The following is a continuation of information on Wild Horses and Burros in the United States from Madeleinepickens.com.
How can you keep 30,000 head of wild horses from escaping the Ranch?
The Ranch boundary is securely fenced. Fenced railroad & highway right-of-ways are major portions of the boundary. The fenced boundary in the high country would not be pressured by large numbers of horses. The high country boundary fences may be damaged as a result of winter snow and ice, but would be inspected and repaired prior to the horses returning to the high country each season. Agreements would be honored to ensure a good neighbor policy.
Cattleguards would be installed on all roads that access through the ranch boundary.
What kind of conflicts may exist between wildlife and wild horses on the NWHF Ranch?
Very little conflict is anticipated. Wild horses have roamed tens of millions of acres in the West for hundreds of years without conflict with other animals native to North America.
Water sources are numerous on the ranch so there is no concern of horses limiting the availability of water for wildlife species.
Open spaces are plentiful for horses and wildlife in the spring, summer, and fall, but limited in the winter. The NWHF Ranch is very fortunate to have one third of the ranch as winter range, including the hay meadows and irrigated fields. Most of the winter range is private land which will accommodate both horses and wildlife needs during the harsh winters of major snow events and sub zero weather. Elk, deer, and horses will concentrate on the private land winter range during these major winter events, which is critical to their survival.
Could there be impacts to federal land users, adjacent land owners, local communities, county, or state government by changing use from cattle to horses on the NWHF Ranch?
Legitimate negative impacts are hard to find because:
(a) BLM lands used as a wild horse sanctuary do not preclude any valid existing rights or public land laws for existing land uses;
(b) Federal water rights are not reserved on BLM lands used as a wild horse sanctuary;
(c) The authority of Nevada Department of Wildlife is not precluded on BLM lands used as a wild horse sanctuary;
(d) The Foundation will be a non-profit agricultural business which would employ many businesses and personnel knowledgeable in agricultural practices associated with forage production and animal husbandry;
(e) The Foundation will always maintain its legal rights to private property or options to return to a traditional livestock business or any other private business venture when the opportunity arrives and;
(f) A goal of the Foundation is to preserve the Western Heritage Culture.
The biggest impact of the Ranch to its neighbors and surrounding communities is the attraction of perhaps a million and half visitors to Northeast Nevada per year. These visitors may be accommodated in the nearby communities and business leaders may need time for planning and implementation to accommodate the influx of visitors.
Will the federal government acquire any private lands within the ranch if the foundation ceases to exist?
If the Ranch ever ceases to be used as a wild horse the private land will remain private and the federal lands within the ranch will remain federal an continue to be managed for multiple use purposes.
Will the Foundation be a good neighbor by being open and accessible, ensuring fences are maintained and the horses don’t escape, and allow public access to the ranch?
The foundation is being created to protect and care for the wild horses and to allow citizens from around the world to come to the ranch to see thousands of free roaming wild horses. To achieve these goals, the Foundation will be active in the community promoting ecotourism, hire within the local area, and be a good neighbor with the adjoining ranches to ensure strong fences are maintained and horses are contained to their own million acre ranch.
Why do taxpayers have to pay the Foundation to care for and protect wild horses relocated from government pens to the ranch?
Costs to the American taxpayer over the next decade are approximately $1 billion dollars. The National Wild Horse Foundation will save taxpayers approximately $700 to $800 million dollars.
The foundation costs are much lower than the government program, but the foundation still needs money to manage the ranch, the farm, repair the fences, install new irrigation, rebuild homes for the help, and care for the horses.
How can the federal government be assured that the foundation is capable of managing and caring for the thousands of horses they will receive and provide long term health of both the horses and the rangeland?
The Foundation expects the same level of agency professional oversight the federal government provides for other lands it manages. The Foundation expects to enter into a contract with the government whereby it provides information on the experience of its personnel, the current carrying capacity of the ranch, the proposed increased carrying capacity, inspection of fences, waters, working facilities, and accurate count and condition of horses. We expect similar contract stipulations that the government requires of other ranches caring for wild horses on private land.
Why not acquire a small ranch which can support between 500 to 1,000 horses where the forage is more plentiful and the overall ranch price is lower so the ranch could be managed without government funding?
The selected ranch is the most acceptable for the horses needs. It has the capacity to hold all the horses on private land during emergency situations. It has sufficient size to accommodate all 9,000 wild horses currently held captive in pens. It has ample forage and open space to accommodate thousands of additional animals removed from federal rangeland for years to come. It saves the taxpayers millions of dollars annually.
Are there other benefits the Foundation proposal provides the government?
The Foundation provides the government with: (1) abundant long term capacity for horses at about the same cost, $500 per year per horse, as its current long term holding facilities, (2) significant savings considering the cost of short term holding is about $2000 per year per horse, (3) an alternative to attempting to locate more long term holding capacity on private lands through standard contracting procedures and (4) reduced shipping cost of relocating horses from western states to central states.
Why does BLM have so many horses in Short Term Holding?
With economic down turn the public is less interested in adopting wild horses. BLM typically adopts about half the animals they gather each year.
BLM cannot find interested parties to enter into long term contracts to care for the horses.
BLM removes thousands of wild horses annually to protect rangeland vegetation from overgrazing by wildlife, cattle and wild horses.
Does it make sense that the BLM relocate excess wild horses to other federal and private lands which has capacity for wild horses, if the WH&BA is amended to provide the Secretary of Interior this authority?
Yes. If directed by the Secretary of Interior the BLM can enter into cooperative agreements for an individual or organization to care for and protect the wild horses.