The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comments on an environmental assessment (EA) which analyzes the impact to gather and remove excess wild horses from within and outside the Antelope and Triple B wild horse complexes in Eastern Nevada to reduce overpopulation and help prevent further damage to herd health and rangeland resources.

The EA is available for viewing online at bit.ly/2vfWTZJ.

The BLM estimates the herds in this area are more than four times the target population size, known as appropriate management level (AML). The proposed gather is tentatively scheduled to begin in the fall of 2017.

The BLM estimated the wild horse population in both complexes to be approximately 7,739 as of March, which does not include new foals born this year; the combined AML is 899-1,678 wild horses. By implementing the actions outlined in the proposed wild horse gather plan EA, the BLM said it would be able to improve vegetation, habitat, and watershed health; removing excess animals would also continue to make significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council, the BLM said.

In addition to the proposed gather and removal of excess wild horses, some wild horses would be released back into the complexes. The BLM said fertility control treatments, sex ratio adjustments, and management of a portion of the male population as nonreproducing geldings would be addressed in the EA.

The project area is located in southeastern Elko County and northern White Pine County, comprised of 3,870,919 acres. It contains wild horse herd management areas (HMA) including the Antelope HMA, Antelope Valley HMA, Goshute HMA, Spruce-Pequop HMA (collectively called the Antelope Complex, approximately 1,324,745 acres in size), and the Triple B HMA, Maverick-Medicine HMA, Antelope Valley HMA, and Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory (collectively called the Triple B Complex, approximately 1,682,998 acres in size). The county boundary is also the boundary dividing the Elko and Ely BLM Districts within the project area.

Interested individuals should e-mail comments to blm_nv_eldowellshorsegathers@blm.gov or mail written comments to the BLM Elko District Office, 3900 Idaho Street, Elko, NV 89801 Attn: Marc Jackson, Wells Field Manager.

Be advised that only the comments received by postal mail or to the specified e-mail address will be considered in the completion of the final EA.

The document (DOI -BLM-NV-E030-2017-0010) will be available online for a 30-day review period beginning July 21, 2017 at bit.ly/2vfWTZJ.

Hardcopies are available upon request from the Elko and Ely District Offices. Submissions will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. PDT on Aug. 21. In order to provide meaningful input, please submit your comments that are applicable to the proposed wild horse gather, referencing the EA where possible. All comments received during the public comment period will be fully considered and evaluated for preparation of the final EA.

If you have any questions on this matter, please contact Bruce Thompson, BLM Elko District wild horse and burro specialist, at 775/753-0200, or Ben Noyes and Ruth Thompson, BLM Ely District wild horse and burro specialists, at 775/289-1800.