U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council
June 10 & 11, 2004
BLM Elko Field Office, Elko, Nevada
June 10 - Tour of Newmont Gold Quarry Facilities, Maggie Creek Restoration Sites, And California Trail Center Site
Resource Advisory Council (RAC) Members Present and Category Represented:
Duane Erickson (2) Environmental
Vince Garcia (3) Native American
Dave Gaskin (3) State Agency
Richard Hankins (2) Wildlife
Les Hansen (2) Recreation
Patsy Tomera (3) Public At Large
Dave Tattam (2) Wild Horse & Burro
Hank Vogler (1) Grazing
Jeff White (1) Energy/Minerals
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Representatives Present:
Mike Brown Public Affairs Officer, Elko Field Office
Carol Evans Riparian Specialist, Elko Field Office
Dave Stout Associate Field Manager, Elko Field Office
Donna Nyrehn Rangeland Management Specialist, Elko Field Office
Dan Grallion TS Ranch Manager
Mary Korpi Communications Chief, Newmont Mining
Tom Tomera Public
9:30 a.m. Tour Departed Elko
- Mary Korpi, Chief of Communications, Newmont Mining Gold Quarry, joined the tour at Newmont. Steve Marinovich, Newmont Environmental/Water Engineer, and Mark DeVaugh, Newmont Environmental Reclamation also joined the tour, passed out hard hats, and gave a safety briefing.
- Stop 1 – Overlook of the Gold Quarry Pit. Mark Lafton, Chief Engineer for Newmont’s Gold Quarry operation, briefed the tour group.
- Mark Lafoon commented that in 2005, the billionth ton of ore will come out of the pit. Currently, 140,000 tons of ore per day are hauled out of the pit. Twelve million ounces of gold have come out of the pit to date. The pit is 1100’ deep and is 700’ below the water table. The water is pumped off from six wells and the water is not bad. There is an additional 300’ – 400’ yet to be mined below the current pit bottom. Most ore goes to the "roaster." Some silver is also recovered.
- Lafton and the RAC discussed water quality issues and reclamation issues.
- Stop 2 – Reclamation Area Overlook. Megan Tibbals, Newmont Carlin Closure and Reclamation Department, briefed the tour group on reclamation activities. Thirty different species are planted. Tibbals also discussed concurrent reclamation, handling water, and bio-leaching.
- Jeff White talked about heap leach pads and milling process. White also discussed monitoring and working with Nevada Department of Environmental Protection (NDEP). A lot of monitoring, design, and engineering go into Newmont’s reclamation. Reclamation is planned up front in the beginning stages of projects. White also discussed the importance of reclamation, high costs of bonding as a result of September 11, 2001, fire rehabilitation, and land patenting.
- Dave Tattam asked about the rate of returning reclaimed lands to other uses.Lunch break at Gold Quarry Administrative Offices
- Dave McClaren, Newmont Eastern Nevada Processing Manager, discussed processing technology noting that there are different processing methods used for different grades of gold.
- Jeff White noted that Newmont employs 27,000 people in Nevada and produced 2.2 million ounces of gold in 2003. Newmont employees are active in their communities and participate in United Way and other charities. White also discussed alternative uses of the Newmont facilities when they shut down at the end of the mine life. They are looking at sustainable land uses.
- Hank Vogler commented that he supports the mining industry, its new wealth coming out of the ground.- Stop 3 – Maggie Creek Restoration Area. Dan Grallion and Carol Evans discussed range management and how it impacted riparian recovery. They also talked about the potential of the uplands.
- Much discussion about the causes of riparian degradation to a stream besides grazing.- Stop 4 – Maggie Creek Restoration Area Photo Point. The tour group looked at several photographs show before and after conditions, and the change. There was additional group discussion about grazing management its impacts on riparian systems.- Stop 5 – Maggie Creek Restoration Area Culvert Sites. Carol Evans discussed an upcoming project with Newmont to replace culverts which will allow better stream migration of Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.
