Nevada Senators Urge Administrative Action to Conserve 350,000 Acres of Habitat in Ruby Mountains

News for Immediate Release
Aug. 25, 2023
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, [email protected]

WASHINGTON – A critical migration corridor for Nevada’s largest mule deer herd, expansive sage grouse habitat, and robust fisheries including Lahontan cutthroat trout, the Nevada state fish, would be conserved under a proposal from the Nevada Senate delegation.

Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) delivered a letter to the Department of the Interior this week requesting a 20-year administrative withdrawal of nearly 350,000 acres of public lands and waters in northeast Nevada’s Ruby Mountains. The proposal would prohibit oil and gas leasing on more than 300,000 acres of the Ruby Mountains subdistrict of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and nearly 40,000 acres of the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

The senators’ proposal is the latest action undertaken to ensure the region’s conservation. The Ruby Mountains Protection Act, introduced in March of this year by Sen. Cortez Masto and cosponsored by Sen. Rosen, would permanently conserve these public lands and waters by codifying a mineral withdrawal. This legislation was reported by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in May with bipartisan support. Yet to date it has failed to advance through Congress.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has supported this legislation across three Congresses and remains a vocal advocate for securing long-term solutions that elevate conservation in the Ruby Mountains. Given the inability of the bill to move through Congress, BHA supports administrative action being taken to withdraw important fish and wildlife habitat in Nevada.

“We commend the stalwart leadership of Sens. Cortez Masto and Rosen to secure thoughtful conservation outcomes for the Ruby Mountains – a paradise for hunters and anglers,” said John Gale, BHA vice president of policy and government relations. “While we hope to see the Rubies permanently protected for generations to come, the 20-year withdrawal is a critical step that can be taken now to safeguard seasonal big game migration and other critical fish and wildlife habitats.

“Hunters and anglers rely on healthy intact lands and waters to pursue our outdoor traditions,” Gale continued. “A mineral withdrawal for this treasured landscape will not only prevent avoidable habitat loss and fragmentation; it also would ensure that multiple-use obligations and active management will continue.”

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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