More Water, More Forage, More
Cattle ranchers Don and Sheila Phillips wanted to do
something to help sage-grouse on their ranch near Ely, but Don wasn’t convinced
those new white vinyl markers he’d added to his fences would do anything to
prevent bird collisions. A few weeks later, though, Don stopped in the Ely NRCS
office with big news.
"I was headed out in the field and the sage-grouse
took off and headed right for that fence, but sure enough, at the last minute,
they went up and over those markers!"
The Phillips are participants in the NRCS’s
Sage-Grouse Initiative, a partnership program available to farmers and ranchers
who want to make improvement on their private and public land. Conservation
measures that enhance sage-grouse habitat have also been shown to improve
grazing by increasing forage for livestock and reducing wildfire risk.
In Central Nevada, Louis Cole has seen dramatic
benefits from the improvements he made with NRCS assistance. Cole removed pinyon
and juniper trees, reseeded areas, and installed grade stabilization structures
where the stream channel had downcut. After the first year, the creek flowed
longer than Cole had seen in years and the meadows are wider and healthy. It
appears that some planned reseeding won’t be necessary as the native vegetation
is returning on its own now that the trees have been removed.
The Bootstraps Program and NRCS partnered again in 2012 to remove pinyon-juniper
on over 1,100 acres and install steel jack fences around meadows providing
critical habitat for sage-grouse.
SGI Accomplishments in Fiscal Year 2012
- Sage-Grouse Initiative Contracts: 21
- Sage-Grouse Habitat Restored: 328,964 acres (private and public)
- Pinyon-Juniper Removed: 8,000 acres
- Marked Fence: 80,226 feet
- Sage-Grouse Initiative Obligations: $2,164,199
Efforts Keep Toad Off Endangered Species List
David Spicer, a rancher in Beatty, Nevada and founder
of the non-profit organization Saving Toads Though Off-Road Racing, Ranching and
Mining in the Oasis Valley (STORM-OV), has successfully rallied his community to
protect the Amargosa toad (Bufo nelsoni) and keep it off of the list of
Partnering with the Natural Resources Conservation
Service, other federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations, local
government, fellow landowners, and by acquiring grants, Spicer and his STORM-OV
partners have restored 11 springs, enhanced one mile of river, and created or
enhanced 57 acres of toad breeding and foraging habitat mostly on private land.
Solar Watering Facility Saves Time and Money
Willow Creek Ranch owners Russell and David Fitzwater installed five energy
efficient watering facilities on their private land and public allotments,
thanks to a collaborative effort with the Bureau of Land Management and NRCS.
The solar panel pumping plants, new pipeline, and water storage tanks and
troughs, have provided the Fitzwaters with an efficient and effective livestock
watering system. "Solar energy has eliminated our gas bill, while giving us the
ability to have fresh, dependable water every day," said Russell Fitzwater.
Stream Restoration Protects
Bonneville Cutthroat Trout
When Bonneville Cutthroat Trout were reintroduced into
Big Wash Creek in eastern Nevada, the owners of Hidden Canyon Ranch joined
forces with Trout Unlimited, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and NRCS to restore
the creek and ensure that the habitat was beneficial for the BCT, a species of
concern for the FWS.
The landowners installed six grade stabilization
structures in Big Wash Creek, with financial assistance from the Wildlife
Habitat Incentive Program. The structures provide numerous environmental
benefits by slowing the rate of water discharge during large water events, and
reducing the velocity and energy responsible for creating down cuts and gullies.
Sediment is caught and retained upstream to help restore stream grade, raise the
water table, and stabilize eroded banks. The owners are now working to restore
the stream habitat using WHIP funding.
High Tunnel Farmers Help
Families in Need
James and Barbra Hertz of Fallon were excited about
the prospect of helping their local community by providing fresh produce to
families in need. They applied for and received financial assistance under the
NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program for a high tunnel in the spring of
2012. The Hertz’s non-profit business, Lone Pine Farms, partnered with Icon
International to grow vegetables and also help troubled youth.
