We are continuing to monitor and provide comments on the ill conceived ORMAT plans to drill up to 20 exploration wells and ultimately build a geothermal plant on the outer edge of Gerlach. The proposed plant would negatively impact the community by threatening dark skies, recreational access and, very importantly, our Granite Banjo Wilderness proposal. The minor amount of energy that would be produced here does not warrant the impacts to the community, recreation and Wilderness.
(Photo by Bob Wick, BLM - Granite Range near Gerlach)
Friends recently provided details about these impacts in our response (in partnership with Center for Biological Diversity) to the BLM's Environmental Assessment of the exploration (drilling) phase of the project. Click Read More below for maps and more information.
We will keep you posted as we push for a comprehensive environmental analysis of this proposal. Geothermal energy is viable in many places in Nevada, but this is not one of them. Please stay tuned for our call to action to help us make sure Wild Nevada stays wild.
Burbank Canyons is a beautiful little 13,395-acre area in Douglas County with perennial streams, aspen groves, great hiking, and excellent solitude. Raptors, mule deer, bear, mountain lion, sage grouse, and various bird species live here. Wilderness designation will give it permanent protection.
Its protection has been included in various versions of the Douglas County Public lands bill over the past decade. Currently it is included as part of HR 5243, the Northern Nevada Economic Development, Conservation and Military Modernization Act of 2021, introduced by Congressman Amodei 9/14/21. We hope to see this beautiful area get permanent protection in 2022.
Once again, our tried-and-true strategy to listen to stakeholders’ concerns, negotiate in good faith, assist in seeking out common-sense solutions and just plain hang in there, has resulted in a local agreement to designate almost 427,000 acres of new Wilderness Area in Nye County. We’re also very excited that local officials have agreed to what we’re calling the 216,000 acre Lunar Starlight National Conservation Area, a historic effort to preserve a truly unique Western landscape.
We will look to Senator Rosen and Congressman Horsford and their staff to condense all of this hard work into federal legislation that we fervently hope will come to pass. Nye County is home to some of the crown jewels of wild lands and we are cautiously optimistic that Nye could become the wild heart of the Great Basin.
Thanks to the leadership of Senator Jacky Rosen and her top-notch staff, we are now encouraged by the direction of discussions that could very well lead to a Truckee Meadows/Washoe County public lands bill weighing more heavily in favor of conservation. We hope to see a bill introduced this year.
Draft maps indicate that about 223,000 acres of Wild Washoe County could receive Wilderness designation along with 542,000 acres of National Conservation Area designation. We’re also working with other conservation partners, hoping to maintain open public access to popular recreation areas closer to the urban population, like the Virginia Mountains/Tule Peak and the Petersens. About 151,000 acres closer in to Reno could be protected as special management areas of some kind.
We have worked with the Senator’s staff to provide mapping and ground-truthing various concerns and working out detailed solutions and whatever else we can do to move the process forward. Finally, after years of various attempts at Washoe County legislation, much of it unacceptable to the conservation community and fought off by all of our supporters, it appears we’re on the right path. Stay tuned as we may soon be calling on you once again, our
volunteers and supporters, to encourage your elected leaders to get to the finish line and Keep Washoe Wild!
On July 21, 2022 after months of Senator Cortez Masto and her staff working to improve the southern Nevada bill she introduced early in 2021, Clark County pulled out saying there wasn't enough disposal of public lands and other development pieces remaining in the bill. The bill, which was to have had a mark up hearing was pulled off the list by the Senator. It is our plan to continue to work with the Senator's office on our highest priority which has always been the protection of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge from military expansion and closure to the public.
The fight will continue and we still need your support to protect the bighorn and all the other creatures that call the Desert Refuge home. With your continued help we have created awareness with our #dontbombthebighorn social media campaign, taken our elected officials and their staff on tours, worked with great photographers to showcase the beauty and importance of the refuge through images, partnered with BackCounty Pictures for the production of the amazing Desert Refuge videos, walked the halls in Washington DC talking to our delegation and key, attended many meetings, reviewed, analyzed and commented on the NTTR LEIS, and helped form a large coalition with national regional and local groups all fighting for the refuge.
On March 3, 2021 Senator Cortez Masto and Congresswoman Titus along with the entire Nevada delegation introduced the Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act (S 567 and HR 1597) that would have provided permanent protection for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. 1.3 million acres are to be designated as Wilderness and will be strong protection from military expansion further into the refuge! Click to read a text of the bill and a map is available here.
BREAKING NEWS There will be no military expansion into the Stillwater Range and surrounding public lands at least for now.
At the end of 2020, Congress voted in support of the National Defense Authorization Act in early December and the negotiated language was a 25-year status quo extension of what the Fallon Training Range Complex currently has. President Trump vetoed the NDAA and Congress overrode his veto at the end of the year.
Friends of Nevada Wilderness has been proud to work with members of the Nevada delegation, the Pershing County Commission and many stakeholders to advance a comprehensive lands bill for Pershing County that aims to conserve important areas as wilderness and provide economic development for the County. Passage of this bill will ensure the permanent protection of 136,072 acres of Wilderness, while also providing tools to help resolve the checkerboard land issue. Several versions of the bill have been introduced into Congress over the last 5 years and we are hopeful that 2022 will be the year this important bill passes.
Read more about the beautiful areas that would be protected.