Fallon Expansion

clanalpine_humboldtmarsh_wallin.jpgThe Fallon Range Training Complex is seeking to withdraw and reserve for military use approximately 604,789 acres of public land. Their expansion proposal overlaps several wild areas of northern Nevada including portions of the three wilderness study areas managed by the BLM: the Stillwater Range, Job Peak, and the Clan Alpine Mountains. The expansion would also include portions of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge and several Friends of Nevada Wilderness' proposals for lands with wilderness characteristics units currently managed by the BLM.


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What:

On August 26th, 2016, the Fallon Range Training Complex (FRTC) announced their Legislative Environmental Impact Study (LEIS) process which proposes:

1) renewal of the Navy’s current public land withdrawal; 2) expansion of land ranges through the additional withdrawal of public lands and the acquisition of non-federal land, and; 3) airspace modifications.

Specifically, the Navy proposes to:

  • Renew current public land withdrawal of 202,859 acres expiring in November 2021
  • Withdraw and reserve for military use approximately 604,789 acres of additional public land
  • Acquire approximately 65,160 acres of non-federal land
  • Expand associated special use airspace and reconfigure existing airspace
  • Use the entire modernized Fallon Range Training Complex to conduct aviation and ground training of the same general types and at the same tempos as analyzed in Alternative 2 of the 2015 Military Readiness Activities at Fallon Range Training Complex, Nevada, Final Environmental Impact Statement
  • Upgrade range infrastructure to support modernization

Evaluating Alternatives

The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to evaluate a range of reasonable alternatives to achieve the purpose of and need for the Proposed Action. In the Draft EIS, the Navy will evaluate action alternatives and a No Action Alternative. Public comments submitted during the scoping process will be used in the development of action alternatives.

No Action Alternative

  • Land range expansion and airspace changes associated with the proposed modernization would not occur
  • The Navy would reassess the military mission of Naval Air Station Fallon and consider disestablishing and ceasing use of the Fallon Range Training Complex, as the Congressional authorization for most of the withdrawn public land expires in November 2021 and would not be renewed
  • The Navy would work with the Bureau of Land Management to prioritize and address any environmental remediation needed on lands relinquished back to them

More info: https://frtcmodernization.com/Proposed-Action

FRTC Expansion Proposal Maps

FRTC | Navy-Fallon | www.frtcmodernization.com


Timeline:

2016 - From October 3rd-October 7th 2016, the FRTC held a series of public meetings to present the Alternatives and the proposal, as well as accept public comment. Thank you to everyone who attended these meetings and to those who submitted written comments in. The FRTC stopped taking public comment on December 12, 2016. The FRTC has published the following timeline moving forward.

Spring 2018 – LEIS prepared and available for public review.

Summer 2018 Public meetings will be held throughout northern Nevada; LEIS draft revised considering public input. 

Fall 2019 - Final LEIS with revisions considering public input will be released. There will be a 30 day waiting period after the final LEIS is published before the Navy may take final action.

Winter 2019/2020 - Final selection of an Alternative. After the Navy issues the record of decision and receives final Congressional approval, the Navy will begin implementation.

 Nov. 2021 - Current Nellis withdrawal expires

Although Congress is not expected to make a decision on the LEIS until 2021, we could see an amendment or congressional rider to expand the Fallon Range Training Complex at any time. It is imperative these amendments or riders be removed from any bill that is introduced into Congress.


Take Action

Although the FRTC comment period is currently closed, there's still a lot of ways you can take action!

1.) Sign our petition here to the Nevada Congressional delegation urging them to stay active in this process. We could see an amendment or a congressional bill rider to expand the FRTC at any time so it is imperative that our Congressional delegation hears concerns from their constituents on this issue!

2.) Visit the wild places we will lose if the full proposal goes through. We need as many people as possible who have personally visited these places to get active in comment period once it opens again during summer of 2018. Personal experiences are going to be critical to saving these places! Below is a handy list of places that would be affected by the expansion. Click on each place to learn more about the area and how to visit. As always, feel free to call our office with any question! 775-324-7667


Wild Places Under Threat

Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge

Stillwater_Range_from_Stillwater_Refuge_with_Tundra_Swans_Ryan_Carle.jpgThe Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge overlooking the Stillwater Range. Photo by Ryan Carle.

The Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is located in the Lahontan Valley of north-central Nevada, near the community of Fallon, sixty miles east of Reno. This area has been designated as a site of international importance by the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network and as a "Globally Important Area" by the National Audobon Society because of the hundreds of thousands of shorebirds, such as Long-billed dowitcher, Black-necked stilt, and American avocet passing through during migration. Popular visitor activities include wildlife viewing, photography, boating, and hunting. For more information and directions, visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website on the Stillwater NWR here.

Stillwater Range Wilderness Study Area

Stillwaters_May15_kkuznicki_8139.jpgThe Stillwater Range Wilderness Study Area is a colorful area of rolling hills and rugged peaks. Photo by Kurt Kuznicki.

The Stillwater Range Wilderness Study Area includes roughly the central third of the Stillwater Mountain Range. The best scenic values are found in Hare and Mississippi canyons, with their colorful geologic formations and rugged terrain. The land is somewhat rolling, with no discernible timber line. The fault scarp on the east side is a result of the 1954 Dixie Valley earthquake. A few wooden buildings are still partially standing at the old mine site in upper White Cloud Canyon. Stacks of cut cord wood intended for use in the smelters at Coppereid, outside the WSA, can still be seen in some of the side canyons north of White Cloud Canyon. For more information, click here.

