BLM Budget Focuses on Wild Horses and Sage Grouse

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - Wild-horse fertility control and sage-grouse habitat conservation are among top priorities in the proposed $1.1 billion budget for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

President Barack Obama's budget for the 2015 fiscal year calls for an increase of $2.8 million in funding for the agency's wild horse and burro program, and would allow it to continue studies to develop more effective contraceptive drugs and techniques.

The BLM has pledged to step up the use of fertility control as an alternative to controversial roundups of what it calls overpopulated mustang herds on U.S. rangelands in the West.

The proposed budget also maintains funding for the BLM's initiative to conserve sage-grouse habitat in the West to avoid the bird's listing as an endangered or threatened species.