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Ecological Assessment Central Basin and Range Nevada
Assessment Will Highlight and Map Areas of High Ecological Value in Central Nevada
Project: Prepare a rapid ecoregional assessment (REA) will synthesize existing information about resource conditions and trends within the Central Basin and Range ecoregion. Specifically, it will highlight and map areas of high ecological value, including important wildlife habitats and corridors, and gauge the potential risks from climate change, wildfires, invasive species, energy development, and urban growth. The REA will also map areas that have high energy development potential and relatively low ecological value, which could be best-suited for siting future renewable energy development.
ARRA Funding Level: $789,000
May 9, 2011: $781,592 obligated, $289,668 spent. The project consists of seven tasks. Tasks 1 through 3 have been completed; the project is about 38 percent complete. Task 1 developed and refined management questions; Task 2 located and assessed potential datasets for use by the REA; and in Task 3, conceptual models were developed to model conservation elements of importance to land managers. In Task 4, which is now underway and slated to finish by June 1, the results and guidance made by the Assessment Management Team are being brought together in the REA Work Plan, which will guide the Phase II assessment process. The project will take about 20 months to complete, with expected completion in February 2012.
Contracts: The contract for the Central Basin and Range REA was awarded in June 2010 to NatureServe, which is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Primary NatureServe project employees are located in Boulder, Colorado, and subcontractors are located in several western states.
Completion target date: February 2012
Jobs: At least 5 contract workers will provide support for 12-plus fields of expertise, including biology, soil science, land use planning, geographic information systems and information technology.
Local purchases: Some lodging, food, fuel and supplies will be purchased in local areas.
Benefits and Needs: This assessment will develop strategies to guide solar and wind renewable energy development and to address threats to native plant communities in the Commission for Environmental Cooperation Level III Central Basin and Range Ecoregion in central Nevada, western Utah and southeast California. The results of the REA will be used by BLM staff, partner agencies, stakeholders, and Native American tribes, to identify key management priorities for the public lands within the Central Basin and Range Ecoregion.
Background: This area is the southern extent of sage-grouse range in Nevada. It also includes the entire Bi-State (Mono) sage-grouse population range in Nevada and California.