Joint Committee Questions BLM’s Wild Horse Roundups


The Natural Resource Committee at the Legislature Building on Feb. 19 / Photo by NATASHA VITALE

The Natural Resource Committee at the Legislature Building on Feb. 19 / Photo by NATASHA VITALE

Tensions between the State Director of the Bureau of Land Management of Nevada, Amy Lueders, and the Joint Committee on Natural Resources rose when the subject of wild horse populations in Nevada was brought to attention during a meeting yesterday. According to the BLM, the wild horse and burro population in Nevada is about 22,000, which is the largest population in the U.S.

The committee raised concerns that the BLM is not communicating with Nevadans about the wild horse populations, and Assemblyman Mark Manendo said that despite only having one or two complaints from residents, the BLM rounded up five horses that had been in the Brunswick Canyon area for 20 years. Lueders responded by saying that the gathers are not based on number of complaints and that the BLM focuses on the concerns of residents.

Assemblyman Pete Livermore also stated that he had received emails from constituents concerning the removal of wild horses the Carson River area.

“Those horses are outside of a designated management area, which are areas we designate to manage wild horses,” Lueders said in response to Assemblyman Livermore. “The BLM in Carson had a number of people concerned about those horses and how they were behaving and their aggressiveness so we proceeded with bait, trapping some of those horses.”

The committee also raised concerns about the health of the horses and their ability to survive given weather conditions. According to Lueders, the BLM has had to remove more horses in the Diamond Complex than they anticipated due to their state of health and the ability of the horses to survive through the winter.

Assemblyman Pete Giocoechea spoke about his concerns regarding delays that the BLM is experiencing due to a change in permit regulations and how it affects the horses.

“Those horses were dying because of the weather,” Giocoechea says. “The bottom line is when you take 900 horses out of the area where the [area management level] is 247 – which is how the Diamond Complex is set up – you can’t allow those numbers to increase to that point, because ultimately it is the animal that suffers, not the program and not the law, it’s the animals that are suffering.”