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On our front page this week
February 12, 2020

 

 

By Myrna Trauntvein
TN Correspondent

On Monday morning, February 3, 30 of the wild horses kept on land belonging to Joe Tate ran from the field.

The property is located at the top of Salt Creek Canyon where the county line changes to Sanpete County from Juab County.

Clinton Painter, Juab County Commission chairman, said he had been contacted that the fence around the wild horse confinement area had been deliberately cut.

“They have rounded up all but 10,” said Painter.

Some of the horses had been located at Jenkins Flat and all were expected to be recovered, said Painter.

Residents spotting the runaways had been calling the sheriff’s office.

Jason Vernon, Regional Supervisor in the Central Region for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), gave Painter his contact information and said that dispatch could contact him and DWR would round up the animals.

Vernon said that the Swasey Herd Management Area (HMA), located in Juab and Millard Counties, about 50 miles west from Delta has more wild horses that the area can support.

The HMA consists of approximately 120,113 acres of public and state lands. There is an estimated population of 721 wild horses, more than seven times over the Appropriate Management Level (AML) upper limit. The AML is 60-100 wild horses.

“The EA analyzes a proposal to gather and remove excess wild horses in the vicinity of the HMA,” said Vernon.

The BLM proposes to remove excess horses down to AML for a variety of reasons including but not limited to: resource impacts related to over AML horse population, habitat suitability and actions necessary to improve Utah Rangeland Health and Standards in the area impacted by the overpopulation of horses.

Byron Woodland, commissioner, said that the herd needed to be controlled because there was not enough feed to keep them healthy.

“They are eating themselves out of house and home,” he said.

“If the elk population ever got to that point,” said Richard Hansen, commissioner, “there would be more hunting permits issued.”

That could not be done with the wild horses.

They are not killed but are relocated and are found homes, such as the Tate Ranch.

Those who care for them keep them for the lifetime of the animal and provide food, water and care for approximately $5,500 per animal.

Vernon said that the EA analyzes a proposal to gather and remove excess wild horses and in the vicinity of the HMA.

The EA, including maps, is available on the BLM’s ePlanning website at: https://go.usa.gov/xdrD5

“Written comments will be accepted by letter or on ePlanning until February 20, 2020,” said Vernon.

Special attention will be given to those comments that contain new technical or scientific information relevant to the proposed action. Comments should be as specific as possible. Comments that contain only opinions or preferences will not receive a formal response but may be considered in the BLM decision-making process.

Please reference “Swasey Herd Management Area” when submitting comments.

As part of the Great Basin, the HMA includes a series of valleys and ranges. One major peak is Notch Peak, a 4,000 foot cliff great for rock climbing. Another giant of the area is Ibapah Peak, stretching upwards of 5,000 feet into the sky.

“It is a beautiful area,” said Woodland. “The area is home to wild horses and Pronghorn antelope.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Fillmore Field Office is seeking public comment on an environmental assessment (EA) analyzing a proposed wild horse gather, removal, and the use of population growth suppression in the Swasey Herd Management Area (HMA).

Written comments may be mailed or e-mailed using the following: Mail to BLM Fillmore Field Office, Attn: Trent Staheli, 95 East 500 North, Fillmore, UT, 84631 or via ePlanning at https://go.usa.gov/xdrD5.

Those who provide comments are advised that before including their address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information, they should be aware that the entire comment—including the personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time.

While those commenting can ask in their comments to withhold personal identifying information from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that they will be able to do so.