- Jeff White closed out Maggie Creek portion of the tour and talked about the value of partnership.- Stop 6 - California National Historic Trail Interpretive Center Site. Mike Brown talked about plans for the Trail Center and discussed the role of the partners and the impending land donation for Center site.Tour ended at 4:30 p.m.
************************************************************************June 11th - Business Meeting in the Elko Field Office
Resource Advisory Council (RAC) Members Present and Category Represented:Duane Erickson (2) Environmental
Vince Garcia (3) Native American
Dave Gaskin (3) State Agency\
Richard Hankins (2) Wildlife
Les Hansen (2) Recreation
Patsy Tomera (3) Public At Large
Dave Tattam (2) Wild Horse & Burro
Bill Upton (1) Energy/Minerals
Hank Vogler (1) Grazing
Jeff White (1) Energy/MineralsBureau of Land Management (BLM) Representatives Present:Mike Brown Public Affairs Officer, Elko Field Office
Maxine Perrine Range Clerk, Elko Field Office
Jerry Smith Field Manager, Battle Mountain Field Office
Dave Stout Associate Field Manager, Elko Field Office
Jeff Weeks Assistant Field Manager, Ely Field OfficeOther Attendees:Sherri Eklund-Brown Elko County Commissioner
June McMillen Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Forest Service9:05 a.m. RAC Chairwoman Patsy Tomera welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order. Everyone introduced themselves. Tomera thanked Newmont for hosting the tour.
- A minute of silence was observed in memory of President Reagan.
I. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
-Minutes from the prior meeting were reviewed and two minor corrections need to be made.Jeff White made a motion to approve the minutes with corrections. The motion was seconded by Hank Vogler. All in favor.
II. REPORT OF RAC CHAIRS MEETING IN PHOENIX- Patsy Tomera reported on her trip to Phoenix to attend the National RAC Chairs meeting. She went over the questions that the RAC members asked her to carry forward. On the issue of fuel treatment funding, BLM Washington Office personnel said they are donating as much money as they can.
- Regarding the Federal Register issue, a task force has been formed in Washington. In the current process, a Notice goes from one person’s desk to another person’s desk. If there is any dislike then the process is hindered. They are considering appointing a RAC member to part of the task force.
- For the Streamlining Section 106 Compliance issue, another task force is looking at this concern. Five major questions will be sent to the BLM for response.
- For the Wilderness Update, 16 million acres are waiting for Congress to make a decision. No action can be taken until Congress makes that decision.
- Regarding the RS 2477 roads issue, roads before 1976 are considered to be BLM roads. Tomera referred to a recent article in the Elko paper about roads – which almost every road is a County road and yet they don’t maintain them. General discussion about Elko County roads and associated costs.
- Kathleen Clarke recently met with Senator Robert Bird (WV) about getting $12 million additional funding for the wild horse program. The Las Vegas RAC representative pointed out that the funds to care for wild horses in sanctuaries comes out first before Nevada BLM receives money for gathers.
- Tomera also commented that the RAC Chairs were asked "What can BLM do to improve business practices?" A letter will come from the Washington Office requesting suggestions.
- Tomera noted that 1200 acres per day in Nevada is the current noxious weed spread. Also, the BLM has to go to narrow band radios and the old radios are for sale to volunteer fire departments for $25 each. General discussion about selling the radios and communications with volunteer fire departments, and compatibility.
- Hank Vogler asked if the proposed law enforcement regulations were discussed?
- Patsy Tomera said the proposed regulations were not discussed at the meeting in Phoenix.
- Jerry Smith talked about the intent of the regulations and general discussion followed about the proposed regulations.
- Patsy Tomera introduced Sherri Eklund-Brown who is sitting in for Commissioner John Ellison.
- Vince Garcia described going to the RAC Chair meeting last year and asked the same questions at Patsy; and the answer is they will do a study and need more information.
We have a national RAC Office, what do they do?
