Monday, August 10, 2009

In a letter to Congressman Hunter, Kathleen Hayden of Coyote Canyon Caballos d'Anza writes:

"Dear Congressman Hunter,
Thank you in advance for reviewing the following information and request.
Despite your vote against ROAM, advocates are asking you to support restoration of San Diego and Riverside county's Heritage Coyote Canyon Herd to original Native American (now public) lands in the Beauty Mountain Area. Please NOTE that the existing vacant Beauty Mt cattle allotment expires 2012 and has been vacant for over ten years more contiguous private property has been added to the public domain. The multiple and historic uses of these lands benefit all Americans.
Were you aware that the purpose of ROAM was an emergency act to support the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act which mandates were circumvented by adverse political and agency policies? Also circumvented was the supporting National Historic Preservation ACT Sec 106 and applicable ESA Congressional mandates for distinct population species segments. Were you aware that there are only 16000 free roaming horses and burros left on public lands which constitute less than 1% of grazing animals on the western ranges? How does this constitute your concern of significant competition with other multiple uses of our public lands?
We are asking you now to support existing law and correct the oversights that removed our local Heritage Herd of Coyote Canyon free roaming horses.
The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (Public Law 92-195) mandated management and protection in accordance with the provisions of the Act as components of the public lands. THE USFS or DOI secretary could designate and maintain specific ranges on public lands as sanctuaries for their protection and preservation, after consultation with the (anti equid) wildlife agency of the State wherein any such range is proposed and with the Advisory Board established in section 7 of this Act deems such action desirable. The mandate was designed to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands. He shall consider the recommendations of qualified scientists in the field of biology and ecology, some of whom shall be independent of both Federal and State agencies and may include members of the Advisory Board established in section 7 of this Act. See also Supreme Court decision Kleppe v New Mexico.
It is important to note the US Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board was instructed not to address the Coyote Canyon Herd issue despite the fact that some members of the Board supported restoration.

The Coyote Canyon Heritage Herd evolved into distinct population while sequestered more than two centuries from other wild horse herds. This meets the Endangered Species criteria of state and federal statutes as stated below.

(1) “Endangered” when its survival and reproduction in the wild are in immediate jeopardy from one or more causes, including loss of habitat, change in habitat, over exploitation, predation, competition, disease, or other factors; or

(2) “Rare” when either: Although not presently threatened with extinction, the species is existing in such small numbers throughout all or a significant portion of its range that it may become endangered if its environment worsens; or

(3) The species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range and may be considered “threatened” as that term is used in the Federal Endangered Species Act.

following Opinion of Wildlife ecologist Craig Downer

----- Original Message -----
From: Craig Downer
To: Kathleen Hayden

Sent: Saturday, September 13, 2008 10:03 AM
Subject: Re: Final Report: Feral Horses in Coyote Canyon, Anza Borrego Desert State -- Evaluation and Reply from Craig re ESA & Final Report:Horses in Coyote Canyon, Anza Borrego Desert State Park
One Page Fact Sheet

Thanks for this report, Kathleen, which I have just read. I notice a real tendentiousness among the authors of the report to skew their conclusions contrary to much of the evidence that was gathered. This bias is apparent at the onset when the horse is referred to as a feral non-native species rather than a returned native species, thus ignoring the substantial evidence that establishes the place of the horse as a native in North America. I am also concerned about the oversight of the early Spanish contribution to this population and the ignoring of the positive beneficial contributions of the wild horses here, i.e. increased plant diversity, soil enrichment. Whoever interpreted the results of this study did so with a clear bias against the wild horses and their place here, both historic and in terms of the past evolution of this ecosystem. It is clear that the deciders of this report were out to favor the bighorn and justify the removal of the wild horses, regardless of a fair and balanced interpretation of the study's findings. This unique herd of Spanish-stock descended mustangs is very undervalued and its contribution to the native diversity of the region is being ignored. I believe that a strong case could be made to reinstate/restore this herd under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act, treating "species" as this particular historical lineage of coadapting horses, it would be fully justified. It is apparent that Calif. State Parks favors the bighorn species over the returned native horse and skews the information and full knowledge concerning the horses so as to arbitrary recommend their elimination from the area. No mention is made either of the local or visiting human appreciation of the wild horse, their aesthetic value, and their ability to establish a harmonious relationship with their fellow plants and animals over time and given the chance by we humans! I conclude that while the study has some merit, the conclusions of the study recommending the elimination of the horses from Coyote Canyon are incongruous and were almost certainly politically rather than scientifically decided.

I could very effectively argue for the Endangered Species Listing. I have worked with the endangered mountain tapir and contributed to its categorization according to the IUCN (World Conservation Union) criteria for endangered species. This has been in regard to the endangered Mountain Tapir of the northern Andes, of which only around 2,000 remain according to several considered evaluations. While I have done descriptive species inventories of plants and animals here in the West and am familiar with many of the endangered species and the reasons for their listing. I am especially aware of the tremendous scapegoating that has occurred against the wild horses and burros and of the deluge of lies and distortions that has been disseminated by public employees, vested interests, and even people who call themselves conservationists or ecologists but who have turned a blind eye to the horses and burros and their deserved place here in the wilds of the West.
Anxiously awaiting your reply,
For restoring the horses to their deserved freedom,

Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist
P.O. Box 456
Minden, NV 89423

Again, Thank you Congressman Hunter for your attention to this issue and request for support.

Very truly yours,

Kathleen Hayden
Coyote Canyon Caballos d'Anza Inc.
POB 236 Santa Ysabel, Ca. 92070
760 782 3340"

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