Nevada

Mojave-Southern Great Basin RAC Meeting


Meeting Summary

Minutes - 
Friday March, 24, 2006 
BLM Las Vegas Field Office   

Resource Advisory Council members present and category represented:
Dr. Colleen Beck Archeology/Historic
Don "Skip" Canfield State Agency Representative
Doug "Stretch" Baker Transportation/R.O.W.
Dr. John E. Hiatt Wildlife
Mark N. Ioli Mineral Development
Robert Maichle Environment
Dr. Steve Parker Academic/UNLV
John Weisser Dispersed Recreation
Billie Young Wild Horse & Burro
Joni Eastley Elected Official
Claire Toomey Permitted Recreation
Kenny Anderson Native American

Resource Advisory Council members absent:  
Stephen Mellington Public at Large (Chair)
Garacian Uhalde Ranching/Grazing

Bureau of Land Management representatives present:
Angie Lara BLM Las Vegas Field Office Associate Field Manager
Juan Palma BLM Las Vegas Field Office Manager
Diana Weigman Special Assistant, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, 
   Department of the Interior
Jo Simpson BLM Nevada State Office Chief of Communications
Hillerie Patton BLM Las Vegas Field Office PAO
Stephanie Connolly BLM Ely Field Office Associate Field Manager
Gene Kolkman BLM Ely Field Office Manager
Bill Fisher BLM Tonopah Field Station Assistant Field Manger
Karen Eller BLM Tonopah Field Station PAO

Public attendees:  
Skip Canfield Lori Howard
Elise McAllister Partners in Conservation

A copy of each attachment is listed in the text of or at the end of these minutes and is also on file with the official copy of the minutes in the Las Vegas Field Office of the BLM. Persons desiring to review said minutes should contact Hillerie C. Patton, public affairs specialist, at (702) 515-5046.

Vice-Chairperson John Hiatt called the meeting to order at 8:45 a.m.

8:45 a.m. - Patton reviewed administrative matters

8:50 a.m. - Members reviewed RAC meeting minutes from January 20, 2006 meeting. Several changes were made.

Fisher asked that the Standards and Guidelines (S&Gs) be added to the agenda. There is a discrepancy in the document signed by the Director and the new ones adopted by BLM Nevada.

9:10 a.m. – Members reviewed S&Gs
Fisher explained that when the S&Gs were updated to include Wild Horses and Burros (WH&B) they were changed. Now WH&B supersede everything else, even grazing. This needs to be addressed and "fixed". Hiatt suggested it was a clerical error. Jo Simpson stated that she would have her department look the S&Gs over and make the necessary changes.

9:20 a.m. – Andy Richards and Jeff Steinmetz opened a discussion of the Ivanpah Airport
Toomey questioned if power needed to be moved and who would be responsible for the cost involved. Steinmetz answered that the airport would probably endure the expense. Canfield asked about the option of putting the power lines under ground. Steinmetz stated that possibly a 69 KV line could, however, Hiatt added, that to do that there would need to be an active cooling system. Eastley commented that the McCarran Airport might be expanded. Richards stated that option would be fully considered. Hiatt asked if using Nellis Air Force Base was an option, but Richards said that Nellis would not relocate. Steinmetz pointed out another noise compatibility zone and that not much of the tortoise location area would be affected by the noise. He mentioned some other areas where tortoise needs could be met. Maichle asked about the long term future of the Jean Airport. Richards stated that parachute jumping has been common there, but that could be in conflict with the Ivanpah Airport. Maichle asked about relocating McCarran. Richards said that there will be changes to McCarran traffic flow, but he is not sure exactly what they will be. Maichle showed concern that the height of the circling and holding patterns of the airplanes would be lower at Ivanpah than at McCarran. Hiatt questioned whether the EIS could move forward until forecasting demands were finished. Richards explained that there are three methods of forecasting demands. The first is availability, the second is ground modeling, and the third is airspace model. Airspace modeling is figuring the number of planes that can be on a runway. The airspace model is what is being used as a project for the Ivanpah Airport. Hiatt asked Steinmetz about the amount of fill needed and where it will come from. Steinmetz was not sure if the Minerals dept at the Las Vegas BLM office had worked that out yet. Hiatt stated that approximately 50 million cubic yards would be needed and possibly one-third of that would be leaving the site.