This year, Lone Pine Farms grew a variety of crops to
donate, including squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes and peppers.
They are hopeful that this is only the beginning, and plan on continuing to grow
produce to help feed families in Northern Nevada for years to come.
Irrigation Pumping Plant Efficiencies
In an effort to get a handle on pumping plant efficiency and associated
operating costs, an increasing number of agricultural producers are taking
advantage of the Conservation Stewardship Program. Irrigation Pumping Plant
Evaluation is one of many enhancement activities available through CSP. Under
this activity, an irrigation pumping plant performance test is conducted to
measure power consumption and the volume of water produced in order to determine
overall pumping plant efficiency. The Irrigation Pumping Plant Evaluation must
be performed by a trained service provider using appropriate testing equipment.
The service provider provides the producer with a report that includes
information on present pumping plant efficiency, potential efficiency, present
energy use, and an estimate of energy and cost savings if improvements are
implemented. Recent evaluations show that improvements can increase efficiency
up to 30 percent, saving up to $6,000 each year on a single pumping plant.
Managing for Livestock and
A & B Paradise Enterprises owners Bob and Astrid
Schweigert have been working to increase available forage for livestock while
improving wildlife habitat on their rangeland in Pershing County. They signed up
for a Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program contract in 2009 to fence off a spring
and pipe the water to outlying areas to provide water for livestock and
wildlife, drawing the livestock away from the riparian area.
With this project completed and operating perfectly,
they decided to increase the available forage. The area around the spring and
associated overflow had been invaded with rabbitbrush that started to choke out
the native grasses in the area, and a large portion of the section burned in
2000 and came back with cheatgrass and some bluegrass. With help from the
Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Bob and Astrid were able to reseed the
burned area, and remove and chemically treat the rabbitbrush. Two years after
the seeding, crested wheatgrass is spreading across the area and native grasses
are growing along the riparian area. The fenced area is kept free of livestock
throughout the growing season so the wildlife can utilize the area and is grazed
in the fall after plant dormancy.
Provide More Streamflow Forecasting Data for Water Users
The NRCS snow data network consists of manual snow
course measurements, automated SNOw TELemetry (SNOTEL) sites and aerial markers
(AM) for winter time data collection. The AM’s are measured 3 times a year by
flying over them, usually with a helicopter, and getting a visual snow depth
measurement from the air. The density of the snowpack is estimated and the snow
water equivalent or water content of the snow is calculated. It was the best way
to get snow water equivalent in remote parts of Nevada until Bob Nault from our
Salt Lake City office came up with a design to put a snow depth sensor on
existing AM’s and use a satellite phone modem to transmit the data, snow depth
and temperature 4 times per day. Not only will this provide additional data from
these sites, it also eliminates the cost of helicopter time to collect the data
and is a much safer option.
Sixteen sites have been upgraded. The data is available online at
Helping Students Learn about
Taylor McKenzie, a 3rd grade student at Explore
Knowledge Academy in Las Vegas, needed help with her school science experiment.
Her question was, "What ground material filters dirty water better?"
McKenzie loves science projects and was very excited
about doing one using soil. She read books and researched the topic, and
contacted NRCS soil scientist Doug Merkler. Doug explained to her how water
travels through soil and provided her with most of the soils she needed for her
experiment, such as fine sand loam and silty clay loam.
To test her hypothesis that silty clay loam would do
the best job of cleaning dirty water, she used empty water bottles and
cheesecloth to make the filter containers, and made dirty water using food
coloring, oil, basil leaves, pepper and small pieces of paper. She filled each
bottle with a different ground material (gravel, sand, fine sand loam, and silty
clay loam). She then poured the dirty water into each one and watched to see
which one came out the cleanest. Some of them filtered in minutes, one in hours
and another in two days. After reviewing the results, she realized her
hypothesis was correct; the silty clay loam filtered the cleanest water.
