Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council
November 3, 2006
Resource Advisory Council (RAC) Members Present and Category Represented:
Larry Barngrover (2) Wildlife
Sheri Eklund-Brown (3) Elected Official
Vince Garcia (3) Native American
Dave Gaskin (3) State Employee
Jon Hutchings (3) Public At Large
Kevin Lee (1) Transportation/ROW
Kirk Nicholes (1) Mining
Barry Perryman (3) Academia
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Representatives Present:
Mike Brown Public Affairs Officer, Elko Field Office
Helen Hankins Field Office Manager, Elko Field Office
Patricia Heinbaugh Staff Assistant, Ely Field Office
Amy Lueders Associate State Director, Nevada State Office
Doran Sanchez Chief Communications, Nevada State Office
Jerry Smith Field Manager, Battle Mountain Field Office
Stephanie Trujillo Administrative Assistant, Ely Field Office
Ron Wenker Nevada State Director
Penny Woods Groundwater Projects Manager, Nevada SO
8:00 a.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 sent corrections to Mike Brown of the August 17 & 18, 2006 meeting in Wells, Nev. and noted there needed to be a correction on the second page for Gund Ranch.
Barry Perryman made a motion to approve the minutes with that correction. Sheri Eklund-Brown seconded the motion. All in favor.
II. ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Jon Hutchings nominated Vince Garcia as Chairman. Larry Barngrover seconded the nomination. Barry Perryman moved that nominations be closed. All in favor.
Vince Garcia nominated Jon Hutchings as Vice Chairman. Barry Perryman seconded the motion. Larry Barngrover moved that nominations be closed. All in favor.
III. MEETING DATES FOR 2007
- January 18, 2007; Battle Mountain; Topics: Fire Grazing Closures, Mining update, OHV update, Range update, and SNPLMA Round 8 public comment.
- March 15, 2007; Ely; Topics: Mining update, OHV update, and Range update.
- May 10 & 11, 2007; Elko; Range Tour, Mining update, OHV update, and Range update.
- July 26 & 27, 2007; Eureka; Bald Mountain Mine Tour, Mining update, OHV update, and Range update.
- October/November Exact date and location to be determined. Tri-RAC Meeting.
IV. SPRUCE MOUNTAIN UPDATE
- Helen Hankins reviewed the past summer’s field trip to Spruce Mountain, and the RAC’s general recommendations. The RAC’s general direction was for BLM to be proactive in managing use, and to develop/identify staging areas. The completed treatment plan which relates to the cultural inventory was submitted to SHPO for review. The County Sheriff signed an MOU with BLM for sharing patrol of the area. The MOU is now with NDOW for their Law Enforcement staff. BLM will continue to work on bat surveys; and we have identified eight species. We’re working with the mining industry to put gates on openings.
- Sheri Eklund-Brown said that at the last Nevada Mining Association meeting the NMA and Newmont said they are willing to assist.
- Helen Hankins said there are over 100 shafts on Spruce. Hankins hopes the RAC will continue to provide advice to BLM on the multiple uses of Spruce Mountain. The Elko Convention Visitor’s Authority is promoting use on Spruce. There is increased use and more vandalism being seen. If management not in place now we may lose it. Traffic counters will be installed by spring to track use.
- Larry Barngrover asked about the staging areas – if they are for people or wildlife?
- Helen Hankins responded they are for people.
- Jerry Smith asked what type of traffic counters will be used … if they will tell the time of use – very important. It is critical information to know when the heaviest use occurs and location of the use.
- Helen Hankins said Elko will look into that suggestion and the RAC agreed.
- Jerry Smith talked about Battle Mountain’s shooting restrictions in historic Rhyolite.
- Vince Garcia what was the response from the public.
- Jerry Smith commented that it was received well due to the cultural aspects and historical values.
- Helen Hankins asked Sheri Eklund-Brown if there would be any interest in Elko County to restrict travel to existing roads and trails.
- Sheri Eklund-Brown responded that the County would like to see a draft plan and talk about it.
V. FIELD MANAGER REPORTS
- Barry Perryman asked about the Sensitive Species EIS; when will the ROD be released?
- Helen Hankins said it went out October 31st. Hankins discussed the alternative selected – BLM tried to balance the needs of the livestock community, rangeland health, and environmental concerns.
- Barry Perryman asked if the BLM staff is working with NDOW for the burn areas.
- Helen Hankins said BLM has been challenged by Western Watersheds for the fire rehabilitation plan for the Winters Fire. They appealed to IBLA who has 45 days to decide. We’re getting cultural clearances done now and they will be completed next week. Drill seeding has started and expected to be completed before snow fall. There will be aerial seeding on the problematic areas. Drill seeding has been done on the Suzie Fire. The north end of the Charleston Fire is high elevation and needs drill seeding. We’re working with NDOW. If we don’t get an early winter, we’ll be okay. We’re purchasing 1.4 million pounds of seed. It’s hard to find shrub seed.
- Larry Barngrover asked if BLM is using the usual seed mixes with exotics.
- Helen Hankins responded that the main focus is on site stabilization using mixtures in cooperation with NDOW.
- Larry Barngrover commented that there is quite a movement to get back to native species.
- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked how much can Fallon supply.
- Barry Perryman noted that the biggest supplier is in Minden and seed will be expensive and may run out.
- Sheri Eklund-Brown asked is there is any way to do collection.
