Painted Rock mine draft assessment could be released in September

The painted rock that gives Painted Rock Mine its name.

The painted rock that gives Painted Rock Mine its name.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

A draft environmental assessment on a proposal to mine gravel on a Washoe Tribe allotment above Johnson Lane may be released to the public next month.

The assessment is being conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which administers allotment lands belonging to individual Washoe families. The allotments are not subject to governance by the tribe itself.

During Thursday’s quarterly update from the Bureau of Land Management Assistant Sierra Front Assistant Field Manager Katrina Leavitt said release of the assessment will trigger a 30-day review period and a public meeting. Once the public comment is done, a final assessment would be prepared in October with a final decision in November.

Douglas County Commission Chairman Mark Gardner asked that public meeting be conducted in the county.

The assessment will arrive three years after plans to operate a gravel mine first came to light.

Residents along Johnson Lane, which will be the main route to Highway 395 for gravel trucks, are protesting approval of the mine.

That route will require access over the dirt portion of the road belonging to the BLM and the paved portion which is maintained by Douglas County.

When first proposed, Knox Excavation said the operation would operate under a 40-year lease affecting 145 acres of land.

Over that time nearly 30 million cubic yards would be removed with roughly 1,000-2,000 tons a day depending on demand.

Mining is an approved use in much of the Pine Nut Mountains which is riddled with old and current mining claims dating back to before Nevada became a state.

Similar concerns resulted in a protracted debate over a pit to subsidize the creation of ponds for Lake Tahoe’s sewer plant not much further south above Stockyard Road.

A proposal to excavate a retention pond a bit downstream just above East Valley Road was included in a study to reduce flood flows from Buckeye Creek. That study was presented to commissioners on July 20.


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