The Bureau of Land Management detailed a proposed land-rehabilitation program for the Pine Nut Range Thursday night.
The proposed project is the largest scale the Carson City office has done so far because the plan addresses three components: fire fuels, wildlife and riparian areas which are commonly areas with volumes of water, said Brian Buttazoni, BLM Planning and Environmental Coordinator.
“We’re wrapping (it all) into one project,” he said.
The BLM is seeking comments on the project, which is entering into its first public phase. Comments are due by May 2. The comments they are seeking are substantive ones, giving a reason or suggestion more than just for or against.
“That ‘because’ factor is what we’re looking for,” Buttazoni told the group.
Greg Hendricks, one of 14 area residences to attend, said the plan seems basic at the moment and he plans to comment during the next phase when more details have been hammered out.
“It’s such a broad brush. There are more questions than answers,” he said.
Eddie Mayo, too, said he is looking forward more.
“We have to look at the detail,” he said.
Dorthy Nylen, who is the president of the Wild Horse Preservation League, said she was at first interested on the impact on wild horses.
“There doesn’t seem to be any impact,” she said. “I have an interest in wild areas anyway. So far, it sounds pretty good.”
For the start of a proposed 10-year project, reaching 2,000-3,000 acres per year over 26,252 acres, the BLM has done a good job, she said.
“For a beginning, they’ve made a really nice outreach so far,” she said.
Nylen said she is interested in all types of wildlife and part of the proposed plan is to rehabilitate the land especially for the threatened sage grouse.
“I like predators, too,” she said.
BLM Fuels Specialist Tim Roide described the changed fire cycle to the group and explained to the Nevada Appeal part of the purpose of the plan.
“The plant composition in the Pine Nut Range is no longer natural and needs some kind of management intervention to try to restore it to a healthier state,” he said. “Really, a lot of what we’re trying to do is to get it to be more resilient (after a fire. Fire) is its natural process out there in the landscape.”
If acreages are managed, the land has a better chance of recovering after a fire, denying inversive species such as cheat grass a foothold.
A portion of the plan is to cull pinyon and juniper trees where they have been encroaching on historically grassy areas, to thin pinyon and juniper stands where there are too many trees competing for too few resources, and to restore riparian areas that have been crowded out by the flammable trees, Roide said. It’s not all about the trees. Reseeding also is an option.
“Everything is just stressed” partially because of the continuing drought. “The plants and the animals,” he in an interview.
Some of the treatments might allow public culling of trees for firewood, while others would allow the trees to become mulch and others would allow them to decompose naturally.