Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council
Meeting Minutes

June 15, 2006

Bristlecone Convention Center
Ely, Nevada

Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council (RAC) Members Present and Category Represented:
Sheri Eklund-Brown (3) Elected Official
Art Gale (1) Grazing Permit
Vince Garcia (3) Native American
Jon Hutchings (3) Public At Large
Kevin Lee (1) Transportation/ROW
Cyd McMullen (2) Cultural Resources
Barry Perryman (3) Academic
Dave Tattam (2) Wild Horse & Burro

Mojave Southern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council (RAC) Members Present and Category Represented:
Kenny Anderson (3) Native American
John Hiatt (2) Wildlife
Gracian Uhalde (1) Grazing Permit

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Representatives Present:
Stephanie Connolly Acting Field Manager, Ely Field Office
Kim Dow BLM Nevada State Office
Bill Fisher BLM Tonopah Field Station
Helen Hankins Field Office Manager, Elko Field Office
Mel Meier BLM Nevada State Office
Dan Netcher Range Specialist, Ely Field Office
Juan Palma Field Office Manager, Las Vegas Field Office
Hillerie Patton PAO, Las Vegas Field Office
Rob Perrin BLM Battle Mountain Field Office
Gene Seidlitz Assistant Field Manager, Battle Mountain Field Office
Joe Tague BLM Nevada State Office
Jack Tribble BLM Ely Field Office
Stephanie Trujillo Administrative Assistant, Ely Field Office
Penny Woods Groundwater Projects Manager, Nevada SO

Other Attendees
Terry Booth USDA – ARS, Cheyenne, Wyoming
Chiaki Brown Southern Nevada Water Authority
Kathy Johnson U.S. Forest Service, Ely Ranger District
Matt Leck Southern Nevada Water Authority
Susan Lisagor U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s Office
Tracy Taylor Nevada Division of Water Resources
John Tennent Southern Nevada Water Authority

8:40a.m. Chairman Vince Garcia welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order. Everyone introduced themselves.

I. REVIEW & APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM PREVIOUS MEETING

Sheri Eklund-Brown emailed corrections to the Eureka Meeting Minutes to Mike Brown. Art Gale motioned that the Minutes be approved with corrections. Dave Tattam seconded the motion. All in favor.

II. CLARK, LINCOLN, AND WHITE PINE COUNTY WATER PROJECTS
(Joint Session with Mojave Southern Great Basin RAC)

Tracy Taylor (Nevada Division of Water Resources) gave a PowerPoint presentation on water.  Taylor discussed duties of the State Water Engineer:

•Appropriation
•Adjudication
•Well Drilling Regulations
•Water Right Ownership
•Distribution & Regulation
•Water Planning
•Flood Plain Management
•Dam Safety
•Artificial Recharge
•Primary and Secondary Applications
•Subdivision Review

Water Law in Nevada.
Prior Appropriation Doctrine
First in time, first in right,
Beneficial use is the limit of the water right,
Use it or lose it

Who Owns the Water?
All sources of water within the boundaries of the State whether above or beneath the surface of the ground, belong to the public.

The Appropriation Process
All use of water requires a permit from the
State Engineer except for domestic wells.

Application Process:
•File Application, supporting map & fee
•‘Map Table’ Review
•Send for publication
•Protest Period
•RFA – Ready for Action
•Hearing if required
•Determination of Action

Criteria

Approval or denial of water rights based on four (4) primary criteria:
–Is there un-appropriated water?
–Will it conflict with existing rights?
–Cannot threaten to prove detrimental to the public interest
–Does the use conflict with existing domestic wells?

ADDITIONAL CRITERIA

Whether the applicant can provide proof satisfactory to the State Engineer of:

–Intention in good faith to construct any work necessary to apply the water to the intended beneficial use; and
–His financial ability and reasonable expectation actually to construct the work and apply the water to the intended beneficial use.

 Ground water and Surface Water,

    2 Separate Sources

Surface Water

Very little surface water was not being used prior to state water law

–Therefore, most surface water has been or will be required to be adjudicated.

Almost all surface water not claimed as used prior to 1905 has been appropriated pursuant to the current appropriation statutes.

4.5 Million Acre-Feet.

Excluding Colorado River, Nevada has approximately 3.2 million acre-feet of runoff within the state, plus 1.3 million acre-feet flowing into the state.

Colorado River allocation is administered by the Colorado River Commission through the Bureau of Reclamation (BoR)

Referred to map of Major Rivers of Nevada

Ground Water

Very little development until the 1960’s

State divided into hydrographic basins

Designated and non-designated basins

120-Groundwater Basins of the 256 are Designated or Partially Designated

These numbers include sub-areas of groundwater basins.