Job Peak Wilderness Study Area

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Job Peak Wilderness Study Area exemplifies the rugged and rough terrain of the west. Photo by Kurt Kuznicki

The Job Peak Wilderness Study Area includes the southern third of the Sillwater Mountain Range where elevations range from about 3,600 feet in Dixie Valley to 8,785 feet at the summit of Job Peak, the highest point in the Stillwater Range. The most interesting natural features are associated with the rugged canyons in the northeast portion of the area stretching from Coyote to Little Box Canyon. The northeast part of this WSA are best for hiking and camping due to the scenic canyons. Desert bighorn sheep, once native to the range but eliminated through poaching and diseases transmitted by domestic sheep which grazed the area until the 1940s, were successfuly reintroduced into the WSA in 1981. For more information, click here.

Clan Alpine Wilderness Study Area

ClanAlpines_05_RyanCarle.jpg

The Clan Alpine Mountains WSA is the perfect destination for solitude and adventure. Photo by Ryan Carle.

The Clan Alpine Mountains Wilderness Study Area is rugged and mountainous. It includes Mount Augusta, the highest peak in the range, and several smaller peaks. It holds multiple winding, deeply dissected canyons and dozens more unnamed canyons. Hiking and camping, hunting and fishing, cross country skiing are the predominant recreational activities. From atop the Clan Alpine crest, the Sierra Nevada can be seen 100 miles to the west. Visitors are impressed by the rugged aspect of Horse Creek Canyon and the strange rock hoodoos of Deep Canyon. Horse creek and Cherry Creek support trout fisheries. Learn more here.

Job Peak Contiguous & South Job Peak Lands with Wilderness Character (LWC)

JobPeakSouth13_08_BoyerW.JPGThe Job Peak Lands with Wilderness Characteristics Units provide an essential piece to the vast wild lands hidden in this area. Photo by Will Boyer.

Job Peak Contiguous & South Job Peak Lands with Wilderness Characteristics units combine to create an incredible complex of diverse habitat and scenery. The sprawling landscape of the Job Peak units are dominated by alluvial deposits, washes, canyons, and tall bluffs with ancient lake lines. Colorful rocks occasionally outcrop, adding variety and interesting scenery. Higher elevations, which merge in the Job Peak Contiguous Unit, bring gradual changes to the ecosystem: sagebrush, rabbitbrush, pinion pines, and juniper trees blanket the hills, providing color and contrast to these rising lands. Within the canyons and colorful hills, silence is overwhelming.  One can be immersed within the wilderness feel, the cares of the civilized world forgotten. It would be hard to achieve a greater sense of solitude than the outstanding opportunities found in this unit. The proximity of these units to the greater highlands of the Job Peak and Stillwater WSAs create an outstanding opportunity for immersion into a vast complex of wilderness and solitude. For more information on these areas, click here. To learn more about Lands with Wilderness Characteristics, click here.

Stillwater Additions Lands with Wilderness Character

StillwaterConnection13_04_BoyerW.JPG

The Stillwater Additions LWC unit provides endless vistas, solitude, and outdoor recreation galore. Photo by Will Boyer.

 Rising to a single tall ridge, the Stillwater Additions Lands with Wilderness Characteristics unit bridges the gap between the Stillwater WSA and the Job Peak WSA. Covered in beautiful forest and extensive sage, the mountains forming this ridge are steep and beautiful. Deep canyons fall off to both the east and west, draining into the Dixie Valley and the Carson Sink respectively. Within these canyons brush is thick and greenery ever-present, while the mountains and ridges dominate the skyline. From the top, views are extensive and expansive in all directions, encompassing much scenic and desolate terrain. Many animals also call this region home, occasionally dipping down to the water for a drink. In these lands one gets a sense that nature is in control, and humanity is distant. For more information on this area, click here. For more information on Lands with Wilderness Character, click here.


 

FRTC talking points:

Note your concerns about the expansion of restricted areas and bombing ranges:

An expanded Fallon Range Training Complex will overlap additional segments of the Pony Express National Historic Trail, managed by the BLM and the National Park Service. An expanded range will also overlap with portions of the Stillwater Range Wilderness Study Area (WSA), the Job Peak WSA, and the Clan Alpine Mountains WSA, all managed by the BLM, and will overlap parts of the Stillwater Wildlife Refuge managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition, the expansion would affect three Lands with Wilderness Characteristics, managed by the BLM. The U.S. Navy expansion will overlap sage grouse habitat, numerous right-of-way corridors, and several grazing allotments.

The Navy is looking for comments pertinent to the development of the Draft EIS, and will discard those that express support or nonsupport for the proposed action. The Navy will analyze the potential impacts on these resource areas:

  • Air space
  • Air quality/climate
  • Airborne noise
  • Biological resources
  • Cultural resources, including Native American traditional resources
  • Grazing
  • Hazardous materials/wastes
  • Land use and recreation, including off-highway vehicles
  • Minerals and mining
  • Public health and safety
  • Recreation
  • Socioeconomics and environmental justice
  • Soils
  • Transportation
  • Utilities/infrastructure
  • Water resources and quality
  • Other

 

Fallon Range Training Complex current public land withdrawal: 202,859 acres

Proposed withdrawal:

Bravo-20 (Will be closed and restricted from public use)

180,330 acres

Bravo-16 (Will be closed and restricted from public use)

32,000 acres

Dixie Valley

101,385 acres Dixie Valley (North of Highway 50)

Bravo 17 – Dixie Valley (South of Highway 50, west of Gabbs NV)

(Will be closed and restricted from public use)

178,015 acres

Total public land withdrawal:  604,789 acres

Purchased lands: 65,160

 

Toiyabe Chapter Sierra Club | Need more info? Contact 760-937-5545

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