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State of Utah

DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES


GARY R. HERBERT Governor SPENCER J. COX Lieutenant Governor MICHAEL R. STYLER Executive Director

Division of Wildlife Resources


GREGORY J. SHEEHAN Division Director

May 1, 2014

Juan Palma Utah State Director Bureau of Land Management Utah State Office 440 West 200 South, Suite 500 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101-1345 Sally Jewell Secretary of the Interior Department of the Interior 1849 C Street, N.W. Washington DC 20240 Re: Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse Management

Dear Ms. Jewell and Mr. Palma, We, the members of the Utah Wildlife Board, having been appointed by the Governor of Utah to serve the citizens of the state and assist the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, respectfully request that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) adhere to their Wild Horse Management Plan and keep wild horse numbers at the Appropriate Management Levels (AML) that have been established through the NEPA process. This process serves to balance competing multiple uses on the landscape. We were recently made aware that the BLM sent letters in September of 2013 notifying grazing permittees in several areas that the BLM did not have sufficient funds to trap and control wild horse populations in southern Utah. In addition, the letter asked permittees to voluntarily reduce or curtail grazing their livestock in the same grazing allotments. This action concerns us, as it appears that the BLM is asking grazers to remediate over-utilization of range resources caused by wild horse populations that exceed established objectives. We fully support multiple uses on BLM lands and feel that ample habitat exists for wild horses, wildlife, and livestock. However, wild horse populations must be properly managed to the appropriate AML throughout Utah so that wildlife populations and livestock grazing are not adversely affected. Many wildlife species share the same habitat as wild horses and depend on the same water sources to survive in the arid regions of Utah. Wild horses are known to dominate water sources, especially in times of drought, and prevent or curtail wildlife from watering. Wild horses also consume available forage and can cause permanent habitat damage,
1594 West North Temple, Suite 2110, PO Box 146301, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6301 telephone (801) 538-4700 facsimile (801) 538-4709 TTY (801) 538-7458 www.wildlife.utah.gov

Page 2 May 1, 2014 Subject: Wild Horse Management

particularly around springs or other water sources, if populations are left unchecked. This range deterioration, including damage to native plants, will be magnified as the state suffers through drought conditions this year. Some of these wild horse areas contain premium deer and elk hunt units that have been managed for high quality (trophy) animals for many years, and the associated hunting permits are highly sought after by Utah sportsmen. Many local communities near these areas have become dependent on hunters and hunter dollars to drive their local economies during the hunts. Wild horse mismanagement could surely have severe adverse effects on wildlife populations and local economies. Thank you for your consideration of our request. We sincerely hope the BLM will alter its approach and properly manage wild horses in Utah. Sincerely,

Jake Albrecht, Board Chair Utah Wildlife Board