Perennial Yield Concept

Can be defined as the maximum amount of ground water than can be salvaged each year over the long term without depleting the ground water reservoir.

USGS Recon and Bulletin Reports calculated perennials yields starting in the 1940’s

Referred to map of Water Budget Studies

Inter-basin Transfers

Not a new idea!

Point of Diversion in one basin and Place of Use in Another

The first inter-basin transfer was in 1873 Marlette Lake to Virginia City (Lake Tahoe Basin to Dayton Valley)

Additional Criteria When Considering Inter-basin Transfers

Adopted in the 1999 legislation session

–Justified the need to import the water from another basin;

–Plan for conservation

–Environmentally sound

–Not unduly limit the future growth

-How do we determine amount for future growth

-First ruling Mesquite Valley

–Reduced from 2000 acre feet (AF) to 415 acre feet

–Any other factor determined to be relevant

Las Vegas Valley Water District

•In-State Resources (Primarily GW but includes Virgin River filing)

–Filed 146 applications in 1989 in 27 basins for the appropriation of 180,000 acre-feet of groundwater

–Withdrew 32 applications from 10 of the basins

–Twelve permits have been granted (duty in parenthesis is amount applied for)

•Virgin River – 130,000 AF

•Garnet and Hidden Valleys – 2200 AF (7240 AF)

•California Wash – 2500 AF (14480 AF)

•Tikapoo Valley North – 2587 AF (7240 AF)

•Tikapoo Valley South – 1700 AF (11584 AF)

•Three Lakes Valley North –3700 AF (11584 AF)

•Three Lakes Valley South – 2618 AF (11584 AF)

–Remaining 102 applications have over 3,000 protests

1 Acre-Foot of Water 325,851 gallons; or

An acre of ground (~one football field) covered with 1’ of water; or

Enough water to supply a family of 4 (depending on outside irrigation) for one year.

Summary of Applications

Basin Name Apps Total Requested

Spring V. 19 91,220 AF

Snake V. 9 50,680 AF

Cave V. 2 11,580 AF

Dry Lake V. 2 11,580 AF

Delamar V. 2 11,580 AF

Total 34 176,640 AF

Summary of Applications

Basin Name Apps Total Requested

Lake V. 2 11,584 AF

Patterson V. 4 23,167 AF

Pahroc V. 7 44,886 AF

Garden V. 2 11,584 AF

Coal V. 2 11,584 AF

Railroad V. North 18 95,564 AF

Railroad V. South 3 15,927 AF

Total 38 214,296 AF

Groundwater Management Tools
- Grant permits where actual pumpage will be at or near the perennial yield

- Designate ground water basins for preferred uses only

- Have the ability to regulate pumping based on priorities

- Monitor the Basins

- Pumpage inventories

- Groundwater level measurements

- Public Input

- John Hiatt asked if an acre foot of water is different than agricultural.

- Tracy Taylor said it is similar. The ability to regulate pumping according to preferred used is based on priority. Many water resource studies have been conducted, are the basis for decisions, and provide a range of water availability. The State Engineer has authority to require additional information. Monitoring is conducted.

- Jon Hutchings stated duty is for agriculture and study for other uses, you see the total amount that can be pumped not consumption use.

- John Hiatt remarked that duty in northern Nevada is different then southern Nevada. Start with number of people.

- Jon Hutchings said you still have to show beneficial use. John Hiatt and Las Vegas can use a X amount of water. Hutchings referred to the map and asked what streams are not decreed, include just flow in stream itself or tributary flows.

- Tracy Taylor said normally it will include tributary of the stream.

- Jon Hutchings said it is unlikely that water rights to annual streams have been adjudicated and those will have to be done first.

- Tracy Taylor said there are sources that have not been adjudicated.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked about the designation of basins.

- Tracy Taylor said designations are because water has been allocated.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked how preferred use is determined.

- Tracy Taylor said by existing rights and municipal small amounts.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown said at some point municipal can take precedence over existing.

- Tracy Taylor said we look at existing rights. If there are no existing rights, then what is the intent? Taylor is bound by statues; if a person meets all criteria they can not deny the water right.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown commented that she understands the limitations of your office lobbying for funding for your department to grow.

- Helen Hankins commented that BLM asked the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to join with them to file and they have so far chosen not to. Could an agency choose to?

- Tracy Taylor answered yes.

- Helen Hankins said that BLM is filing for wildlife because no one is. We have responsibility for habitat not the wildlife itself. It is a quandary for our agency.

- John Hiatt commented that surface and ground water separate is not hydrologically true.

- Tracy Taylor remarked that perennial yield discharge in the basin indicates a connection between surface and groundwater. Springs are considered surface water when allocating.

