Nevada ARRA Feature Story 2010

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BLM Nevada Utilizes ARRA Funding to Support Local Nevada Economies

On Feb. 13, 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 at the urging of President Barack Obama, who signed it into law four days later. A direct response to the economic crisis, the $787 billion Recovery Act has three immediate goals:

• Create new jobs and save existing ones
• Spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth
• Foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) nominated projects and received $305 million of ARRA money to fund more than 650 projects across the country. BLM Nevada received more than $28.1 million in stimulus money to fund 42 ARRA projects throughout the state. To date, BLM Nevada has obligated more than $27.1 million (96.1%) and invested/spent more than $17.9 million (63.8%).

ARRA stimulus funding was focused on renewable energy, habitat restoration, construction and deferred maintenance, abandoned mine work, capital improvements, and road, bridge and trail maintenance and construction. Most of the work on public lands is being done by contractors, who hire local workers, generating jobs and sustaining the local job market. The 19 BLM Nevada ARRA projects completed during fiscal year 2010 created 148 jobs.

“These were all projects that needed to be done and were waiting to be funded,” said BLM Nevada State Director Ron Wenker. “The stimulus provided the opportunity to get them done.”

Nevada 2010 ARRA Highlights 

The Sand Mountain Recreation Area east of Fallon is a major attraction for off-highway vehicle riders and sandboarders. A $1.02 million ARRA project to pave the entrance road between U.S. Highway 50 and Sand Mountain now provides safe access to the recreation area for thousands of visitors who ride the dunes every year. Fallon subcontractor A&K Construction spent more than $500,000 to acquire materials from local merchants and businesses for the project.

Contract workers on-site ranged from 2-15 per day from July through September. The project was completed on September 30, 2010. 

View of Sand Mountain entrance road looking north.                    New fee entrance station under construction
View of Sand Mountain entrance road looking north.                           New fee entrance station under construction: Looking north
                                                                                                   to the new Sand Mountain fee entrance station. Note that
                                                                                                   the windows have not yet been installed, nor has
                                                                                                   the pavement been striped.

Metal and acid contamination from the Rip Van Winkle mill site tailings in northeastern Nevada posed a threat to the federally-listed Lahontan cutthroat trout in nearby Maggie Creek. A $326,000 ARRA project removed the lead and zinc mill concentrates from the site and added them to a nearby tailing repository pond. Contract workers pulled acidic rock from Coon Creek and replaced it with native soil. All construction funding was funneled into the local economy. The project was completed on September 14, 2010.

Lower mill buildings at Rip Van Winkle               Rip Creek diversion and reclaimed ponds
Lower mill buildings at Rip Van Winkle.                                   Rip Creek diversion and reclaimed ponds: In the
                                                                                         middle foreground the extensive armored creek
                                                                                         channel diversion is visible, moving flowing water
                                                                                         around the tailings to avoid contact with them.

Lahontan cutthroat trout habitat across northern Nevada has sustained damage from grazing animals because the protective riparian fencing exclosures have fallen into disrepair. A $249,000 ARRA project has repaired 42 miles of fencing on five exclosures across northwestern and north-central Nevada. The project employed anywhere from 5-10 contract workers, who made local purchases of food, water and other supplies. The project was completed on September 27, 2010. 

During 2010, the BLM Nevada completed 19 ARRA projects at a cost of $5.3 million. Fourteen projects are scheduled for completion during Fiscal Year 2011 and six are scheduled for completion in FY 2012. Three of the 42 projects are part of the BLM Washington Office Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

Washburn exclosure prior to Maintenance                South Fork Humboldt Exclosure drainage crossing after maintenance completed.
Washburn exclosure prior to maintenance.                                         South Fork Humboldt Exclosure drainage crossing 
                                                                                                    after maintenance completed.