Richards stated that drainage channels will be put around the mountains and the water will be directed away from the airport. Maichle asked where the water would be channeled to. Hiatt stated that the water would be drained either to the North or the South. Palma brought up the issue of the retention basin that was pointed out on the field trip. Steinmetz stated that whatever was built would be elevated to accommodate this issue. Richards added that the FAA doesn’t like retention around airports and that any retention of water would have to be underground or covered to keep birds and wildlife away. Richards also added that there would be a water treatment facility at the airport.

Palma stated that BLM has a signed cooperative agreement with Clark County for the Ivanpah Airport. He said that they are looking to add a heliport to that agreement. Richards gave Clark County an eight million dollar grant to fund a joint EIS between the FAA and Clark County.

Members all agreed that they would like to be very involved because it has far reaching implications for the whole state.

10:00 a.m. – Hiatt opened the Public Comment period

Elise McAllister reported that a major milestone regarding the Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa and Coyote Springs Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). The BLM is ready to proceed with public workshops for designating routes in the ACEC. Marc Maynard, BLM Las Vegas Field Office Roads Coordinator, is doing a great job moving this process forward and he has a good repoire with the public. Many people have been waiting for routes to be designated and we want to thank the BLM for making this a priority.

- There being no further public comment, Hiatt closed the public comment period at 10:09 a.m.

10:10 – - Hiatt recessed the meeting at 10:10 a.m., reconvening at 10:20 a.m. –

10:21 a.m. – Charlie Carroll presented an update on Sloan Canyon NCA and presented a budget analysis (see attachment 2 a & b)

Palma pointed out that Las Vegas Field Office (LFVO) is proceeding in a business-like manner which allows LVFO to have scenarios for guidance. These scenarios can be changed and adjusted to fit needs. Canfield stated he would like to see a gradual increase in the funds. Hiatt pointed out that when interest is fixed and income is "static" you have no choice over time, but to get to $0.00. With the managing of this money comes the obligation of ensuring the money grows as much as possible. Kolkman pointed out that what is being presented as a "plan" is just an example. Palma stated that LVFO is trying to manage the Sloan account in a business way to ensure this endowment continues in the future. Kolkman added that BLM has no policy on whether the account will be flat, increase or decrease, but would like it to be kept flat. He stated that the heliport contributes $3.00 per passenger to Sloan and Red Rock facilities from the Sloan Canyon and Red Rock tours. Palma noted that the point of these examples is to see which example would be better to follow. Canfield asked if any other BLM Offices have created business models to see where the money is going. Palma was not sure. Hiatt showed concern about the actuality and the "skewed" version. Maichle asked if there is a plan to bring in historical content. Carroll stated that is a possibility, but there is no plan in place at this time. Hiatt asked about the standards that are being looked at to design the trails? Carroll stated that the maximum width would be 36 inches. Carroll also added that the process of taking a 25% random sample for recordation of rock art will continue.

11:17 a.m. – Field Manager’s Reports

Gene Kolkman presented the Ely Field Manager’s Report (see attachment 3)

Hiatt pointed out that the final application did not include Kane Springs. Kolkman explained that the Kane Springs pipeline was separate from the Coyote Spring and there is a separate application for Kane Springs.

Kolkman explained that an issue that has arisen with the Meadow Valley Wash was that there is some question of who is responsible for parts of the area. BLM is in the process of trying to work it out.

Young asked if contraceptive for the horses was considered for the Monte Cristo Complex gather. Kolkman said he would check and get back to her. Young explained that the contraceptive is really being pushed to be used. The idea is to use it as a tool to help get to AML and not to be used as a constant control. Parker asked about the effectiveness of the 5 year contraceptive. Young explained that there will be a meeting in April and that issue will be discussed there.

Hiatt asked how the EPA was involved with the water diversion ditch issue in Meadow Valley Wash. He was concerned that this may have been a violation of the clean water act. Kolkman stated that the EPA had looked into this issue and agreed to take jurisdiction on what might be a clean water act violation.

