U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
Nevada ARRA Feature Story 2011
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BLM Nevada tackles 20 remaining ARRA projects

BLM Nevada is prepared to keep the momentum achieved in 2010 going as we finish up 19 projects and tackle 20 more in our effort to get American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding and jobs in local communities, while focusing on renewable energy, habitat restoration, construction and deferred maintenance, abandoned mine work, capital improvements, and road, bridge and trail maintenance and construction.

The Bureau invested more than $7.9 million in its remaining 20 ARRA projects through Nevada during fiscal year 2010, and by the end of 2012 will be investing an additional $10.9 million. Fourteen of these projects are scheduled for completion during fiscal year 2011, and six are scheduled for completion in 2012.

The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 was designed to:
• 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) 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. In fiscal year 2010, BLM Nevada obligated more than $27.1 million (96.1%) and invested/spent more than $17.9 million (63.8%).

Most of the work on the public land projects is being done by contractors who hire local workers, generating jobs in our communities. The 20 remaining BLM Nevada ARRA projects will create an estimated 224 jobs by the time they are all completed in 2012.

Remediation of Abandoned Mines

Stimulus funding presented BLM Nevada with a unique opportunity to step up its abandoned mine remediation efforts throughout the Silver State.

"Funding for abandoned mine chemical and physical safety problems in Nevada has never been equal to the enormity of the problems,” said Chris Ross, abandoned mine land program lead for BLM Nevada. “When news of the ARRA funding first came out, we immediately recognized a ‘once-in-a-career’ opportunity to take care of some of our longest-running problems.”

Thousands of historic abandoned mines are scattered throughout Clark County. These abandoned mines can be hard to see for off-highway vehicle riders and can be an attractive, dangerous nuisance for hikers and other outdoor recreationists. The $1.6 million Clark County Abandoned Mine Lands project will permanently close high-priority hazardous abandoned mine sites in by using environmentally and culturally sound methods to preserve historic features and wildlife habitat. Site work includes conducting cultural and biological surveys, building and installing bat gates and grates, or backfilling with dirt or blown-in foam.

So far, crews have filled, closed or remediated 111 shafts, adits and other hazards near Las Vegas and other southern Nevada communities. The work is being done by crews from the Bureau of Reclamation’s Snake River Area Office in Boise, Idaho. Crews are purchasing supplies, crew support, vehicle maintenance, lodging and meals for crews, and steel for construction of bat gates in the local area.

The helicopter has just lowered the culvert gate into the shaft and the crew is preparing to mix and apply foam around it.     Close-up of bat gate lowered into a mine shaft.
The helicopter has just lowered the culvert gate               Close-up of bat gate lowered into a mine shaft.
into the shaft and the crew is preparing to mix
and apply foam around it. Foam bags awaiting use
are visible to left of shaft.

Work on the $1.5 million Northern Nevada Abandoned Mine Lands project is projected to start in late summer 2011. Crews from the Bureau of Reclamation’s Snake River Area Office in Boise, Idaho, will continue the remediation work, closing high-priority hazardous abandoned mine sites by using the same environmentally and culturally sound methods to preserve historic features and wildlife habitat. The scheduled completion date for the project is September 30, 2012.

“We’ve completed several large projects and are well underway with several others that were so big we never envisioned being able to do more than nibble at them over time,” said Ross. “The benefits to the environment and the safety of public land users will be realized for decades or centuries to come."

A typical abandoned mine safety hazard within this project. This steep decline is very deep and largely concealed, making it typical of sites that will be addressed by this project.     Another very deep and dangerous abandoned mine being remediated in this project clearly shows the instability of the geology of these mines, most of them along seismic faults.
A typical abandoned mine safety hazard                Another very deep and dangerous abandoned
within this project. This steep decline is very           mine being remediated in this project clearly
deep and largely concealed, making it typical         shows the instability of the geology of these 
of sites that will be addressed by this project.         mines, most of them along seismic faults.
                                                                        Note the wooden beam in the upper center 
                                                                        in the mine, installed to prevent the hanging
                                                                        wall and foot wall from collapsing
                                                                        into each other.

Other BLM Nevada ARRA Projects

The Bootstraps Youth Program is a program developed by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension that takes at-risk youth who are out of school and not working and puts them into a system that develops work ethics, helps them obtain General Equivalency Diplomas (GEDs) and write resumes, and teaches them what is expected of them in the work environment. BLM Nevada has partnered with Bootstraps on a $499,000 ARRA project to fence more than 50 acres of sage grouse riparian habitat in Lander and Eureka counties, as well as to thin pinyon and juniper trees on 1,500 acres of sage grouse habitat.

Thinning operations have been completed on 900 acres in the Bald Mountain area of Lander County, and eight fences encompassing 20 acres of sage grouse riparian habitat were completed in the Carico Lake Allotment in Lander County. The project has employed 17 partner-supported youth hires, two crew bosses and a field supervisor, who are purchasing lodging, food, fuel and other operational supplies locally. The scheduled completion date for the project is November 30, 2012.

