given the greatest opportunity for survival, compared to the BLM’s herds which are not monitored throughout the year. “One would assume,” Sussman says, “herds that are well taken care of and monitored closely would have a greater survival rate. Yet, even under the optimum conditions of ISPMB herds, they still did not increase nearly 500% like BLM herds.”