The Spring Stewardship Team kicked off their volunteer spring monitoring program on January 6th with a virtual volunteer training. We had an overwhelming response and turnout! More than 100 people tuned in, including 50 new volunteers to Friends of Nevada Wilderness! It was amazing to see such a strong show of support for the new program. We covered background about springs, how to collect and submit data, staying safe in the field, and the next steps for volunteers.
We were very impressed with how much the attendees participated and asked great questions! Volunteers who attended the training will be able to independently collect valuable springs data on Clark County public lands whenever they want with this safe, contact-free opportunity.
The first good news of 2021 is already in the books. The Senate voted 81-13 on New Year's Day to override a presidential veto of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We are happy to see this turn of events. After President Trump vetoed the NDAA on December 23, many of us were concerned. The NDAA includes language that maintains both the Fallon Naval Air Station and the Nellis Test and Training Range at their current size for the next 25 years, stalling the military takeover of public lands in Nevada.
This was the first time Congress has successfully overridden a veto during the current administration. And their timing couldn't be more perfect for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. The Air Force's proposed expansion would have been detrimental to wildlife, like the desert bighorn sheep, who call the refuge home. The Air Force will continue their plan of bombing our beloved Desert Refuge unless wilderness protections are granted as we have proposed. We will continue this campaign to protect the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and we look forward to you joining with us. Stay tuned to the Friends website and channels for updates. #DontBombTheBighorn
Every year on December 11th, #InternationalMountainDay aims to increase awareness about the importance of mountains. The conservation of mountains is a key factor in sustainable development. Nevada knows mountains. With more than 320 named mountain ranges and more than 172 summits, Nevada is the most mountainous state in the lower 48.
Protecting areas like the Mt. Charleston and Ruby Mountains Wildernesses is vital to saving endemic species, found here and nowhere else on earth, from going extinct. One of the many great reasons to #KeepNevadaWild.
UPDATE: The springs monitoring crew (Talia, Tara, and myself) has just returned from a productive spring surveying trip in Gold Butte National Monument! In three days, we surveyed 18 springs, bringing the grand total of springs surveyed since August 2020 to 82!
As we gear up for #GivingTuesday and the holiday season, we are touched by the generosity of individuals and businesses that have supported the protection of our public wildlands over the years. We would like to recognize, that for Giving Tuesday, the John T. Drakulich Farmers Insurance company made a gift of $2,500 to protect and preserve the wonder, joy, and health the environment brings to our community. Our trail crews will be grateful for this amazing gift. Thank you!
UPDATE: Stewardship comes in many forms for our staff. Last week, Nora and Chris hiked into Mt Rose Wilderness, just before the winter storms, to spread native seed in areas we have been removing Musk Thistle for almost a decade.
Ormat is proposing to develop geothermal plants just outside of Gerlach along County Road 34. Comments due to the BLM by November 30. For more details and to leave your comment, please view the official release statement here.
Friends of Nevada Wilderness will be fighting this project that would be wedged between the Black Rock Desert NCA and the lower eastern slopes of the proposed Granite Banjo Wilderness. It would directly impact the region’s dark skies, the Granite Banjo Wilderness Proposal, the Americana Art installation of Guru Lane, water sources, and international tourism in Gerlach and the Black Rock Playa.
Our Northern Nevada stewardship team, led by Nora and Chris, headed to the Gabbs Valley Wilderness Study Area (WSA) with a focus on knocking down mining claim markers and replacing worn out and broken boundary marking signs. The same diligent work local conservationist Jim Boone was seen completing in the Fred Bell produced documentary “Fowl Claims” which premiered earlier this month at our Wild & Scenic Film Festival Livestream.
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival Livestream sponsored by KNIT was held on Saturday, October 10 to a virtual audience around Nevada and the US. With the pandemic limiting crowd sizes, the festival went online in our 8th year of hosting the event. We may have been limited in interaction but there was an abundance of cheer and fellowship as we enjoyed personal stories about public lands, overcoming obstacles, environmental issues, and Indigenous rights. We sought to highlight the spirit of what unites us in conservation, community, and our love for Wilderness.
We hope everyone felt as inspired as we did while watching the films. Thank you for supporting our annual event and fundraiser. We appreciate everyone who took the time to become a member or renew their membership with their ticket purchase. If you would like to become a member or make a gift to protect Wilderness, visit our donate page here.
We look forward to seeing you at next year's event, in person!