Localized meetings, an extended comment period and additional avenues for providing comments were the recommendations the Public Lands Council (PLC), supported by the American Sheep Industry Association and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, sent to Ken Salazar, secretary of the interior, regarding the draft management plan for the wild horse and burro program.
Since 1968, PLC has represented public lands ranchers who know the problems presented by wild horse and burro overpopulation. These individuals, whose livelihoods are directly impacted by wild horse and burro management, deserve the opportunity to be an integral part of the decision-making process. Their firsthand experiences make them particularly qualified to submit comments and ideas on solutions to a horse and burro program that has led to overgrazing, economic hardship and unhealthy populations.
Ranchers, busy this time of year with the business of stewarding the land and animals in their care, would greatly benefit from a 60-day extension to the comment period, which is due to expire Aug. 3.
PLC also proposed holding local public-comment meetings in rural areas where wild horse and burro overpopulation is a real concern. This insight from individuals dealing firsthand with the program would be an excellent source of information to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials.
Finally, it was recommended that supplying a mailing address for comments would make the input process more inclusive for public lands ranchers since a certain percentage do not regularly use the internet.
The inclusion of these recommendations would provide BLM with invaluable insight and suggestions for the proposal, "Draft Goals, Objectives and Possible Management Actions" for the wild horse and burro program.