Taylor put together a project board with pictures for her class presentation
and gave a demonstration to her fellow students. Her weeks of hard work paid off
— Taylor got 100% on her science project!
Richardville Irrigation Company Starts Construction on
As irrigation season comes to an end in October,
Richardville Irrigation Company begins construction on its delivery pipeline.
Richardville Irrigation Company manages approximately four miles of delivery
system, part of which is shared with two irrigation districts in central
Pahranagat Valley. The combined delivery system carries water from Ash Springs
to three miles south of Alamo. Pahranagat Valley is a narrow 50 mile long valley
in the center of Lincoln County. The valley is a welcoming strip of green
wetlands, meadows, and hayfields surrounded by the rocky and relatively barren
Mojave Desert. Soon after entering the valley you see Alamo’s namesake, the
cottonwood, lining current and historic watercourses and surrounding springs.
The abundance of green vegetation is largely fed by springs with a total flow of
about 35 cfs.
For over 20 years, irrigators in central Pahranagat Valley
have worked on plans with the Natural Resources/Soil Conservation Service (NRCS)
to replace the ditch delivery system with a pipeline. Since the 1960’s, a
concrete lined ditch has supplied Richardville and the neighboring irrigation
districts. The concrete lined ditch has outlived its expected life and is
falling apart or missing in numerous sections. Lack of funding, lack of
agreement or cooperation among landowners, and government agency regulations are
the reasons that plans have gathered dust in files for decades.
Installing the delivery system presents numerous
challenges, but the biggest challenge is working with the dozens of landowners
impacted by the project. There are tales from the
1960’s when the conservation district spearheaded installation of the ditch and
resorted to intoxication in some cases to gain cooperation of a certain
landowner. In 2006, Alamo Irrigation Company was the first irrigation district
in central Pahranagat Valley to get past the challenges and reasons that
prevented work on the delivery system. Nine landowners signed up for a group
project under NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to install
about three miles of pipe in the town of Alamo. Although the landowners
recognized the conservation benefits of the pipeline, safety concerns (children
have drowned in the ditch) and elimination of litter (some residents used the
ditch for trash disposal) were higher priority benefits of the pipeline. It took
many hours of talking to landowners, some thick skin and patience, and searching
for solutions that worked for the irrigation district and the landowners. Ed
Stewart and Cleo Connell of Alamo Irrigation Company led the effort with
assistance from NRCS staff in the Caliente Field Office.
In 2011, Alamo Irrigation Company completed the
installation of pipeline in its nine mile delivery system. Small acreage
irrigators now get to irrigate for their allotted time instead of waiting most
of the allotted time for the water just to arrive at their property. All
irrigators can water all of their fields in their allotted time because of
higher, more consistent flows. The problems associated with the ditch are
eliminated – no more rocks under every head gate, no more tumbleweeds clogging
the water delivery, and no more trash in the irrigation water. In addition,
landowners who were adversarial towards NRCS in the beginning are advocates for
irrigation projects with NRCS.
Building on the success in Alamo, ten irrigators with
Richardville Irrigation Company applied for and received EQIP assistance to
install a pipeline delivery system. Like Alamo, the ten landowners represent the
majority of water usage, but less than half of the landowners along the delivery
system. Richardville Irrigation Company leaders including Ed Higbee, county
commissioner, have gone door-to-door informing landowners about the project and
held several pre-construction meetings. Work has begun on the drain crossing
near the beginning of the east pipeline. Pipe fittings and pipe started arriving
on October 13. Soon Pahranagat Valley residents will see the familiar winter
sight of blue pipe snaking along the edge of the valley.
