SOUTHERN UTAH – At a time when current off-range holding facilities are nearing capacity limits, the Bureau of Land Management has announced it is soliciting bids for new long-term pasture facilities that provide a free-roaming environment for wild horses.
Under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, as amended, the BLM manages and protects wild horses and burros while working to ensure that population levels are in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses. The BLM removes animals from the range to control the size of herds, which have virtually no predators and can double in population every four years. The BLM plans to remove 2,400 animals from the range in fiscal year 2014, down from 4,176 in fiscal year 2013. The BLM is also using population growth-suppression measures and is supporting research to improve existing and develop new population growth-suppression tools.
The current free-roaming population of BLM-managed wild horses and burros is estimated to be 49,209 as of March 1, 2014, which exceeds by more than 22,500 the number determined by the BLM to be the appropriate management level. Off the range, as of June 2014, there were more than 47,000 wild horses and burros cared for in either short-term corrals or long-term pastures. All these animals, whether on or off the range, are protected by the BLM under the 1971 law.
The solicitations involving long-term facilities are for one or more pasture facilities, each accommodating 100 to 5,000 wild horses. Each pasture facility must be able to provide humane care for a one-year period, with a renewal option under BLM contract for a four-year or nine-year period. The solicitations are open until Aug. 28 and Aug. 29.
The BLM’s bidding requirements are posted in solicitations L14PS00777 and L14PS00792, the details of which are available online. To obtain the solicitation: Click on “Search Public Opportunities”; under Search Criteria, select “Reference Number”; put in the solicitation numbers (L14PS00777 and L14PS00792); and click “Search” and the solicitation information will appear. The solicitation form describes what to submit and where to send it. Applicants must be registered here to be considered for a contract award.
In its management of wild horses and burros under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM is implementing recommendations made by a June 2013 report of the National Academy of Sciences. For instance, the BLM is taking actions to increase the use of population growth-suppression measures on overpopulated herds roaming Western public rangelands and implementing methods developed by the U.S. Geological Survey for more accurate population estimates.
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