- Patsy Tomera responded that they form new task forces. For the Sustaining Working Landscapes initiative, it was shelved as there were too many other things going on. Geo-caching and Burning Man were discussed as Recreation issues. The BLM issued 32,000 special events permits last year. OHV issues were brought up and BLM will be look at the growth over the next ten years. The term "limits" on signs was brought up and the need for BLM to explain it. Grazing was not discussed much. Listing sage grouse is a huge concern and impacts that would cause. Fran Cherry would like to have the next RAC Chair meeting in Elko.9:30 a.m. Chairwoman Tomera announced the Public Comment period is open
- Sherri Eklund-Brown commented the Elko County Commissioners voted to not support the proposed law enforcement regulations.
- Hank Vogler asked if people are arrested by the BLM, they would have to go to Reno; what is the process?
- Sherri Eklund-Brown said BLM would turn it over to the sheriff’s office. There are isolated areas that need the law enforcement, like California or Colorado. They should do it in every state not just Nevada. You can work with local law enforcement.
- Richard Hankins commented that we have the BLM law enforcement that helps the Forest Service.
- Sherri Eklund-Brown noted she understands that we have problems, but it’s not a good idea for the BLM to get involved. They suggested BLM just address the problem areas. They need to do a better job with the media and work with Sheriffs in Nevada. The Sheriff handles problems with alcohol and kids now.
- Hank Vogler discussed that it would not be cost productive for rangers to issue tickets.
- Les Hansen noted that Humboldt County supports the proposed regulations.
- Patsy Tomera commented she would much rather see the kids go out and party in a gravel pit, than on the roads.9:45 a.m. Chairwoman Tomera called for a break
10:00 a.m. Chairwoman Tomera called the meeting back to order
III. ELY RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN UPDATE
- Jeff Weeks said that the contractor sent out the preliminary Draft and the document is 1200 pages long. Ely BLM will be meeting on June 29 and 30 for comments, then the contractor will go back and revise then mid- to late August and it will be sent to the public. A smaller version will be sent out on compact disk and it will also be posted on the internet. The Ely Field Office will hold public meetings in September and October. The Executive Summary is 50 pages long and 2700 people are on the mailing list.
- Patsy Tomera asked about the involvement of the Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition.
- Jeff Weeks said they will be meeting today and tour this weekend and will visit the site of the dead horses.
- Hank Vogler commented on the dead horses situation. BLM built an exclosure in an area that had been hammered by horses. Water was piped into. Someone closed a gate and didn’t see the horses in the exclosure, and they were trapped.
- Jeff Weeks described BLM’s restoration efforts in the valley – the North Antelope Research Project. There was a lack of communication about the gate and seven horses were found dead. They have since wired the gates open.
- Dave Tattam asked why the gates were left open.
- Jeff Weeks explained that they’re left open in case the water dries up. It’s a 3400-acre project and 11 miles of fence. The horses bent the fence trying to get to water.
- Hank Vogler noted that seven horses can’t be pushed through a 4-wire fend. There are two or three people from Utah who open gates and cut fence.
- Jeff Week commented BLM is looking into the situation. The pasture was an experimental project to reseed a cheatgrass area.
- Dave Tattam asked if there is a push to move the Palomino Valley Center to Ely.
- Jeff Weeks commented there is interest in creating another facility in Ely.
- Patsy Tomera suggested if a facility is built to make sure that the horses have some shade.IV.
FIELD MANAGERS’ AND DISTRICT RANGERS REPORTS
- Jerry Smith reported everything is going well in the Battle Mountain Field Office. There are lots of projects. One issue is there are 18 vacancies and we have only filled 3. It will start to have an impact on customer service. We have retirements, and it does have an impact on the permittees. They are working with us and we are working with it
- Patsy Tomera asked about the status of a new power line to Barrick.
- Jerry Smith explained that it was a power plant proposal, but it’s going to Story County.
- Jeff White request a copy of the specifications for a weed removal wash station from Jerry Smith.
- Sherri Eklund-Brown had two questions for Jerry Smith – regarding the dewatering from the Cortez mining operations, does all the water stay in the basin or does it go into the Humboldt; and regarding the Elko County Cooperative Weed Management Area – they are developing map of land ownership of the Humboldt and is anyone from Battle Mountain involved?