- John Hiatt said perennial yield rivers divert rivers – entire accepted for groundwater, water is not accumulating it is going somewhere. All of the perennial yield will cease in time.

- Tracy Taylor said groundwater is in storage and will be replaced by precipitation. If it is a high year of precipitation then it will balance it.

- Jon Hutchings remarked that anytime you introduce a new discharge you take that water from something else. What is reasonable and what is not … this is a heavy question the State Engineer must weigh. Statues allow for reasonable discharge, can reduce water table to a reasonable level.

- John Hiatt asked how do we decide what is reasonable - when half are dead.

- Dave Tattam asked how is this shut off.

- Tracy Taylor said it is not; start slow and ramp up.

- Art Gale said that Diamond Valley dried up all springs. There was a vegetation change and the water table is dropping a couple of feet per year.

- Tracy Taylor said the pumping cost was so high that it did not have to be regulated.

- Art Gale said the damage done is the same that is going to happen in this valley. We don’t know that it can be fixed.

- Barry Perryman added that we do not have the technology to change or restore.

- Jon Hutchings said there is a relationship of declining water table and plant community. It may drop 10 feet and could affect a thousand or tens of thousands of acres of the area … and the result would be no plants, dust bowl. We have seen this over and over again. Maintain plant communities and find out where those thresholds are, understand them.

-Barry Perryman added that it is complicated. It may only drop 6 inches but it may be in a drought and we lose all the plant community.

- Jon Hutchings said with the timeframe involved 20-50 years, the impact then spreads out and affects further and further out. Make thresholds. How do you implement them for long time development while the impact becomes greater and greater?

- Dave Tattam said that public interest is damage to the environment.

- Art Gale added that when noticed it is too late, there needs to be serious monitoring.

- Helen Hankins asked what opportunities there are for environmentally concerned so that these may be considered sooner then later. Given the groundwater storage and surface vegetation connection, what options can we pursue to strengthen the environmental consideration?

- Tracy Taylor said they are defined by statutes.

- John Hiatt asked on the map border how are we going to deal with other states and how will they deal with us—reference Pahrump.

- Tracy Taylor said Utah is similar to Nevada, California is the furthest away and counties there have their own laws. If there are existing rights in Nevada that are being affected, people have the right to go to court. There is an interstate allocation agreement for the Lake Tahoe Basin, and we’re talking to Utah on the Snake Valley Basin. EIS studies are being done.

- Juan Palma said that from the right of way applications it appears that you go on the conservative side. What does BLM need to size up the need?

- Tracy Taylor said that when they apply for that amount that is the amount that you have to take, it can be reduced later.

- Dave Tattam commented that you will not come back and give more after pumping and looking at effects.

- Tracy Taylor said that most permits say the amount. They can apply again if they did ask to hold some in advance. The State Engineer ruled they would not hold any in advance.

- John Hiatt asked has this ever been ruled on.

- Tracy Taylor said no; no one has asked for that. If there is water available then they cannot deny …there is no one in charge of the growth.

- Barry Perryman commented that no one is accountable for the decision.

- Helen Hankins suggested the RACs could invite a panel of people for presentation at the Tri-RAC meeting this fall.

- The topic will be added to the Tri-RAC agenda for November for a panel presentation. The RACs will recommend appropriate speakers and will give to Juan Palma.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown commented that it is not north against south, this is affecting us all.

- Penny Woods (Water Project Manager, BLM Nevada State Office) handed out a map and gave a PowerPoint presentation about the Clark, Lincoln, and White Pine Counties Groundwater Development Project.

- Woods discussed: The Lincoln County Land Act: Enacted in November 2004 as Public Law 108-424 Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation and Development Act of 2004.

Set up requirements for public lands within Lincoln County for Wilderness, land disposal utility corridors, an OHV trail, open space parks and jurisdictional transfers between DOI agencies.

Provisions for what is now known as BARCASS which will provide information and data for White Pine County and parts of Lincoln County and adjacent areas of Utah the final report will be available by January of 2007. There is a requirement that Utah and Nevada make an agreement on the adjudication of water rights in the basins that underlie both states.

What has BLM been asked to do?

In mid 2004 and early 2005, BLM received several rights-of-way requests:

- One rights-of-way application from the SNWA covering 3 Nevada counties and

developing water from seven aquifer basins.

- Three rights-of-way applications from Lincoln County Water District (LCWD) covering one Nevada county and developing water from three aquifer basins.

Changes since the original applications:

- LCWD alignment which is paralleled by SNWA’s project has been dropped. An agreement between the two entities was reached January 2006.

