Government agencies and a nonprofit work together to restore Nevada public lands


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Ely District Office

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Federal and state agencies, and a non-profit conservation organization recently partnered to seed 26,000-plus acres of eastern Nevada’s burned public lands to enhance natural recovery and curtail the spread of invasive weeds.

“Increasing desirable perennial grasses, forbs, and shrubs decreases invasive annual grasses and other weed species’ ability to establish,” said Neil Frakes, Bureau of Land Management Ely District emergency stabilization and rehabilitation program manager.

The BLM, Nevada Department of Wildlife and Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition in November aerially 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 first post-fire growing season is over and we see very few invasive grasses, which provides us a window of opportunity to hold these areas,” said Frakes.

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 burned areas were reseeded because field assessments determined additional treatment would support revegetation and restoration of the habitat, said ENLC Wildland Fire Rehabilitation Specialist Lara Derasary.

“Given the highly variable annual and inter-annual climatic conditions within the region, we may determine that some sites could benefit from seedings conducted over multiple years,” Derasary said.

Nevada Department of Wildlife Habitat Biologist Moira Kolada said seed mixes varied with only native species used in wilderness and a combination of native and non-native species used outside. She said other factors determining a seed mix include soil type, elevation, slope, annual precipitation, and pre-existing vegetation.

“We also consider 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,” Kolada said.

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.