Alex Gonzalez, Public News Service
The Bureau of Land Management recently announced a $161 million investment in ecosystem restoration and resilience work on 21 different landscapes across 11 western states, one of which is Nevada.
The Montana Mountains in the northwest part of the state will be allocated $6 million for aquatic restoration and conservation.
Carl Erquiaga, Nevada field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said the landscape is home to wildlife relying on sagebrush, and pointed out the area faces climate change challenges such as fire and drought.
“What we all need to realize is that if you improve the sagebrush habitat just about everything else out there benefits from it,” Erquiaga explained. “Mule deer are sagebrush obligates, elk, pronghorn. Those kinds of things stabilize streams for fisheries and riparian areas. It all dovetails together.”
Erquiaga noted the Humboldt O’Neil Basin will also receive a $6 million investment but is an area with more water. According to the BLM, the presence of perennial water favors the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout as well as supports critical habitat and migration corridors for big game.
Erquiaga argued public lands are what make Nevada unique. The BLM manages 67% of Nevada, or 48 million acres of public lands. Erquiaga acknowledged many Nevadans are used to “stepping out their back door,” and being able to enjoy the outdoors. Erquiaga would like to see management plans in Nevada updated to reflect what is important now.
“Most of those resource management plans are ‘1980s vintage,'” Erquiaga stressed. “The northwest corner of the state, where the Montana Mountains are, that one has been revised more recently. It is more up to date. We just looked at everything multiple use, we looked at it all differently in the 1980s than we do now.”
Erquiaga recognized while management plans have been amended to be more relevant to specific issues, he thinks of those items as what he calls “add-ons,” which he said sometimes lack relevancy and urgency to take appropriate conservation action in a more comprehensive way.
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This article was originally published on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.