- The Tickaboo lateral has been eliminated from SNWA’s proposal-LCWD is not pursuing the Garden Valley lateral at this time.

- The seven states which are party to the Colorado River compact have reached additional agreements which the Secretary of Interior will issue guidelines in December 2007.

SNWA’s Application:

Water-

115-195 wells

285 miles buried water pipeline

3 pumping stations

6 regulating tanks (3 million gallons)

40 million gallon buried storage reservoir

150 million gallon/day water treatment facility

Power-

265 miles 230-kV power line

120 miles 69-kV power line

2 electrical substations

2 hydro-turbine energy recovery facilities

7 Hydrologic Basins

Coyote Spring Valley

Delamar Valley

Dry Lake Valley

Lake Valley

Cave Valley

Spring Valley

Snake Valley

What has been done so far:

Scoping April-Aug 2005 Issues

Water resources

Data Gaps

Project Description

NEPA Process

Environmental Issues

Land Use

Fish and Wildlife

Alternatives

Socioeconomics

LCWD Application

Kane Springs

4 miles pipeline

7 production wells

500K Gallon Storage Tank

Power lines and access roads

5,000 AF per year

1 hydrologic basin

Kane Springs Valley

LCLA

43 miles pipeline

Up to 18 production wells

Power lines and access roads

24,000 AF per year

2 hydrologic basins:

Clover Valley

Tule Desert

- John Hiatt asked if the contractor ENSR is out of Denver.

- Penny Woods said ENSR is the contractor for the SNWA project.

- Jon Hutchings commented that the overwhelming scope and timeframe of project minimized the local government and community involvement. There should be discussion early on as to how to accomplish.

- Helen Hankins asked are you talking about cooperating agencies?

- Penny Woods said we’re looking at how agencies will be involved and revising the MOU. Penny will meet with all cooperating agencies.

- Jon Hutchings remarked that commitment requires knowledge and technical expertise which is not readily available in rural Nevada … will need resources.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked what Utah is providing.

- Penny Woods said no hydrological - using Colorado hydrological. We can have specialists from USGS, etc., to be part of the process.

- Jon Hutchings commented that the State of Nevada involvement is political.

- John Hiatt said impacts that are distant from pipeline and no surface discharge wells are deep. How is BLM going to deal with when we do not have the data of where the drilled water may be coming from?

- Tracy Taylor said it is hard to get data; you would have to go out and drill.

- John Hiatt asked does Nevada State law have conditional water rights.

- Tracy Taylor said every right is conditional.

- Penny Woods said we’re working with water engineer office and they’re open to recognizing water plans.

- Tracy Taylor said agreements are between those parties and not us; we can add further additional requirements.

- Barry Perryman remarked this is a right of way access; there is no consideration of water. The EIS is initially done before USGS study done. There is no responsibility. They are not collective. The only hope is to get together and cooperate.

- Tracy Taylor said BLM is the expert on right-of-ways, we are experts on water. There are experts in their fields.

- Barry Perryman commented that 60% of the population of Las Vegas is in construction.

- John Hiatt asked Tracy Taylor for those with legal standing is there any way for the public to have a part of this?

- Tracy Taylor said there is a public comment period.

III. ELY RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN (RMP)

(Joint Session with Mojave Southern Great Basin RAC)

- Bruce Flinn (Project Manager for the Ely RMP) gave the briefing. The Draft RMP issued last summer out for public comment for 120 days. The Ely Field Office received 650 comment letters from six states, six local and 16 businesses. There were three letters from Western Watersheds totaling 80 pages. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service sent a 20-page letter and will be sending a biological opinion. There were 569 form letters concerning Wilderness.

The RMP is moving to watershed based efforts to improve areas and the Draft RMP was put out for the public to respond. A key change is to modify the utility corridor in Spring Valley for power for the pipe lines to one half mile wide. They’re proposing to terminate the north-south corridor in Spring Valley.

Six additional Areas of Environmental Concern (ACECs) have been proposed. The White River Valley areas are related to butterflies and sensitive cactus and plants. The total for all 24 ACECs is 215,000 acres. The Mojave is related to fires and floods that have occurred.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked if the designation of an ACEC looks at grazing limits.

- Bruce Flinn said these are individual - those with desert tortoise impacts. The proposed mitigation appendix included standard operating mitigation. In the Draft RMP there was no mitigation. In the Final RMP final there will be one from Nellis Air Force Base and for an 80,000-acre area in Lincoln and White Pine Counties. Any future land sales would have easement restrictions in Military Operating Areas (MOAs).

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked if you are addressing the expansion.

