BLM Wyoming looking at possibilities for using Good Neighbor Authority to support wild horse holding facilities

    The Bureau of Land Management Wyoming is looking into whether it’s possible to use its Good Neighbor Authority to support its Wild Horse and Burro Program, state lawmakers heard this week.

    The Good Neighbor Authority is typically used to facilitate cross-jurisdictional land management projects targeting, for example, fuels reduction, habitat restoration, and noxious weed control, BLM Wyoming State Director Andrew Archuleta told the Wyoming Legislature’s Select Federal Natural Resource Management Committee during a Wednesday meeting in Rock Springs – but “we are always looking for ways to expand (it).”

    Members of the Select Committee had asked the BLM to research whether the GNA might have any application for the wild horse program, Archuleta said.


    This week, he reported that, when it comes to gathering the animals, “we just don’t see a way to do that legally, under that authority – to allow the state to actually conduct a gather,” but “we’re still looking at some possible ways to support our holding facilities through Good Neighbor Authority.”

    “You might not like the idea of that side of it,” Archuleta said, “but what that does for us is it allows us to put more money towards gathers and just some flexibility there in terms of maintaining the numbers of horses that we maintain at our holding facilities here in Wyoming.”

    He said he would bring more information to the committee after he has done more research on the topic.

    “(There’s) more to come on that,” Archuleta said. “(I’m) still looking into it.”


    Tribal partnership?

    Later, when asked to give more specifics about ways the BLM could expand the GNA, Archuleta said he “would love to be able to partner with the state, with the counties, and the Tribes on the wild horse program.”

    “Any way we can utilize the states and the counties with our wild horse program I’m definitely willing to look at those opportunities,” he said. “But right now (we) haven’t seen any light there, if you will.”

    Wyoming Sen. John Kolb, R-Rock Springs, asked if there might be a way to use the GNA to “transfer the wild horses from the holding areas into the Tribes,” and Archuleta said he hasn’t “looked into that specifically” but “if there’s a way to do that, I would love to do that.”


    The BLM has been “putting a lot of focus and effort into” gathering wild horses nationwide, Archuleta explained, with a goal to remove 20,000 of the animals from rangelands throughout the country this year.

    “We have a renewed effort to conduct gathers,” he said. “That increases our need for holding capacity as well, which is kind of what you’re getting at there.”

    He noted, however, that the federal Wild Horse and Burro Act includes “a requirement for looking at where those horses are going – what the long-term situation of that horse would be.”


    “That’s what we would have to look at with the Tribes,” he said.  


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