Cross-posted from the Mesquite Local News
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have combined forces to conduct a joint aerial population inventory of wild/feral horses on nearly four million acres of land located in northwest Nevada and southeast Oregon.
The survey will be conducted beginning June 20 and will last up to eight days, using a fixed-wing aircraft.
The goal of the cooperative interagency project is to improve wild/feral horse population counts, utilizing improved population survey methodology, in an area that has shown shifts in horse numbers and distribution.
“Past population surveys and management projects by BLM and the USFWS within the survey area have shown that animals may move between a number of BLM herd management areas and across the Sheldon and Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuges,” said BLM Nevada State Director Ron Wenker. “This joint effort will produce a base line count and distribution for the entire area as a whole. We are planning to return in the fall for a second survey, where we will see how and where the herds moved, and how that affects population counts within the individual areas.”
The flight will encompass herd management areas (HMAs) administered by the BLM Winnemucca District in Nevada; the BLM Lakeview and Burns District Offices in Oregon; the BLM Northern California District Office in California that manages some of the HMAs within Nevada, and the two wildlife refuges managed by USFWS.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which conducted research into improving BLM’s population counts, will assist with the population survey by modeling and analyzing the data collected on the flight and providing a population estimate with a 95 percent confidence interval.
This improved survey methodology, called Simultaneous Double-Count with Sightability Bias Correction, uses two observers to independently observe and record data on groups of individual horses. READ ALL >>