- Bruce Flinn said, no - it is still a proposal and a separate EIS. The Ely Field Office has three MOAs. There is a new appendix related to monitoring. The Draft document was broken up by programs. The two-piece global entire plan has monitoring grazing, etc. included and the land fire model (nationally) will propose that 4 dry lake beds be open for OHV use. For the Caliente MFP amendment, management common to all concerned is moved into all programs.

- Lincoln County is not in support of modification to Mojave. Elevated 11 watersheds in the Mojave. Grazing decisions, rehabilitation, and monitoring decision after three years temporary restrictions are noted in plan. The Energy Act of 2005 was passed while working on the RMP. Least restrictive has been moved from no leasing to use least restrictive. No surface occupancy.

- Jon Hiatt asked for further explanation.

- Bruce Flinn responded that BLM can sell a lease, but it can not be occupied. They can drill under seismic lines, walk through this area, and gather sub-surface data manually – but no vehicles.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked what if high levels of resources are found.

- Bruce Flinn responded that all leases are subject to revisit of decision.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown commented there may be a priority of Congress to limit fencing not projects.

- Bruce Flinn said that new information can challenge the agencies’ decision. There is a table

clarifying desert big horn sheep habitat areas with map allotments affected. Livestock can graze, not sheep and goats. The Fire Plan for the field office modifies two units be more aggressive in suppression of the Mojave. For invasive weeds and desert tortoise habitat, BLM is in agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Final RMP will be filed September 28 or 29, 2006. When filed, a 30-day protest period begins for those who have participated in the Draft. You have to have standing. There is a Governor’s consistency review for 60 days.

- Jon Hutchings asked how that get implements for the Governor’s review. Various agencies will review one letter provided to BLM.

- Bruce Flinn said assuming that we will receive one protest; it may take up to 90 days. The

Approved plan and Record of Decision (ROD) are scheduled for April 2007. The Director can change part of the plan. If there is significant change, BLM would have to re-notify all.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked can this be protested.

- Bruce Flinn said this would be a law suit.

- Helen Hankins commented they can appeal those decisions.

- Bruce Flinn said he is unsure. You can go to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) and appeal the decision or plan. There will be a list of decisions that can be appealed thru IBLA. This will not go through the Director.

- Helen Hankins remarked that after ROD is signed, someone could appeal first with IBLA and then through Federal District Court.

- Bruce Flinn said for the Draft Biological Assessment, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will produce the Biological Opinion from BLM’s Biological Assessment.

- Jon Hutchings asked why is that being done then and not in the draft process.

- Bruce Flinn responded that adjustments done in the Draft were based on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service letter of what is wrong with the plan. Out of the Biological Opinion we will get a programmatic statement. We are expecting a lot of issues and the opinion will reflect that. There will be approval and direction for 15 listed species.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked is the rangeland management handbook being included.

- Bruce Flinn said we can not use if it is not finalized.

- Barry Perryman commented that the handbook is still in draft form. The EIS is ongoing for western corridors - these are not final and not included.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked if grazing monitoring is flexible enough to follow.

- Barry Perryman said he is concerned. Are we making sure that U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service understands that this is a programmatic EIS and should not be looked at the same?

- Stephanie Connolly said she thinks that they understand.

- Bruce Flinn said we held a kick off meeting with them. Projects will be analyzed project by project.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked what are the main issues from the present to the way it was.

- Bruce Flinn responded watershed level management, OHV management, and population growth will put pressure on BLM to prevent damage and misuse.

- John Hiatt commented that for the Mojave Desert no one has ever successfully on a large scale completed restoration. The sense of people writing conveyed that.

- Stephanie Connolly said a lot of the proposed activities will be a test. We’re looking for Round VII SNPLMA resources. A presentation will be given to the Mojave RAC (at this meeting). Connolly requested a review of the South Desert Fire. They have had discussions with permittees to work with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on suppression.

- Juan Palma remarked that fire suppression can be second guessed. Last summer was an unusual year and four lightning strikes all became fires that merged. It happened within hours. Sometimes we cannot get on top of Mother Nature.

- Stephanie Connolly said we’re not second guessing the review for disclosure of fire behavior and success. There was no loss of life and there were no significant lose of structures. We’ve have received some complaints from the public.

- John Hiatt said the Mojave failed to communicate to the public that vegetation is different than 50 years ago and that those who have grazing rights need to understand that it is within these areas.

- Helen Hankins commented that what we’re seeing in north Nevada with cheat grass cycles are five or ten years not 20-30 yrs; and will see far more than in the past. Every year mistakes are made; but there are also a lot of good things accomplished. We look at things to improve and things that did go well. High risks are an anomaly - (large fires).

- Sheri Eklund-Brown said the Forest Service is addressing WSAs. WSAs are designated in White Pine County. The Forest Service is being more aggressive.

