ALTURAS, Calif. – The Modoc National Forest and Modoc County invite anyone interested to a community meeting to discuss implementation of the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory Management Plan, which is available at http://1.usa.gov/1PxhnVA. The purpose of the meeting is to describe the plan implementation actions that have occurred to date. The forest and county would also like to solicit ideas regarding potential barriers to implementation of the plan and ideas to overcome those barriers.
This workshop is planned for January 12, 2017, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Federated Community Church, 307 E 1st Street, Alturas, CA. Modoc County will provide a free lunch for those who RSVP in advance at 530-233-5811. The RSVP is for lunch and not required to attend the meeting. All are welcome.
Hunters and the game they pursue are affected. In February 2016, the Modoc National Forest personnel completed a “Double Count” aerial survey of the wild horse population in and around the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory. The results of the survey show the wild horse population is greater than the Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 206-402 adult wild horses.
Data collected is compared using statistical modeling to estimate sighting rates for observers during the survey. “Using this method, we estimate the current wild horse population is 2,246 adult horses,” said Forest Rangeland Management Specialist and survey coordinator, Jenny Jayo. “This means wild horse population size has nearly doubled since February 2013 when the last inventory was completed. Wild horses now occupy an area more than twice the size of the territory designated for their use by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.”
The Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory Management Plan was approved in August 2013. It documents the goals, objectives, management actions and monitoring requirements related to wild horses management. This Plan guides management of the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory for the next 15 or more years. The Plan is consistent with the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act which provides for the protection and management of wild horses on public lands.
The Plan set an Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 206-402 total adult horses and describes several methods to reach the AML. However, since the Plan was approved, the population of wild horses has grown. As of February 2016, the wild horse population is estimated to be 2,246 adult horses. A recent gather from private and tribal land was completed at the request of landowners. The Forest Service is seeking additional opportunities and resources to manage the herd to within the AML using the tools described in the Territory Management Plan.