IEC gives updates on legislative, wildfire and cultural issues

The Intergovernmental Executive Committee met last week at the Fallon Convention Center to provide updates association with the proposed modernization and expansion of the Fallon Range Training Complex.

The Intergovernmental Executive Committee met last week at the Fallon Convention Center to provide updates association with the proposed modernization and expansion of the Fallon Range Training Complex.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

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The Intergovernmental Executive Committee met last week at the Fallon Convention Center for a Navy update on numerous items including legislative, cultural resources and tribal engagement.
A congressionally directed effort, the IEC serves as an advisory board for facilitating government-to-government and intergovernmental coordination, as well as providing for the exchange of views, information, and advice in matters regarding the management of the natural and cultural resources within the existing and proposed withdrawal Fallon Range Training Complex land area and airspace.
Participants at this month’s meeting learned from the U.S. Navy that the modernization for expanding the Fallon Range Training Complex was not included in the National Defense Authorization Act that was approved in December. The Navy will continue working with the Nevada congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., with the hope the modernization legislation will be included in the 2023 NDAA.
Cmdr. Scott Beyer, NAS Fallon’s public works officer, reviewed what actions the Navy is taking to mitigate any impacts from training to land, cultural and natural resources. He presented an overview on each range and its training mission. Training includes ground and air training to air-to-ground munitions delivery and rotary-wing strafing. The Dixie Valley Training Area provides a variety of training from convoy to helicopter mountain flying to naval special warfare activities.
Beyer said focus areas for cultural resources and tribal engagement are emphasizing the development of meaningful, lasting relationships with stakeholder tribes, complete ethnographic study and cultural surveys of proposed withdrawal area and preserving and protecting known cultural resources.
According to Beyer, cultural resources and tribal engagement commitments cover seven areas: revision of programmatic agreement has begun; develop tribal access Memorandum of Agreement ensuring continued access; Brave 20 expansion area archaeological inventory; B-17 expansion area continued archaeological inventories; ethnographic studies on selection sites and in B-20; build a more robust tribal program with the hiring of a tribal liaison officer and tribal relations director; and avoid sacred sites and traditional cultural properties; establish relationships with the tribes; develop extensive outreach program consisting of job openings, archaeological site visits and economic development opportunities; and establish comprehensive system for the management of data and sensitive information.
Natural resources focus areas will include the multiple land use in the Dixie Valley, the Dixie Valley toad and Tui Chub and bighorn sheep.
Natural resources commitments are focusing on the following: sage grouse noise study in development with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey; B-17 Bighorn sheep hunt Memorandum of Agreement is ready for execution; Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan revision has been prepared for existing lands in progress; Wildlife Fire Management Plan has been developed for existing lands in progress; and Conservation Law Enforcement Offices is under review to add Navy positions at NAS Fallon.
The Natural Resource goals included the following: Continue to build partnerships and pursue opportunities for regional management of natural resources through collaborative projects that look beyond FRTC boundaries; revise INRMP to build a more robust and comprehensive NR program, and identify new projects to effectively manage resources on a modernized FRTC; build volunteer and citizen science opportunities with public/non-governmental organizations to support INRMP goals and objectives on the FRTC; and continue management of resources enabling continued mission accomplishment at NAS Fallon.
Ann Schofield, Natural Resources manager with the NAS Fallon Public Works Department, updated the progress being made on the Wildlife Fire Management Plan final draft.
She said input has been received from the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, NDOW, Churchill County, BLM, USFWS and NAS Fallon.
The preliminary finalization is scheduled for March.
Mike Baskerville, an archaeologist with NAS Fallon, said inventory of 117,000 Acres of the B-20 Range expansion associated with the modernization is underway. So far, crews have completed about 19,713 acres through four field rotations.
Baskerville said each field crew had one Native American representative; typically there are between three-to five tribal representatives on each rotation. He said the proposed modernization area associated with the B-16 Range was 100% inventoried as part of the EIS process.
Kish LaPierre, NAS Fallon tribal liaison, provided information on Draft Tribal Access Agreement (MOA); tribal Involvement with Ethnographic and Archaeological Inventories (B-20 Area); tribal involvement with the Greenbelt Archaeological Inventories; tribal involvement with future archaeological inventories B-17 Area 48; draft Wildland Fire Management Plan and tribal consultation; B-16 fence installation and tribal consultation; off-range ordnance draft report and the Walker River Paiute Tribe; and noting a letter sent by the Secretary of the Navy to the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe.
The committee did not set the next meeting date, but members indicated it could be in late March or April.

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