- John Hiatt added that the Forest Service has different rules and it’s hard to compare evolving situations. The Park Service is involved as well.

Noon – Lunch break

1:05 p.m. – Meeting Resumed

IV. SHOSHONE RANGE OHV TRAIL & LOST OX OHV TRAIL UPDATES

Jack Tribble, Ely Field Office, gave a PowerPoint presentation on OHV trails.

Nevada Off-Highway Vehicle Operations-NOHVOPS

What is OHV management?

Providing high quality OHV opportunities while:

Protecting public land resources

Promoting safety for all public land users

Minimizing conflicts among the various users of the public lands

Types of OHV Recreation

Sport (pit/track/sand) riding and races

Technical jeep routes

Trail/touring riding

OHVs used while hunting are indirectly related to OHV recreation and need to be addressed separately.

Basic Principles for a Successful OHV Program

Management Commitment

Pro-active, not Re-active

Provide for User Needs

Positive Attitude

Money and resources

Dedicated & Knowledgeable Personnel

Pro-active, not Re-active

We cannot take the ostrich approach to OHV management.

Unmanaged OHV use leads to resource impacts and user conflicts. The users get blamed for this when in reality de facto management is to blame.

Managed OHV use is successful because it provides resource protection and enhances the user experience.

OHV is on the Increase

Started with Holiday Weekends

Lately Tortoise Closures

High Demand in Urban Areas- Regional

Transportation Planning

NEW Ely Field Office RMP will Limit Travel to Existing/Designated Routes.

Battle Mountain Field Office is going in same direction.

OHV management is a critical part of Transportation Planning.

NOHVOPS

Memorandum of Understanding

Share limited resources

Skill Specialization

Regional Scale OHV Management

Joint Grant Funding

Regional Planning

Emphasis Areas:

Shoshone Range

OHV Trail System

Lost Ox OHV

Trail System

NOHVOPS
The OHV Planning Process

Extensive public scoping

Shoshone Range Trail -10 meetings

Lost Ox Trail- 12 meetings

Use OHV Specialized Skills (Level of Expertise)

Planning, Design, Monitoring

NOHVOPS
OHV Management Decisions

Shoshone Range

•Environmental Assessment under review

Lost Ox

•Environmental Assessment complete

NOHVOPS
Management Plan

Shoshone Range

•Management Plan is in review pending decision

Lost Ox

•Draft Management Plan under review with public and cooperators

How to Accomplish-

GRANTS

•Challenge Cost Share $126k

•SAFETEA $47K

•Recreation Trails Program $167K

•Question 1 $246K

Total to date for early phases $586K

NOHVOPS

Implementation

Collect Baseline Data for Monitoring

Ongoing design of trails

Training Staff

Purchase of Equipment and Supplies

Jack Tribble said that trail tour riding seems to be the fastest growing. Points are:

- Provide for user needs, makes a successful OHV program.

- Positive attitude = donated time and materials, etc.

- Keep system sustainable and manageable. Unmanaged OHV is more expensive then managed.

- KOA has been working with the office and they’re having 40-50 OHV users per weekend. It has transformed to weekend after weekend after weekend.

- Rob Perrin said the typical pattern is they will move out to areas without restrictions.

- Jack Tribble added that Lincoln County had 180 participants on National Trails Day including equestrian participants. Next year we should have a final of that RMP that OHV opportunities will be incorporated into.

- Helen Hankins asked how you are dealing with limited use to existing trails and roads for game retrieval.

- Jack Tribble said the North Dakota and South Dakota game retrieval language is moved to non-enforcement in the RMP. It will be a site specific approach. Recreation is the lowest spending on federal land, 46% of BLM lands in Nevada for both offices (Ely and Battle Mountain). If working separately we would be competing with each other for skill base that is not there (both offices). Both trails have been scoped, not only areas that may be managed.

- Rob Perrin remarked that to have a success, we need to have special skills working on contracts for expertise to provide this for the offices. Working with a contract biologist for monitoring plan has been a two-year process for both. For the Lost Ox Trail we’re working with NDOW. We had a public meeting last night in Ely. We need to have adequate trail for rides.

It is impossible to get this right individually, we will benefit from working together.

- Jack Tribble said we’re working with ranchers using grants to provide the resources for no gates.

- Rob Perrin added that a regional request is much more competitive.

Public comment period open 1:30

- Dave Tattam asked about Question 1.

- Jack Tribble said it was passed by the State of Nevada in 2002 - funding for trails recreation and conservation opportunities. The Recreation Trails Program is through Nevada State Parks. Tribble referred to the slide. Safety gas tax money from transportation. Equity Act through NDOT. They’re working with Northern Arizona University. Design of trails is key to the opportunity.

