Who owns and controls our water on our legally designated wild horse and burro land?
July 20, 2012 by ppjg
The Bureau of Land Management is claiming an emergency drought and plans to capture 12 horses near the Summit Springs on the Surprise Valley High Rock Complex – 615,946 acres of federally protected herd management area (HMA) in N.W. Nevada.
ONE standard size water truck could supply these 12 horses with enough water for 21 days. They could remain in their home range “where found” as Congressional law requires. A horse drinks about 15 gallons of water a day so for the 12 horses near the Summit Springs area of the BLM Surprise Valley that would equal only about 1,260 gal. per week. BLM states they are taking three water truck loads a week to the area (see link) so obviously it is livestock and wildlife that are drinking the other 10,740 gallons each week and the horses get the blame … as usual. Does something smell fishy to you?
Sheep on HMA
As it happens, in this same area there are two large livestock grazing permits one of which is authorized to graze 1,340 cattle this time of year. Have the livestock been removed to protect the range and the dwindling water supply? Another example is the Bright Holland Corporation who controls very large water rights in this same Surprise Valley area – the company’s president is the Nevada water baron Sam Jaksick who is also tightly connected to Sempra energy – Sempra is reported to be the largest global energy company next to BP. So who DOES own and control our water on our public land?
I’ll admit the area is dry this year but I also know (and BLM would never admit this because it would cause too much pressure from the large ranching corporations) that most of the immediate problem is caused by cattle and sheep overgrazing. I have witnessed and documented this. Two weeks ago and very near to this same Surprise Valley area – about 500 sheep were standing in an area that had been a lake but is now only a dry barren shallow pit stripped of all forage (see photos taken 6/30/12 Pilgrim Lake, Twin Peaks HMA, CA-NV boarder) and in another nearby dry riparian area there was no sign of any wild horse manure but there were cow patties every six feet within the lake bed … and that is no exaggeration.
Our wild horses have been adversely affected by BLM MIS-management of our public land. Last winter’s big wild horse capture in this area displaced the few horses that were released and those that had been forced to run from the helicopter and hide. Now BLM is stating that they will be trapping 12 wild horses and moving them. This will disrupt their family bands and cause extreme stress and some may be injured and die from this unnecessary plan. And this is becoming a trend; just this week BLM has announced a very similar scenario for other wild horses in the west.
I say leave them alone on their legal land, remove all livestock from these areas and spend a few dollars taking them out some water for the next few months – after all this is their water and their land and our water and our land. The BLM made $112 billion from our public lands in 2010 … and they are saying that they can’t even take a water truck out to the legal horses every three weeks? Not likely! – Does that seem right? – Hogwash!