Juan Palma presented the Las Vegas Field Manager’s Report (see attachments 4 a & b)

A brief discussion ensued regarding the list of major projects involving the Las Vegas Field Office.

Palma explained that Clark County bought Cal Baird out about two months ago and he was supposed to be off the land by the end of February, but is still there. Las Vegas Field Office (LVFO) will remove the gate at the end of March. Hiatt asked if all of the range improvements that Cal created would be removed. A brief discussion ensued.

Palma reviewed a few more issues: LVFO will have two land sales, one on August 2, 2006 and one on December 6, 2006. Approximately 490 acres will be sold at the August sale; the McCullough Wilderness Plan was completed and the Muddy Mountain Wilderness Plan is in process and is a BLM/National Park Service combined effort; the LVFO is back logged on Right-of-Ways (R.O.W.). Staff is slowly getting caught up. Eastley asked about two that Nye County has and stated that they lost one (a million dollar grant) because they could not get a R.O.W. Palma stated that LVFO now has a process in place to keep that from happening again.

Lara brought up the recreation monitoring use programs and that LVFO is a pilot office for this program. She added that LVFO is cleaning up old records and if status has changed from active to closed, they are updating the record.

Bill Fisher presented the Battle Mountain/Tonopah Field Manager’s Report (see attachments 5 a & b)

Fisher gave an update on the Fallini issue. He stated that the Twin Springs Slough issue is unresolved. BLM will issue a decision and Fallini will appeal and they will go from there.

Fisher added that the BLM has reissued the Fish Lake Valley Watershed decision zeroing out all burros and have had no appeals.

Hiatt asked about the EA for the two land sales. Fisher stated that the 39.73 acre parcel has desert tortoise under biological opinion. The purchaser will be required to file a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) or use Nye County when the Fish and Wildlife Service accepts the HCP.

Eastley stated that Nye County will be working to establish a master plan for the entire sale area as a guide for developers and others.

12:00 p.m. – Hiatt recessed for Lunch at 12:00 p.m., reconvening at 1:15 p.m.

1:15 p.m. - Discussion Items

Kyle Canyon Plan: Stephanie Phillips of the Forest Service explained that they are working on a plan for this area. She stated that there will be a "village" area that will include the following: a visitor’s center with retail stock, an OHV trail head, mountain bike and hiking trails, horse camping and trails, and they will encourage outfitter guides to use the facility as well. They are now in the NEPA stage and this will take 18 months. They have marketing and business plans in place. She added that they have to get special approval for the visitor’s center. They will have fees for some things and will also have concessions, outfitter/guides, non-profits, and encourage entrepreneurs (have REI rent out bikes, etc.) all of these activities will go towards funding the visitor’s center. Hiatt showed concerns for the budget and how this was all going to work out. Phillips stated that no appropriated money will go into Kyle Canyon. A brief discussion ensued.

Gold Butte: Palma announced that a new person had been assigned to Gold Butte. Hiatt noted that we are in the "window of opportunity" right now for winning the battle with wild mustard. Beck stated that she attended the Friends of Gold Butte meeting and they have 45 site stewards and that the issue with roads and SHPO has been resolved. The contract to do a sample Archaeological survey has been awarded.

Patton announced that RAC Nominations must be post marked by March 27, 2006. She added that the available positions are the Wild Horse and Burro, Minerals Development, Archaeology/Historic, and Native American.

2:55 p.m. – Young motioned to adjourn, Maichle second and all approved.

- There being no further business, Hiatt adjourned the meeting at 2:55 p.m. -

APPROVED BY:  John Hiatt, vice-Chair, Mojave-Southern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council

- Minutes provided by Karen Eller, BLM Tonopah Field Station public affairs specialist -

Attachments:

1.

2a. Sloan Canyon update

2b. Sloan Canyon Budget Analysis

3 Ely Field Manager’s Report

4a. Las Vegas Field Manager’s Report

4b. List of major projects for Las Vegas Field Office

5a.Battle Mountain / Tonopah Field Manager’s Report

5b.Ryholite Partnership Meeting Notes

Please contact the Nevada RAC Coordinator for further information.


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