Basin Plant Materials Center and Agricultural Research Service test Searles
Legumes are valuable in rangeland revegetation in the
western USA because they provide food for insects, birds and other wildlife, and
forage for livestock,as well as benefitting the soil by fixing nitrogen. Many
native legumes are toxic loco-weeds, but Searls prairie clover (Dalea
searlsiae) is a non-toxic legume native legume. It was first collected in
1871 near the Pahranagat Mountains in southeastern Nevada. Plants produced at
the ARS Forage and Range Lab at Logan, Utah were brought to Fallon by Dr. Doug
Johnson, accompanied by student Zhao Fan. NRCS State Office employees Albert Mulder, State Agronomist, and Bill Elder, Assistant State Conservationist
for Operations, assisted with the planting.
The top five conservation
practices planned in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, by amount of dollars obligated:
Irrigation Pipeline, Low Pressure
Irrigation System, Sprinkler
Water Control Structures
Top Resource Concerns:
Click here to download the
2012 Nevada NRCS Accomplishments Report (PDF; 2.9MB)
Conservation Efforts Keep Toad Off of Endangered Species List
David Spicer, a rancher in Beatty, Nevada and founder of a non-profit
organization, Saving Toads Though Off-Road Racing, Ranching and Mining in the
Oasis Valley (STORM-OV), has successfully rallied his community to protect the
Amargosa toad (Bufo nelsoni) and keep it off of the list of endangered
Partnering with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, other federal and
state agencies, non-profit organizations, local government, fellow landowners,
and by acquiring grants, Spicer and his STORM-OV partners have restored 11
springs, enhanced one mile of river, and created or enhanced 57 acres of toad
breeding and foraging habitat mostly on private land.
The Amargosa toad was first petitioned for listing under the Endangered
Species Act in 1994 due to threats which included invasive species, habitat
loss, vegetation encroachment and ground water pumping. In response to the
petition, an Amargosa Toad Working Group was formed to provide management and
conservation guidance for the toad. Members of this group include the US Fish
and Wildlife Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy,
Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Natural Heritage Program, NRCS, Beatty Habitat
Committee, Nye County, local residents, and the town of Beatty, Nevada.
The Fish and Wildlife Service was petitioned to list the toad a second time in
2008 and completed a 12-month review of the toad’s status in July 2010. The
Service determined that the species did not warrant protection under the
Endangered Species Act, due to the coordinated conservation work by the local
community, and agency partners. Their conservation efforts demonstrate that a
community working together can help preclude the need to list a species.
"Managing to preserve a
species is a monumental occurrence. Pulling people together while doing
it is a cosmic experience. I am moved by the results of what has
happened here. This has been a long process, not in getting our toad
healthy in his only home, but in creating a common goal that serves all
of us . . . including our friend. Attention now comes to us regarding our
successes, not our failures, a far cry from where we started. Instead of
facing lawsuits, we receive praise. We should all congratulate ourselves
in the fact that it can be done, as long as we continue to ‘make a
difference everyday’. Trust in this." David Spicer
Irrigation System Increases Crop Production for Moapa Paiute Tribe
The Moapa Band of Paiutes replaced a portion of the degraded concrete-lined
ditch flood irrigation system on their farm with a more efficient wheel line
sprinkler irrigation system, thanks to financial assistance from the Farm Bill’s
Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The project will provide improved
sprinkler irrigation for 181 acres of farmland on seven fields that produce
forage crops. The improved irrigation delivery pipeline will also deliver
irrigation water to six flood-irrigated fields consisting of 117 acres.
NRCS also worked with the Moapa Band to install a seasonal high tunnel and
drip irrigation system. The seasonal high tunnel is being used for as Tribal
community garden to supply fresh vegetables to the Tribal Senior Center
New Pocket Park in Beatty Makes Community a Better Place for Everyone
The rural Nevada town of Beatty celebrated the grand opening of the Beatty
Pocket Park this summer. Teri Knight, former Resource Conservation and
Development Program coordinator, was instrumental in helping the community
secure funding to establish the park, install a river trail, and clear debris
and vegetation along the river.
