A proposal to work on large swaths of the Pine Nut Mountains was unveiled to the public by the Bureau of Land Management on Thursday night.
The proposed project is the largest the Carson City office has ever done, and will address reducing fire fuels, improving wildlife habitat, and working on the creeks and marshes that dot the mountains, said BLM Planning and Environmental Coordinator Brian Buttazoni.
“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 to more.
“We have to look at the detail,” he said.
Dorothy 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 invasive species such as cheat grass a foothold.
A portion of the plan is to thin piñon and juniper trees where they have been encroaching on historically grassy areas, to thin piñon 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.
Thinning the trees could result from residents cutting some for firewood, while other trees would be chopped up for mulch, and still others would be allowed to decompose.