The Bureau of Land Management Vernal Field Office approved the Winter Ridge Herd Area (HA) Wild Horse Gather and Removal Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) on July 26, 2011.
This EA was prepared to analyze the BLM's proposed gather and removal of approximately 150 excess wild horses from the Winter Ridge Herd Area vicinity beginning in September 2011.
As outlined in the 2008 Vernal Resource Management Plan, all wild horses gathered in this area will be permanently removed from the HA.
Public comments were solicited from July 26-August 26, 2010 and were considered prior to the finalization of the EA.
The EA describes the potential environmental impacts from implementing the proposed project and includes related information and a map of the project area.
The BLM will also provide updates and information on line on a regular basis throughout the course of the gather.
The EA and Decision Record are available on line at: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/vernal/planning/nepa_.html
Updates and information will be available at: http://www.blm.gov/ut on a regular basis throughout the course of the gather.
Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations daily once they begin, so long as the safety of the animals, staff, and observers is not jeopardized, and operations are not disrupted.
During the public observation days the interested public may participate in an escorted tour and will meet at 5:30 a.m. at the Pelican CafÃ© in Ouray, Utah (tentative plan).
Current plans call for the Winter Ridge gather to operate September 10, through September 14, 2011, although weather conditions and available resources may affect the projected schedule.
Participants must provide their own transportation, water and lunches. The BLM recommends that the public dress for harsh field conditions. Binoculars as well as four wheel drive vehicles are strongly recommended.
"Animals removed from the Winter Ridge Herd Area will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program," according to Dusty Carpenter, Wild Horse Specialist.
Horses removed from the Winter Ridge HA will be shipped to Salt Lake Wild Horse and Burro Center short-term holding and preparation facility.
Animals that are not adopted will be cared for in long-term pastures, where they retain their "wild" status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not send any horses to slaughter.
To learn more about the program or to obtain an adoption application, visit the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro website at: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro.html
For further information on the gather activities, contact Dusty Carpenter at 435-781-3415.
For information on participating in public observation days, please contact Lisa Reid, Public Affairs Specialist, at (435) 435-743-3128.