Breeding habitat for the Amargosa Toad will also be protected by the new
"This might be the smallest park I’ve ever seen, a true "pocket park," said
Edmunds, Mojave Office leader.
NRCS Helps Meet Demand for Local, Healthy Food Supplies in Las Vegas
In the city of Las Vegas and throughout Nevada, NRCS is helping local growers
install seasonal high tunnels. The high tunnels, or hoop houses, are temporary
structures that extend the growing season, enabling farmers to plant earlier and
grow longer. Their popularity is on the rise. Eighteen high tunnels were
installed in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, and more applications have been received for
In addition to extending the growing season, high tunnels help ensure a local
supply of fresh produce for city residents and are helping connect people with
the land, a goal of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative.
Agriculture and Restoring Wetlands are Priorities for NRCS
NRCS and the High Desert Resource Conservation and Development (HD RC&D)
Council have been working with local ranchers to raise native seed on their
farms. The seed is purchased by the Bureau of Land Management to reseed lands to
native vegetation along rivers and restore wetlands and riparian areas invaded
by noxious weeds. The project is a win-win situation since raising the seed
provides a steady source of income for the farmers.
2012 Celebrated Across Nevada
Liz Warner, NRCS Nevada
April 24, 2012
Several events held in Nevada during April helped to
celebrate Earth Day 2012.
The Smith Valley Conservation District sponsored an
educational event at the Smith Valley school on April 12. Students were guided
through several hands-on activities, such as planting seeds, soil types, and
wildlife habitat. NRCS soil scientist Matt Cole and his fiancé, Joyce Kammersell, an
Earth Team volunteer (right), treated the students to samples of mud to
eat -- to their delight.
Matt said, "We used crushed-up Cocoa Rice Krispies to
represent the smaller clay particles in soil and non-crushed Cocoa Rice Krispies
to represent the larger sand particles in soil. We then poured milk on each to
represent rain water infiltrating the soil. The kids could then see how much
faster the “rain water” soaked through the sandy (uncrushed) versus the clayey
(crushed) soil. This helped illustrate the implications that soil particle size
has on plant and water movement in soil. The crushed up Rice Krispies looked
like actual soil, and since we had actual soil samples to show, we had to tell
them that it was not actually soil and that they could eat it."
On April 18, the Lahontan Conservation District
sponsored an educational event for elementary through high school students (top). Organized by Linda Conlin, executive director of Nevada River
Wranglers, and Jessi Eckert with the LCD, the event was conducted on the banks
of the Carson River on the Norm and Sue Frey Ranch near Fallon. FFA students
from the Churchill County High School and other volunteers taught the younger
students advanced topics such as the hydrologic cycle, different types of
irrigation, wood duck box construction, and how a watershed functions.
150 high school students from Yerington participated in a farmland restoration
day, organized by Michelle Langsdorf and sponsored by the Mason Valley
Conservation District, on April 19. Students learned
about noxious weeds, nonpoint source pollution, wildlife habitat, and soils (left).
They learned first-hand about the importance of water in soil during a
revegetation exercise. The students were tasked with planting shrubs along the
irrigation canal, but the ground was so hard, a power auger was finally brought
in to dig the holes (right).
Quizzes, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises made
all three of these educational events stimulating and fun.
Washoe County Parks and Recreation conducted a
volunteer effort on April 21. Over 50 volunteers, including NRCS staff and
partners, participated in replanting areas of Bartley Ranch Park that were
burned during a wildfire in October 2011 (left).
Other events were held around the state, including a
tree planting in Lovelock, sponsored by the Big Meadow Conservation District.
Earth Day was officially observed on
April 22. Earth Day was started in the United States in 1970
by Senator Gaylord Nelson to create awareness for the Earth's
environment and to encourage conservation efforts. In 1990, Earth
Day was taken international, and today, more than 500 million people
in 175 countries observe Earth Day. NRCS was proud to be a part of
these activities to help the world accomplish a
Billion Acts of Green!