- Rob Perrin added that trails need a quality design. Special equipment allows the trail to be slower and tight for 50 inch or smaller ATVs and motorcycles.

- Art Gale noted the RAC work on guidelines- restrictions differentiate between permittees going out to check on a fence and ATV users.

- Jack Tribble said we working with Coordinated Resource Management (Technical Review Team) and local teams. The permittee would be exempt from restrictions for those reasons.

In transportation plan usage, exemptions include ranching and NDOW activities.

- Stephanie Connolly said it may not be the same in all areas.

- Barry Perryman discussed problems north of Reno with students riding dirt bikes across intersection areas and high erosion areas. He discussed citations and concerns.

General discussion about peer pressure and law enforcement.

- Jack Tribble said the Lost Ox is located in the Egan Mountain Range south of the Ward Charcoal Ovens and they’re working on a management plan. The Technical Review Team meets on the second Wednesday at the library at 6:00. The area is 80,000 acres and comments can be emailed, mailed, etc. People are not limited to attending the meetings.

- Art Gale asked is this an active grazing area?

- Jack Tribble said it is. The permittee is looking at putting in cabins to further the experience for the user.

- Rob Perris added they’re consulting with Ellison ranching and affected interests.

- Gene Seidlitz asked are you planning on having camping areas; you referred to weekend opportunities.

- Jack Tribble responded that there will be a regional trailhead with a primitive camp site. The State will require a fee. BLM does not have a fee.

- Rob Perrin said the Shoshone Range Trail 30 miles south of Battle Mountain will be larger than the Lost Ox. There is a 100,000+ demand. We do not expect long weekend use from surrounding areas. The trail will be monitored and adjusted if needed not developing more than needed.

- Sheri Eklund Brown mentioned law enforcement for the Spruce Mountain Trail. The County has its own law enforcement. There is a lot of controversy due to no notice of closures and limited use. An economic study of this should be incorporated in the RMP. The Tome Harris grazing study for White Pine and Elko County model is completed and utilized the economic impact to the county.

- Stephanie Connolly said we will pass on to the RMP.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked how dust is being addressed.

- Jack Tribble responded that the idea is to have sustainable design. The area of the Lost Ox Trail is rocky.

- Rob Perrin added that we are aware that we may have to harden. This can be achieved through volunteers, etc. The Shoshone Range has a few areas that are of concern.

- Jack Tribble remarked that we have closed many roads in Duck Creek. The NDOW, Forest Service, and Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition partnership is rehabbing roads. There is 80% success. They created a new route first then rehabbed the old route.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked about public access from private lands.

- Jack Tribble said in Lincoln County and the Utah sections we have had to be creative. We have not had to go in and create a new route. The easement which is a BLM road was just improved.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked what the membership of the Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition is.

- Stephanie Connolly said it is compiled of 60 people from ranchers to the Sierra Club.

- Art Gale added it is open to new membership.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked if the trail is involved in the White Pine County Land Bill.

- Stephanie Connolly said if Senate staffers have contacted them, we are not driving this.

- Helen Hankins added that the delegation is driving it. BLM provides support, but we are not integral for the bill.

- Stephanie Connolly said we provide map and tour support.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown said her idea would be that we would be side by side.

- Helen Hankins noted we have to be careful- we can not lobby.

- Barry Perryman noted that John Hiatt is in the other meeting and can provide you with the political aspect of the process.

V. AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY EMERGING TECHNOLOGY FOR VEGETATIVE STUDIES

Terry Booth from Cheyenne, Wyoming gave a PowerPoint presentation on aerial monitoring.

- Helen Hankins said the agricultural resource station out of Cheyenne has this new inventory technique that is cost effective, is not adopted nationally.

- Terry Booth said that large scale monitoring defines the problem why this research is where we are now. Rangelands’ areas are a vast resource. The value of resource return per unit is low. Insufficient ecological changes and monitoring has been a judgment. Wherever differences are - measurements need to be done. We have gone to transects. This is the main cost and it prohibits uniform monitoring across the resource.

Slides

- Referenced Rangeland Health, Academy Press

- Accounting for Rangeland

- BLM/ARS cooperative

- Fly at low altitudes high resolution vertical must avoid motion blur

- 1974 photo 1:600 can you accurately measure the grasses

- 2000 what platform to deal with motion blur helicopter high in price,

- 2001 sport airplane

- 2002 needed own equipment

- Computer detected areas 165,000 acres

-Sheri Eklund-Brown asked do you need a GPS on the ground or are coordinates input to the computer.

