Cooperative effort seeds over 26,000 acres in Eastern Nevada


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Ely District Office

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Federal and state agencies, and a nonprofit conservation organization over the weekend finished aerially seeding 26,000-plus acres of eastern Nevada’s fire-scarred public lands.

Neil Frakes,  emergency stabilization and rehabilitation program manager for the Bureau of Land Management’s Ely District, said the seedings will enhance natural recovery and curtail invasive weed spread. “Increasing desirable perennial grasses, forbs, and shrubs decreases invasive annual grasses and other weed species’ ability to establish,” said Frakes.

The BLM, Nevada Department of Wildlife and Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition seeded nearly all of the acreage burned in four wildfires, the Becky Peak and Kinsley fires in White Pine County and Miller and Stewart Canyon fires in Lincoln County.

The Becky Peak Fire in 2022 burned 5,989 acres of the public lands, about 50 miles north of Ely. The same year, the Kinsley Fire charred 3,209 acres of BLM-managed lands, about 60 miles northeast of Ely. The Miller and Stewart Canyon fires, 30 miles northeast of Pioche and 14 miles east of Alamo, respectively, blackened a combined 17,232 acres in 2020.

The Miller and Stewart Canyon fires were seeded the following year, but field assessments determined additional treatment would support habitat restoration, said Lara Derasary, ENLC wildland fire rehabilitation specialist. “Given the highly variable annual and inter-annual climatic conditions within the region, we determined the sites could benefit from seedings over multiple years,” Derasary said.

Moira Kolada, NDOW wildlife habitat biologist, said seed mixes varied with only native species used inside wilderness and a combination of native and non-native species used outside. She said other factors determining the mixes included soil type, elevation, slope, annual precipitation, and pre-existing vegetation. “We also considered which wildlife species are the primary users and when use occurs, for example if we’re seeding mule deer winter range we’ll focus on shrubs and other species suitable for browsing,” said Kolada.

The seeded acreage will be monitored for five years.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.