Nevada River Wranglers
Water Conservation Pledge
I pledge to save water, to treat it with care, never to waste
it, I wouldn't dare! I will not pollute it. I won't
hesitate to tell other people of water's fragile state. I
pledge to conserve every drop that I can every day of the week.
This is my plan!
Native American Youths
Improve Sage-Grouse Habitat
Liz Warner, NRCS Nevada
January 10, 2012
An important meadow is
fenced to protect critical habitat for sage-grouse.
In the middle of
Nevada, miles from anywhere, eight Native American young adults spent
their summer working to improve sagebrush habitat for the greater
sage-grouse. Habitat for this ground-dwelling bird, native to much of
the American West, has been dwindling in recent years, due to fencing,
wildfires and invasive species.
The young adults, all
residents of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation and the Battle Mountain
Indian Colony, range in age from 18 to 26. They were happy to find work
that would let them be outdoors and physically active. Their employment
was made possible by a partnership between the
Bootstraps Program of
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in Lander County and
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
The Bootstraps Program
teaches life skills and job responsibility by combining formal classroom
instruction with real outdoor work experience. NRCS’ role was to provide
technical guidance and financial assistance through its
Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Pinyon and juniper
trees are cut to provide optimal growth conditions for native sagebrush.
The eight young people
are working to restore sage-grouse habitat on 1,000 acres of public land
and 400 acres of private land. Restoration means the removal of invasive
pinyon pine and juniper trees in order to provide optimal conditions for
the native sagebrush that provides food and cover for the greater
In June, the Bootstraps
workers received intensive training from Extension specialists covering
use of chainsaws, two-way radios, satellite phones and GPS units, as
well as safety, first aid and basic job skills. Once trained and
equipped, they started work.
They removed only
certain pinyon pine and juniper trees. They left old-growth trees
standing, as well as trees on steep slopes, because removing them would
create other problems, like erosion.
The cut trees were left
on the ground to protect the soil from erosion and provide shelter for
When the crew wasn’t
cutting trees, they were fencing springs and meadow areas to protect
them from overuse by livestock or wild horses. Meadows are critical
habitat for young sage-grouse.
All of the young adults
say they have enjoyed the experience—especially working outside, and
with their hands.
Most of the pinyon pine
and juniper will be cut this fall, and next year a new Bootstraps crew
will finish it and start work in other areas.
Bottomless Watering Facility Installed On Rock Creek
Rock Creek Ranch, south
of Golconda, recently installed a watering facility using cost share
funding from the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP),
administered by the NRCS office in Winnemucca.
The system was designed
for approximately 300 head of cattle. A new submersible pump was
installed in an existing well, with electrical
power provided by new solar photovoltaic panels. The pumped water is
conveyed to two new bottomless troughs through a 1-1/2” diameter
pipeline. The troughs are composed of a 21 foot diameter corrugated
metal ring embedded in a circular concrete slab. To prevent ponding of
water around the troughs, gravel was placed around the perimeter of the
concrete slab. Steel pipe was used to construct a barricade around the
troughs. The barricade will prevent livestock from walking into the
troughs. Wildlife escape ramps were also installed in the troughs to
help wildlife escape if they fall into the water.
Contact Bill Pellersels
at (775) 623-5025 x 109 for more information about this project.
Saving Precious Water
Mark Twain said, "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for
fighting over." Those words are still true today in the driest state in
the Union and that’s why NRCS is working with farmers to install
high-efficiency irrigation systems. In FY 2010, NRCS worked with
agricultural producers to install 75 new systems, saving power and
Art Villalobos increased his
irrigation efficiency by 30 percent, saving approximately 250 acre feet
of water. An acre foot of water is equivalent to a foot of water spread
of one acre, so that much water would be over 20 feet high. Villalobos
installed a new, high-efficiency irrigation system on his farm in
northern Humboldt County that is increasing his crop production as well
as saving water. His previous gated pipe irrigation system was about 60
Villalobos also likes the fact that he
doesn’t have to manually adjust the irrigation system. "It’s all done
electronically, which frees me up to work on other things," he said.
