With population measured at over 100, periodic gathering for adoption planned
PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Ochoco National Forest has released the final Environmental Assessment and Decision Notice for the Ochoco Wild Horse Herd Management Plan project.
"The new plan is based on current conditions, with updated management tools and protocols, and in alignment with policy and broad social expectations," Friday's announcement said.
The 2021 Ochoco Wild Horse Herd Management Plan will establish an appropriate management level of 47-57 wild horses (compared to a population of over 100 horses that was reached several years ago).
The appropriate management level takes into account forage availability in winter and the management of a lack of genetic variability in the horse herd.
The plan discusses periodic gathering of excess horses for adoption, to reach that level, as well as a later possibility of population control through sterilization and contraception.
In addition, it would establish an Emergency Action Framework that provides protocols for when and how the Forest Service will intervene on behalf of sick, injured or starving horses.
The new Ochoco Wild Horse Herd Management Plan updates the original herd management plan drafted 46 years ago for the designated Big Summit Wild Horse Herd and Territory, located about 25 miles east of Prineville on the Lookout Mountain Ranger District of the Ochoco National Forest.
A herd management plan is an operational plan for managing wild free-roaming horses.
“We value the Big Summit wild horse herd and are happy to have this updated herd management plan in place to manage the horses under current conditions,” said Forest Supervisor Shane Jeffries. “We have worked closely with partners in our communities to develop this plan, and that work will continue as we implement the plan.”
For more information on the project and to view the Decision Notice, visit the project web page: https://go.usa.gov/xH375