- Jerry Smith responded that the water stays in the basin and the Humboldt River is not in the Battle Mountain District where it enters the basin, it’s in the Elko District.
- Discussion about the Humboldt River area, Lander County, partnerships, and weed funding issues.
- Patsy Tomera commented there is a big patch of leafy spurge at the Carlin Tunnel that wasn’t there before. Discussion about leafy spurge and it’s impacts.
- Dave Stout updated the RAC on several topics:
- The Final Multiple Use Decision on Rock Creek is delayed; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is still working on it.
- Mary’s River Allotment Evaluation should be completed by the end of the year.
- If the Wild Horse and Burro funding reprogramming effort is approved, the Elko Field Office will do three gathers this year.
- The land exchange with the City of Elko is moving forward. The exchange is for ten acres. Part of the long-term plan is for BLM to co-locate offices with the Forest Service. We hope to move the Forest Service ware yard here next year. The estimated cost is $11 million. The first project would be constructing a barracks for the fire hot shots. The hot shots are currently at the old fire station downtown. This would also provide housing for seasonal fire fighters.
- The Regional Seed Warehouse project is stalled.
- The second law enforcement ranger will be here the end of the month.
- Patsy Tomera would like to invite Nevada Division of Wildlife to provide an activity/project report to the RAC similar to the BLM Field Manager and Forest Service Ranger report. At a minimum, the RAC would like a report once a year. Discussion about the HawkWatch project.
- Hank Vogler asked if the BLM is still planning to fence the reset of the Highway 93 right-or-way from Wells to Loggies Junction. The fencing is impacting horses – killing them. The water is on one side of the road and the feed is on the other – creating a problem.
- Dave Stout will check with NDOT to find the answer.
- Patsy Tomera asked for an update on the MOU between BLM and NDEP?
- Dave Stout commented that there is progress on it; possibly this month or early next month for completion.
- Jerry Smith briefed the RAC on additional topics.
Though they are not in this RAC area, right now there are five vacant allotments in Tonopah these have been vacated due to actions (Hage and Colvin). Litigations are pending. We are looking at evaluating the MaGruder allotment and looking at creating forage banks.
We had a Hage hearing in Reno last week. Part of the issue is definitions of fee lands and patented lands. The hearing lasted three weeks and it could be two years before a decision is reached by the judge.
- Hank Vogler noted this has gone on for 12 years
- Jerry Smith commented that Hage is still in trespass. He discussed permits and issuance of notice of intent to impound.
- Patsy Tomera asked Dave Stout to look into the question of grazing on the South Buckhorn Allotment and noted it is a fire hazard. Tomera also noted that she is on a horse- free allotment and asked what to do.
- Jerry Smith said that if the horses move to a private area, they can be moved them if you give a request to the district manager.
- Discussion about ownership of horses, private property, and the horses near Virginia City.
- Sherri Eklund-Brown asked about the status of the California Trail Center project.
- Mike Brown said the land transfer ran into problems with the paper work – the name on the transfer paperwork - Maggie Creek Ranch – is different than on the deed. The issue is with the attorney generals office. BLM is hoping this is the last hurdle.
-Patsy Tomera noted that the name difference can be a problem. Tomera asked about Proper Functioning Condition Workshop.
- Dave Stout said the class went well. BLM is talking about the possibility of hosting a range school - training on the range has been successful in Colorado. Part of it is done in the winter and then field work in the summer.
- June McMillen updated the RAC on Forest Service activities. The Forest Service will be doing more prescribed burning across the state the next two years. The Ely Ranger District will do one burn this year. The local district is planning for one in Jarbidge and Mountain City next year. She also discussed interagency fire planning.
- Dave Stout commented that the Fire Management Plans have to be done by the end of June. BLM is working with all districts on this.
- Hank Vogler asked if a fire went from BLM to Forest Service lands, is there coordination?
- Dave Stout explained that the land use plans are what dictates what will happen, so there may be different levels of suppression.
- Richard Hankins asked if the planned Current Creek burn will conflict with hunting season. There have been fires started during opening seasons.
