Salt River Horses Get Long-Term Protection

The Arizona Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service had until Dec. 31 to ink a management deal to ensure the long-term protection of the free-roaming horses near the Salt River.

“This is a positive development and the first step to ensure that the Salt River horses can roam without fear of danger or harassment,” Arizona Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Sharma Torrens said. “We look forward to continuing this important collaboration and process.”

The agreement, provided to The Arizona Republic on Friday, splits management responsibilities between the two government agencies.

Salt River WHMG

Simone Netherlands, president of the Salt River Wild Horse Management, speaks about a new law beginning in 2018 during a press conference at Red Mountain Stables on December 29, 2017 in Mesa, Ariz. (Photo: Patrick Breen/The Republic)

The Forest Service will construct fences near the Salt River to prevent the horses from endangering the public and to ensure that other livestock does not join the herd.

The Forest Service also will conduct environmental studies, monitor the riparian area and coordinate with the state.

The federal agency also will reimburse the Department of Agriculture up to about $90,000 a year for its management expenses.

The Agriculture Department will employ a Salt River horse liaison to work with the Forest Service. The state also will work with one or more third parties to create a birth-control program for the horses and to provide veterinary care for injured horses.

The agreement allows a 2016 law to take effect. The horses will no longer be considered stray wildlife and the law makes it illegal to slaughter, harass, shoot, injure or kill the horses.

Read the full article (and view the slideshow of Salt River wild horses) here: Arizona’s free-roaming Salt River horses get long-term protection with agreement between state, feds by Jessica Boehm, The Arizona Republic

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