January 14, 2011 – Burnt Timber

After a number of days with frigid weather, we had a pretty nice day here yesterday with temperatures in the thirties. I headed out to Burnt Timber to see which horses I could find. This time of year, some of the Burnt Timber horses will move eastward into the Big Coulee area; this is also where some Sykes and even Dryhead horses are at right now. My goal yesterday, though, was to see if I could see some of the horses that are still in the western parts of Burnt Timber.

There’s a pretty good amount of snow on the ground out there. Yesterday, I happened to walk across a hilltop that I remembered seeing Baja’s harem at on New Year’s Eve of 2009. Below is a photo from that day and a photo of the same area yesterday. The angle is a little different, but you can see the same small juniper with an old piece of wood beside it in both photos.

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Published in: on January 14, 2011 at 5:14 pm  Comments (8)  

January 12, 2011 – Fertility Control EA

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.

Finding of No Significant Impact/Decision Record

 

Environmental Assessment

 

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!

Published in: on January 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm  Comments (7)  

January 7, 2010 – Updates & 2010 Foals

I apologize for the delay in posting this; I had meant to get it up before the holidays. Since I last wrote, there have been some relatively warmer days along with some very cold days. There have also been some more snowstorms. At this point, there is actually a pretty good amount of snow on the Range.

Due to winter winds, which are common there, Bighorn Canyon does have areas with little or no snow. However, in the Burnt Timber area, there is a good amount of snow on the ground. The horses basically have to dig through the snow for forage. As is often the case, interchange is fairly common right now. For example, when I spent time with Jackson’s harem earlier this week, he only had Galena and Jasper. Prior to that, he had his whole typical harem.

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Published in: on January 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm  Comments (12)