2010 Bootstraps Crew       After Bootstraps Thinning on Bald Mountain in the Toiyabe Mountain Range, Lander County: Rattlesnake Canyon after bootstraps thinning.
2010 Bootstraps Crew                                          After Bootstraps Thinning on Bald Mountain
                                                                        in the Toiyabe Mountain Range, Lander County:
                                                                        Rattlesnake Canyon after bootstraps thinning.
                                                                        Area has a wet meadow used by sage grouse
                                                                        and is open sage brush behind point where
                                                                        picture was taken.

Twenty years of catastrophic wildfires have destroyed a number of Wyoming big sagebrush communities in the Tuscarora population management unit for sage grouse north of Battle Mountain. A rapid expansion of cheatgrass and other invasive grasses followed in the wake of the wildfires, further degrading wildlife habitat. The $937,000 Tuscarora Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration project has targeted 10,000 acres of the unit’s sagebrush habitat for restoration.

Project purchases have included 94,650 pounds of seed, as well as fencing materials and herbicide. Some of the project work was awarded to local contractors, and all contractors are purchasing fuel, food and lodging in the local area. Nine separate contractors have been hired for cultural inventory field work, fence material, seed buy, aerial herbicide application, protective fence construction, harrowing, drill seeding and aerial seeding. The project is providing jobs for 35 contract workers.

Restoration of this area will improve habitat for sage grouse, mule deer, pygmy rabbit and pronghorn antelope. It will also improve overall watershed health, reduce the incidence of catastrophic fires in cheatgrass dominated areas and reduce erosion. The scheduled completion date for the project is January 31, 2011.

Harrowing taking place after aerial seeding of shrubs and forbs.     Rooster's Comb herbicide, contractor sprays herbicide to control cheatgrass.
Harrowing taking place after aerial seeding of         Rooster's Comb herbicide: contractor sprays 
shrubs and forbs: Spike tooth pasture harrows        herbicide to control cheatgrass, as a seedbed 
used to cover aerial applied sagebrush and            prep is aerially applied via contractor.
forb seed in an existing 1985 Fire Rehabiliation      Cheatgrass die-off area in background.
Drill seeding of primarily crested wheatgrass.          Cheatgrass has started to come back this
The area has experienced two fires since                spring in the die-off area. 
the 1985 Rock Creek Fire.

Renewable energy is a national priority for the Department of the Interior and the BLM. The $1.68 million Nevada Solar Powered Facilities project will involve installation of power-generating solar panels and parking shade structures at six locations throughout the state, including: the Eureka Fire Facility, the Tonopah Field Office, the Caliente Field Office, the Pony Springs Fire Facility, the Logandale Fire Station and the Pahrump Fire Station. The proposed power systems will include ground-mounted arrays and covered parking structures with solar panels built into the roofs.

Each ground array will generate between 5-10 kilowatts of power with the parking arrays producing 10-20 kilowatts of power each. The solar power systems will provide clean power for the Bureau’s use, with surplus power made available to the local electric utility. This project will reduce the Bureau’s carbon foot print and provide a savings in utility payments. The project will employ 10 contract workers for approximately five months, and contract workers will purchase lodging, food, fuel and other operational supplies in the local areas. Project work started in early October 2010, and the scheduled completion date is February 28, 2011.

Workers pour concrete into excavation with vibration to help consolidation at Eureka Fire Facility.     View of south side of solar panels, Eureka Fire Facility.
Workers pour concrete into excavation with            View of south side of solar panels,
vibration to help consolidation                              Eureka Fire Facility.
at Eureka Fire Facility. 

The Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area (NCA) is managed by the BLM’s Black Rock Field Office in Winnemucca, which is 100 miles by gravel road from Gerlach. The long commute limits the time that the BLM can put boots on the ground in the Black Rock area.

The $3.58 million Black Rock National Conservation Area Administrative Facility project is building a facility near Gerlach to support management of the NCA and other public lands managed by the BLM in northwestern Nevada. The shared-use facility will include: an 1,800 square foot combined office and visitor information building; a 2,100 square foot barracks building; an 1,800 square foot warehouse building; and an 11,000 square foot fenced storage yard.

The shared-use compound will have a visitor center that will serve as a point of contact in this remote area as well as a place to get information about the area. The visitor center will be primarily staffed by members of the Friends of Black Rock. Other facilities will include office space, employee temporary housing and storage and work areas. The compound will also serve as a secure location for staging fire and law enforcement resources during critical times.

The project will employ an estimated 50 contract workers and will take nine months to complete. The economic impact on the Gerlach area will be substantial. Design work on the project was completed on March 16, 2010, and the scheduled project completion date is May 6, 2011.

View of entire site showing footings for the Administrative Building and Barracks Building on the left.  Slab for the Storage building on the right.     View of concrete in formwork of Barracks Building looking west.
View of entire site showing footings for the             View of concrete in formwork of Barracks
Administrative Building and Barracks Building         Building looking west.
on the left. Slab for the Storage building
building on the right. 


 
Last updated: 02-04-2011