The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is soliciting bids for new, publicly accessible pasture facilities located in the continental United States that provide a free-roaming environment for wild horses and burros. The solicitation is for one or more long-term pasture facilities accommodating 400 to 2,000 wild horses. Each pasture facility must be able to provide humane care for a one-year period, with a renewal option under BLM contract for nine one-year extensions. The BLM may require one or two public and/or media tours hosted by BLM staff and the contractor during the life of the contract. The solicitation is open until April 10, 2012, and is 100 percent set aside for small businesses under the North American Industry Classification System.
The BLM manages wild horses and burros as part of its overall multiple-use mission. Under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM manages and protects these living symbols of the Western spirit while ensuring that population levels are in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses.
To make sure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands, the BLM must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control the size of herds, which have virtually no predators and can double in population every four years. The current free-roaming population of BLM-managed wild horses and burros is 38,500, which exceeds by nearly 12,000 the number determined by the BLM to be the appropriate management level. Off the range, there are more than 45,000 wild horses and burros cared for in either short-term corrals or long-term pastures. All these animals, whether on or off the range, are protected by the BLM under the 1971 law.