The Billings Field Office has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact and Decision for the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range Fertility Control Environmental Assessment (DOI-BLM-MT-0010-2011-0004-EA Tiered to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range Environmental Assessment MT-010-08-24 And Herd Management Area Plan May 2009). Copies of these documents can be downloaded by clicking on the images or links below.
I would highly recommend that you read through these documents in their entirety. They aren’t too long; together the two documents are less than 50 pages in length. (It only took me about 50 minutes to read everything in both documents.) The EA has been formatted to be really user-friendly. As you go through the EA, you will notice that there are sections highlighted in grey. These are areas that were either added or changed from the preliminary EA. This makes it easy to see what changed since then. As you read through it, you will see that the EA basically has eight different sections and two appendices, each of which has important information. Below I have summarized some key points to learn about as you read through these sections.
1.0 Background Information: Section 1 acts as an introduction to the EA. The first part of this section is 1.1, the introduction. This section has information on the idea of tiering environmental assessments. It also has a general introduction to the proposed action. Section 1.2 (Location) goes over the location that the EA covers. It basically describes the geography of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. Section 1.3 (Purpose and Need for the Proposal) explains why there is need for action and how and why the impacts of a fertility control program will be analyzed. Section 1.4 (Relationship to Planning) elaborates on the different plans and laws that guided the decision making process for the EA. Section 1.5 (Scoping) explains how the BLM released its original scoping notice. Section 1.6 (Public Comment) explains how the BLM carried out a public comment period and what was done with those comments.
2.0 Proposed Action and Alternatives: Section 2 goes over the proposed action and other alternatives analyzed in the EA. Section 2.1 (Proposed Action) describes the proposed action. Section 2.2 (No Action Alternative) explains what the no action alternative would be as well as what its effects would be. Section 2.3 (Alternative Considered but Elminated from Further Analysis) discusses a different strategy involving gathers.
3.0 Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences: Section 3 goes over the different impacts that the plan may have. Section 3.1 (Critical Elements of the Human Environment) consists of a table showing the potential impacts to different resources. Section 3.2 (Wild Horses) provides very specific information on how the proposed fertility control program could possibly (both positively and negatively) impact the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses. It also has research-based information on potential impacts. I think that this is a very important section to carefully read.
4.0 Cumulative Impacts: This section discusses what may result in the future from the implementation of the EA.
5.0 Mitigation and Suggested Monitoring: This section explains how a fertility control program would be carried out as best as possible.
6.0 Consultation and Coordination: This section starts by discussing the history of the development of the EA with public comment. Section 6.1 (Response to Comments) is a large section where the BLM has addressed specific comments that they received. This is a pretty comprehensive section that has some more detailed information in it.
7.0 References: This section has information on all of the sources cited throughout the EA.
Appendix I: This appendix has a history of the past use of PZP on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.
Appendix II: This appendix has the standard operating procedures for the use of PZP.
Again, I would encourage everyone to read through the EA. If you have any questions, feel free to post them; and I will work to get them properly answered!