Nevada Chapter encourages public comments in Washoe County

Our NV state Chapter is actively engaged with the Truckee Meadows Land Management Act (https://www.landsbill.org/). This Act includes proposals for both public land disposal and protection in Washoe County that is meant to guide future growth as well as make conservation set-asides that could benefit our public lands.

As with past Nevada lands bills, this one has the potential to result in positive benefits for a variety of interests as long as stakeholders are given real opportunities for engagement and those desiring properly managed public lands, show up and participate. To that end, we encourage you to attend and provide input at the Stakeholder Meeting this week in Reno:

Thursday, February 20, 2020 from 4pm-7pm

Reno-Sparks Convention Center

4590 S. Virginia St. Reno, NV 89502

These land bills naturally involve a diverse suite of perspectives and values. We encourage BHA members to engage and provide their own thoughts on the proposal. Even if the details vary a little, ensuring Nevada sportsmen are heard in this process is important to ensure the future of Nevada’s wildlife and recreational opportunities.

Below is Nevada BHA’s current position on this issue. As this is an evolving process, we may continue to shape and refine our stance on some of the details.

Conservation Portion:

  • We appreciate the NV Congressional delegation taking the lead and encourage a thorough process that reflects the long-term nature of these decisions. We are obliged to demand a fair trade in return for public land disposal and thus significant conservation designations are required for the legislation as a whole to be successful.

 

  • While we support setting aside special public lands for protection, we also see a continued need to actively manage our wildlife and habitat resources with on-the-ground projects. Nevada’s wildlife are threatened by wildfire, invasive weeds, unmanaged free-roaming horse/burro populations, pinyon-juniper encroachment, and degraded water sources. These are landscape-scale threats that require active management, and if left unaddressed, will forever change our wild places.

 

  • We support special designations to protect many of the areas listed in the conservation portion, but are wary of Wilderness designations because of the associated difficulties in actively managing these specific lands for the benefit of wildlife. In many cases across Nevada, including Washoe County, a hands-off approach is not the best for our wildlife. Many of these areas are at high risk and lack natural resistance and resilience to many of the threats facing Nevada’s habitats. While wilderness-type values are at the core of BHA, we need to support decisions that do not limit wildlife and habitat rehabilitation and restoration projects. For that reason, we support designations such as National Conservation Area(NCA) that address the threat of future development, maintain primitive access, but do not limit the ability of resource agencies to implement on-the-ground projects.

Disposal/Development Portion:

  • We recognize that many Nevada communities are land-locked by public lands and need additional space for community benefit. To the greatest extent possible, we support infill projects, park enhancements, trails and funds for preserving open space.

 

  • We are generally opposed to the large acreage of public lands that are currently within the disposal boundary and have significant wildlife value.

 

  • We strongly believe in removing the Sand Hills, Virginia Range, Pah Rah Range, Peterson Mountains, Dogskin Mountains, and Bedell Flats from the disposal area. These areas contain important wildlife habitat and recreational areas. Including these in the disposal will limit public review on future development projects. As an alternative, these areas could be considered within the conservation portion of the Act.

As with any large-scale landscape effort, there are a lot of details and nuances that can result in the success of the final outcome. Planning at this scale is difficult, but your voice counts. Please attend a meeting or write a letter showing support for Nevada’s wildlife and sportsmen & women.

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