Thank you to the several Farm Bureau members who took action on the message from last week’s special issue of this newsletter to attend the “Public Meetings” that the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) held this past week in Winnemucca, Elko and Ely. Nevada Farm Bureau attended the meeting in Winnemucca where there was only one person attending who wasn’t getting a paycheck to be there as part of their job. Reports from Elko and Ely also indicated few people who weren’t associated with some state or federal government agency. These reports also shared that comments were raised at each of the meetings on how there wasn’t any notice provided by NDOW to let any “public” know about meetings being held. Evidently all of the agencies got their notices, because most of those participating came from some state or federal agency.
The slide show that presented the purpose for NDOW’s Sagebrush Habitat Plan, being initiated as the result of a Governor Steve Sisolak Executive Order (2021-018), shared that the Plan will be “developed collaboratively with counties, federal land management and state agencies and other stakeholders.” Based on the actual actions taken; NDOW intends for “collaboratively” to mean:
- huddling up with other government agencies to design their planning process
- hold “public meetings” to get input (explained as being “scoping meetings) – without letting the public know about the meetings
- take this “input” back to draft the plan they will develop and put it out for “public review” sometime the fall of 2023
- final draft the winter of 2023
There will be an additional “public meeting” in Las Vegas at the NDOW office (3373 Pepper Ln, Las Vegas) on January 31st from 5 to 7 p.m.
What the Plan will be is still to be determined (or at least explained as what it will be), but the general concept seems to be development of a Nevada centric map and or mapping toolsets based on values and threats to help prioritize conservation actions across the various land management/ownership. Among other things intended for this Plan, is that it will be “broadly used by all agencies, landowners, work groups, etc. to inform habitat conservation work.
One of the notations for what the Plan is not – the last thing on the list of five items – is it won’t require “mandatory participation.” What isn’t mentioned is that federal land management agencies who make the determination to “voluntarily participate” in using the map or mapping toolsets, might have their own ideas to implement management actions which could seem somewhat “mandatory.”
Nevada Farm Bureau currently is determining next steps that we will pursue and will likely include an official, written comment to be provided to NDOW and other officials.