Helping the Basin Flourish


Two of the biggest concerns currently in the Basin are the amount of water and vegetation available for all wildlife in the Basin, including the Wild Horses.  Aletha and  I  have spent some time with Hunter in the Little Snake River BLM office, in Craig, CO, trying to better understand these issues.

Here’s part of what we have learned and questions we now have:

  • Many of the dams were created by the grazing permit holders, and some of those permit holders actually hold the water rights to the water for those dams.
  • There are several sections of private land within the HMA.  Beverly Rave is presently working with the private land owners on the possibility of land swaps, but that could take years to accomplish.
  • There are several people who own grazing rights within the Basin.  That is not going to change anytime soon, and may never change.  We, Wild Horse Warriors for Sand Wash Basin, need to work with the grazing permit owners and the BLM, to find a better working relationship with them.  We need to understand the rotation systems that they  use and see if there is a way to use them in the Basin to encourage the Wild Horses to graze in different areas and let the vegetation regrow in over-grazed areas. 

In the past there have been several areas in the northern part of the HMA that were bush-hogged to allow more growth of perennial grasses.

  • Can there be more areas bush-hogged?
  • Can the dams that have the sides blown out be repaired?
  • Was this done to move the Wild Horses to different areas to graze and can they now be repaired?
  • Can we, the Wild Horse Warriors, spray for weeds and do any reseeding?

T. J.Holmes, from the Spring Creek Basin HMA, was quoted as saying  “You’ve got to have the resources to enable the horses and the other wildlife to live here. If you don't have that, you don't have a healthy wild horse herd, you don't have a healthy elk herd, you don't have a healthy deer herd or pronghorn herd. I love these horses more than anything but you’ve got to have the range to support them or we won’t have any horses here,” Holmes told me. “The ecosystem is very fragile. The soil is very erodible. If it’s overgrazed, the vegetation doesn’t come back, or if it does come back, it’s not the preferable plant species coming back. This country was built on the backs of horses, mules, and burros, they’re a part of the American Western landscape, and they’re important to keep because they’re a part of our culture and our history.”