Villalobos worked with the NRCS office in
Winnemucca to install the new system. Engineering Technician Bill
Pellersels evaluated the old irrigation system and made recommendations
on how Villalobos could save water and energy by installing the new
system. NRCS provided cost-share assistance under the 2008 Farm Bill.
Villalobos, along with his father and
brothers, grows alfalfa hay on several properties in Humboldt County.
This is the second high efficiency irrigation system they have installed
and he plans to install more.
Sustaining Working Ranches and Conserving Sage-Grouse
In 2010, USDA launched a new and exciting effort to
sustain working ranches and conserve greater sage-grouse populations in
the West. The NRCS is using popular conservation programs including the
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat
Incentive Program (WHIP) to assist producers in Nevada and 10 other
western states to simultaneously improve habitat for sage-grouse and
improve sustainability and productivity of their native rangelands.
In just one year, NRCS Nevada, ranchers, and partners
• Implemented twenty one (21) contracts for
conservation measures on both private and public land, obligating
more than $1.7 million. Of this amount, $1,661,234 was infused into
rural communities in labor, construction, and material costs.
• Engaged rural communities and partners in
proactively enhancing sage-grouse habitat, potentially reducing the
need for regulation under the Endangered Species Act.
• Removed 2,100 acres of pinyon and juniper
woodlands that had encroached on sagebrush areas.
• Restored over 77,000 acres of rangeland to improve
the quality and quantity of brood rearing and summer habitat for
sage-grouse and increase forage for livestock.
• Removed over 10 miles of fence near sage-grouse
lek areas to decrease mortality rates and installed over 9 miles of
new fence to manage grazing.
Sage-grouse are an umbrella species. If their diverse
habitat is protected, it protects other species, from pygmy rabbits to
mule deer and migratory birds. Healthy ecosystems benefit everyone.
Implementing these conservation measures will help keep sage-grouse off
of the endangered species list and improve the bottom line for ranchers.
Protecting Wildlife Helps Rangeland
Two central Nevada ranchers are restoring sage-grouse
habitat on public land, thanks to assistance through the NRCS
Sage-Grouse Initiative. Within the next 5 years, pinyon and juniper
trees will be removed from approximately 570 acres of key sage-grouse
habitat on the east and west sides of the Desatoya Mountains to enhance
sage-grouse movement from spring to summer range. Restoration efforts
are a cooperative effort between two privately owned and operated cattle
ranches, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Nevada Department of
Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Division of Forestry, and
The rancher on the east side of the mountains has
restored sage-grouse habitat on 150 acres of private land over the last
eight years. Land treated includes degraded riparian areas and upland
rangeland. Funding is providing an opportunity to expand pinyon and
juniper treatment to adjacent public land which is an important part of
the rancher’s ongoing effort to restore important wildlife habitat and
sustain an economically viable cattle operation. The rancher on the west
side of the mountains will remove pinyon and juniper trees that the BLM
identified for treatment several years ago. The BLM has begun treatment
on some of the identified acres.
High Tunnels Help Local Communities
A farmer in Douglas County is really pleased with the
results from the high tunnel he installed, thanks to financial
assistance under the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program.
He installed the high tunnel, or "hoop house," in the
summer of 2010 to ward off the first frost the area typically receives
in mid-September. The high tunnel was very effective and extended the
growing season to mid-November, enabling the farmer to feed his family
fresh vegetables for about 6 weeks longer than usual. In addition, the
farmer improved the soil with compost and did not use any commercial
fertilizers or pesticides.
The landowner gave the extra produce to his
employees and to a local food bank, further benefitting the community in
the Carson Valley.
Helping People Help the
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