BLM plans to reseed wildfire affected areas | NevadaAppeal.com

BLM plans to reseed wildfire affected areas

Steve Ranson
LVN Editor Emeritus

The Bureau of Land Management presented an overview to Churchill County Commissioners on Wednesday to reseed areas burned by several big fires in Churchill County during the summer.

Ken Collum, field manager for the Stillwater Field Office, Carson City District, said the agency will rehabilitate the land through both drill and aerial seeding. He said drill seeding will occur on about 8,088 acres, and the aerial seeding over another 6,364 acres.

"We're trying to get all seed in the ground before we're snowed out," Collum said.

He said the BLM has awarded $1.1 million for the Draw Fire and an another $670,000 for Bravo 17 for aerial seeding and contracting for fencing, road repair and cultural surveying. Because of the number of fires that burned throughout the West, he said funding is spread out among the states. As a result, he said it appears the Tungsten Fire may not receive any funding at this time.

"We're targeting priority areas where we'll make the biggest impacts," Collum said. "We need to knock the cheat grass back."

Collum said the wet winter produced thick cheatgrass throughout the region, but the cheatgrass didn't grow tall. According to Utah State University, cheatgrass, which usually dries out in June, burns easily and rapidly spreads fire.

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The Draw Fire burned more than 26,000 acres in July in the Clan Alpine mountain range 60 miles east of Fallon near Cold Springs.

The western, southern and the lower eastern segments of the fire were secured with a constructed fire line and burned out areas toward the interior. On the northern part of the fire, firefighters protected homes in the Alpine Ranch area.

Collum said the Draw Fire burned in what is called a mosaic pattern. He said fire touched certain areas, while sagebrush remained in others.

The Bravo 17 Fire, which crossed over into a major part of the U.S. Navy training range, burned 22,964 acres. It began several says after the Draw Fire and included a 6-mile stretch of Highway 50 starting at the Earthquake Fault Road west to the salt flats.

The Tungsten Fire, which was reported in late August, burned 16,755 acres at an elevation of 7,168 feet in the Clan Alpine range 60 miles east of Fallon. The BLM said lightning caused the wildfire.

Commissioners approved 3-0 for Social Services to enter into two leases for a total fiscal impact of $18,000. The leases will be with Rogne Realty from Dec. 1 through Nov. 30, 2018 to provide housing assistance to homeless residents.

The action will go forward once legal content is approved.

Social Services has provided short-term housing and sheltering to residents who are literally homeless through the PATH program since 1998.

The contract will include rent, all utilities, cleaning of units after clients move out and on-going maintenance.

Commissioners also approved 3-0 to enter into an agreement with the State of Nevada, Division of Housing for $30,000 in trust funds to support the Rural Nevada Continuum of Care, Social Entrepreneurs, Inc., Homeless Planning Contract.

Commissioners heard the second reading of an ordinance that would regulate the use of houses smaller than 1,200 square feet, park model trailers, shipping containers and sheds as residents in the county. Commissioners had sought clarification with the ordinance.

Commissioner Carl Erquiaga said a dwelling must include a working restroom. Deputy District Attorney Ben Shawcroft said the county wants to ensure structures are safe and following the zoning requirements. The ordinance was modified after the first reading two weeks ago to include the use of shipping containers in certain land use districts as long as they meet the International Building Code requirements for permanent housing.

Commissioners approved 3-0 to allocate 175 acre-feet of county-owned water to the Lahontan Valley Bird Dog Club revegetation project on Pasture Road. The approval is for a four-year period.

Sheriff Ben Trotter discussed joinder contracts with G4SSecure Solutions for security services for the Tenth Judicial District Court and at the new law enforcement center. Trotter said the county is saving about 50 percent of what it would cost to hire new deputies.

The contract calls for a rate of $22.57 per hour with an overtime/holiday rate of $31.60 per hour for the remainder of this calendar year with an increase to $23.26 per hour and $32.56 per hour for overtime and holidays effective Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2018.

Commissioners approved the contract 3-0.

Trotter said the dispatch section should be moving into the new facility on Dec. 13, and the inmates will transfer Dec. 12-13.

In other action, commissioners approved recordation of a Conservation Easement Deed for Mark A. and Mary K. Kolwyck, trustees, of the Kolwyck family trust dated Dec. 8, 2006 at 3780 Stark Lane.

Approved final scoping comments for the Greater Sage Grouse Land Use Plan Agreement. County Manager Eleonore Lockwood said the current administration in Washington, D.C. has told BLM to re-do the land use plan amendment for sage grouse habitat. Lockwood said the administration wants more input from the counties and cities.

Commissioner Pete Olsen attended a Nevada Local Elected Officials White House meeting from Nov. 2-5 with representatives from different federal government agencies. Olsen said representatives from the various agencies want more contact with local officials, not with congressional delegations.