- Helen Hankins said NDOW will be collecting seed in a couple of weeks.
- Barry added that the collection is mainly for sage brush. In the spring, the permittees will need a place to go and urged BLM to be pragmatic.
- Helen Hankins commented that BLM has not issued any grazing closures yet. There are 65 permittees affected. Three or four lost 90% to 100% of their allotments. Some are working things out with neighbors.
- Jon Hutchings added that he would like the RAC to stay engaged and suggested going out next spring to look at the vegetation response.
- Helen Hankins responded that if any RAC members would like to have discussions with us this winter we welcome it.
- Jon Hutchings said that he would like to follow-up at the first of the year.
- Vince Garcia remarked that it would be good for the RAC to be involved.
- Helen Hankins said that we will follow up in the next 60 days. Shane DeForest has started some of it already. Some of the country will come back quicker. The Marys River country was in good shape. The northwest part of the county has burned and re-burned.
- Larry Barngrover suggested getting information out about those areas and how land can respond to fire and recovers.
- Sheri Eklund-Brown said it’s been a hot topic. Is there a two-year closure requirement?
- Helen Hankins said that it is a rule of thumb that it takes two growing seasons for grasses to establish. It’s different in Battle Mountain where it is in their land use plan; but in Elko there is no hard rule – just range science.
- Sheri Eklund-Brown added that she talked with Ed Monnig, U.S. Forest Service, and there is a Ranchers Aid Bill – several counties and states are working on to help those who lost a lot in the fires. The Forest Service has their land use plan, but are looking to amend to be more flexible. Eklund-Brown also added that Elko County has seen groups that want training.
- Barry Perryman commented that pragmatism cuts both ways … some burns need six or seven years to heal … two years is not a panacea.
- Helen Hankins added that the closure should be determined by health of vegetation and ability to sustain itself and not time. After 1999, some permittees went back in 2000 and some in 2001.
- Larry Barngrover commented that we’re not doing the livestock industry any favors by letting them on too early.
- Jon Hutchings added that the lack of flexibility is frustrating. Some areas
of a fire are okay and some light grazing may be okay. There has to be
- Jerry Smith said that the Battle Mountain land use plan says two growing seasons and meet objectives. Aspen is our concern as it takes a lot longer.
- Helen Hankins remarked that she asked the Nevada State Office for a summary of permitted use versus actual use. Statewide, the average is 59%. For the AUMs licensed in the Elko district and statewide - ranchers not using full grazing preference. Permittees are making decisions to run fewer AUMs.
- Sheri Eklund-Brown said that historically sheep AUMs have reduced dramatically. NAFTA is the major impact on sheep grazing not BLM. It’s cheaper in New Zealand than here.
- Barry Perryman added that it is a cultural thing – John Wayne (cows) versus Don Pedro (sheep). At one time Australia had a 10-year supply of wool in warehouses.
- Helen Hankins said that the market has an influence. Reduction of Elko AUMs is a small amount. Hankins will get the exact numbers,
- Jon Hutchings said he would be interested in seeing the data.
- Jerry Smith said that it is tied to economics and drought running fewer AUMs (Nevada RCI report).
- Vince Garcia added that ranchers are making those decisions daily.
- Helen Hankins commented that riparian areas are looked at with different opinion than 15 years ago.
- Jon Hutchings asked about the Maiden’s Grave transfer.
- Helen Hankins said she thought it was done months ago and will find out. Hankins also said BLM is working on the preparation plan and AMS (analysis management strategy) for the land use plan and will provide update at next meeting for the Elko and Battle Mountain offices.
- Vince Garcia said that the Mount Tenabo Working Agreement with the tribe - that most of the opposition is from individuals not the tribe itself.
- Jerry Smith added they are identifying impacts and determining mitigation to lessen the impacts.
VI. AGENDA ITEMS FOR 2007
-OHV travel management
Impacts: county; BLM
Objective: planning updates, advise on specific planning projects when needed.
-Fire pre-suppression strategy:
Training-red cards (Winnemucca model)
Review fire activity impacts (last 10 years, catastrophic fires yearly-frequency, size)
Vegetation Map/matrix (Handout from NSO)
Objective: assist BLM with increased suppression planning projects, advice on criteria of vegetation management reviews.
-Grazing permit renewal process
Mechanism and understanding of process (proposals, risks of approach)
State Office direction
Objective: Clarify field office approach for renewals; provide consistency recommendations.
-Grazing Fire closure criteria
Follow-up with implementation
Objective: Review of proposed criteria, follow-up of closures-implementation
-Mining and energy project permitting process
Permitting Process, workload (staffing, streamlining)
Objective: develop guidelines, review standards, review process of permitting- improve operational efficiency, optimize the process.
Energy development: water, wind, power plants, energy corridor, oil & gas, geothermal (major projects), infrastructure.
Standard and Guidelines (implementing/establishing)
Objective: Review BLM program for public involvement, understanding of ROWs, expose impacts.
-Cooperative Rangeland Monitoring
Rangeland Monitoring Handbook- tentative release beginning of year
Range Management School-next held in Jackpot, continuing efforts
Framework understanding (process), foundation
Case law review/update
Barry Perryman moved the meeting adjourned and the motion was seconded by Jon Hutchings. All in favor. Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
Date Approved: Approved by:
Minutes by Stephanie Trujillo and Mike Brown