- June McMillen will relay this concern to the District Ranger
- Patsy Tomera asked where are the lands to be acquired under SNPLMA?
- June McMillen responded the lands are the J.L. Ranch, Clover Valley, and Grays Lake.
- Sherri Eklund-Brown discussed SNPLMA land transactions in Elko County. SNPLMA proposals from Lee Livestock were also discussed
- Vince Garcia asked what is Lee Livestock proposing.
- Sherri Eklund-Brown said they are proposing 3000 acres, so far they have been denied.
- Hank Vogler commented that something has to be done. It is going to get to the point that if there is water on there, they will be sensitive lands.
- June McMillen noted that the Ruby Mountain District Ranger job is still open.
- Sherri Eklund-Brown reported that she attended a meeting in Reno about the revision of the Forest Management Plan. The ranchers have a problem with the difference in the Forest and BLM management plans. There needs to be a standard plan so that it can be worked with. They can’t understand why they can’t be similar.
V. MINING UPDATE
- Dave Gaskin thanked Jeff White for hosting the tour to Newmont and updated the RAC on mining issues
The state is still working with BLM for cost estimates and reclamation issues
The Emigrant Project NEPA process has begun
We issued the reclamation permit for the Phoenix Project on the Battle Mountain Field Office area.
We have an experimental joint inspection with the BLM and people from my group. We are going to see if we want to use this in other areas.
We’re working with BLM for bonding updates.
Seven exploration permits are going on and we are staying busy.
- Jeff White distributed the Abandoned Mines Program Report for 2003. White suggested that the Division of Minerals give the RAC a presentation about abandoned mines. He said that Bill Durban of the Division of Minerals is in town today at the Gold Mining Expo at the convention center.
- Patsy Tomera reminded the RAC that there will be public meeting on June 16 on the Emigrant Mine.
-Mike Brown added that the Emigrant meeting is for scoping and the meeting will be from 2-7. It’s an opportunity for the public to address the issues, this is an informal meeting.
- Bill Upton discussed working with wind energy and production tax credits. Alternative energy companies are finding if difficult working with NEPA and timeframes that are 3 years into the future – it’s an issue that limits development .
-Jerry Smith talked about a Draft EIS to amend all land use plans in Nevada for alternative energy for wind and geothermal energy development. A contract was awarded that would amend the land use plans for the wind. It’s not out to the public; it’s with us for review. The idea is to speed up the process.
- Vince Garcia asked if GPS games are permitted on BLM land?
- Jerry Smith said they are not.
- Jeff White discussed geo-caching – things are hidden – they’re not buried so nothing is dug up. General discussion about geo-caching.
- Les Hansen explained the process of how the GPS games are played. People log onto www.geochch.com register and find locations where they hide these things in sage, etc. ATVs and horses are used; we do follow the agencies guidelines before these are set up.
This is a family friendly activity; these caches are all over the country so if you are traveling it’s a good family activity. He also described where a few of these caches are in northeastern Nevada.
- Patsy Tomera reminded the RAC members that the Tri-RAC meeting will be held October 21 & 22, 2004.
- Mike it was originally planned to be here in Elko, but it has been moved to Las Vegas. We don’t have a facility yet, but as soon as we get this firmed up.
- Richard Hankins said he would like to see better cooperation between BLM and NDOW.
- Duane Erickson stated that NDOW and BLM do work well together.
- Much discussion about land use issues, planting elk, elk hunting tags, and involving NDOW with the RAC.
- Patsy Tomera reiterated her suggestion to invite NDOW to participate in RAC meetings.
- Sherri Eklund-Brown talked about fencing the last portion of U.S. Highway 93B. There is no proposal now; but they have talked about fencing this last portion, and have discussed the problems it caused the wild horses when the 93A fence went up.
- Jerry Smith discussed the Federal Highway Safety Act and funding. General discussion about this fence on Highway 93, the impact it’s having on horses, and access to water.Jeff White motioned to adjourn the meeting. Leslie Hansen seconded the motion. All in favor.
Meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m.
Minutes by Maxine Perrine and Mike Brown
|Last updated: 03-08-2007|
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