- Terry Booth responded input to the computer.

Slides

- Scale 1:200 starting to get the herbaceous community.

- Used ground photography as well.

- 2003 Canon. Problem of intermittent photos different light levels in meadows, etc. Camera had an image stabilizer lens.

- Photo of burn area

- Digital camera measured in ground captured; also flew a watershed area.

- 2004 lens for canon camera .5 mm inset.

- 2005 funding obstacles, helped out with cooperators.

- 2006 ARS new camera purchased for a two camera operation.

Terry Booth noted:

- Helps with a more accurate view of the surrounding area that may be barren to the foliage area, what should be measured.

- Did bare ground study, increase of bare ground; you lose water.

- Use software. A sample point looks a single pixel in a photo. The sharper the point the more accurate your measurements are.

- Cannot always identify species monitoring by life form.

- Squaw Valley Ranch photo station attributes:

- Elevation aspect slope ownership distance to oil well burned /year distance to pipeline grazing distance to road recreation distance to stream vegetation typing.

- Cheatgrass south east exposure.

- Riparian survey Lahontan cutthroat trout.

- Cannot follow a stream accurately; photos done manually from pilot.

New software: Image measurement and Laser LOG.

- Helen Hankins noted what is interesting is Frazier Creek was in good shape before fire. We can use information for rate of recovery.

- Dave Tattam asked if the data has been taken to court.

- Helen Hankins said not yet.

- Terry Booth noted there were 6,000 for 6.5 hours of data work total for 770 samples - with 9,127 just for streams in the watershed linear features. Then ground figures 23,000, 60 samples.

- Dave Tattam asked about the upland cost for Wyoming.

- Terry Booth said the figures are not done yet.

- Barry Perryman said there is concern for proper functioning condition.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked was measurement of heights’ stubble done.

- Terry Booth responded no, it is not measured. We’re now looking at density and uniformity.

- Barry Perryman noted that watershed assessments annually trigger monitoring stubble height. If you are on a riparian zone it would be difficult to measure.

- Terry booth noted that one flight will not give you the index of conditions of an area; need three to five years of flights.

- Jon Hutchings said to measure change over time and interpret rather then looking at trends over ten years rather then two to three. A new tool is easy to over-interpret.

- Terry Booth added that is correct; you need to know where to trust.

VI. MINING UPDATE

- Helen Hankins said that Bill Upton will be transferring to Salt Lake City and is resigning from the RAC.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown said she has received emails feel that they are not involved enough in county bills (mines).

- Stephanie Connolly asked have they (mining) requested through legislative levels.

- Jon Hutchings said that does not make sense as mining has the biggest lobbying ability.

- Sheri Eklund-Brown said they would like to be involved in wilderness designations.

VII. FIELD MANAGERS’ AND DISTRICT RANGERS’ REPORTS

- Barry Perryman referred to the Forest Service report and noted the stray cattle in the Quinn Range were gathered and removed. An estimated 15-20 feral cows remain and it is still being discussed on how to remove them safely.

Discussion with the Forest Service representative on removing cows, trespass, and the allotments.

- Barry Perryman asked if the RAC could assist in order to help the Forest Service do something in a reasonable time frame.

- Helen Hankins noted that technically the RAC is not providing guidance to the Forest Service. We wanted NDOW to have a special hunt, but we are unable to due to political aspects. Hankins will pass that on to Pat Irwin.

- Hankins discussed the Recreational Enhancement Act (REA) – a federal law passed in 2004. The establishment of recreation fees means for the public to give information about the fees. It calls for the establishment of a RAC. The three RACs in Nevada could work together to establish a sub committee of 7-13 members including summer and winter recreation guides and outfitters, etc. The MOU has to be signed and will be in place at the August RAC meeting and we can discuss then. The RACs will determine who will be on. They do not have to be current RAC members. The Recreation RAC will be in place until 2014 can be reauthorized.

- Kevin Lee addressed Battle Mountain lands and realty maintenance along Highway 50 will not happen due to the timeframe. The time needs to be 1-1 ½ years.

- Barry Perryman asked about grazing renewals - 150 are to be evaluated all in house.

- Helen Hankins commented that each district has a different situation. Elko must do 24 by October. The remaining scoping will be this fall evaluating whether a single EIS, several EAs, or EIS’s could be contracted out.

- Barry Perryman asked if criteria are met then no NEPA will be done?

- Helen Hankins responded, No, BLM requires that a certain amount of NEPA needs to be done.

Barry Perryman moved the meeting be adjourned and the motion was seconded by Cyd McMullen. All in favor. Meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m.

Approved by: Vince Garcia, Chair

Minutes by Stephanie Trujillo and Mike Brown