Big land transfer in works for Pine Nuts
More than 14,500 acres of Bently land in the Pine Nut Mountains worth $11.425 million has been recommended for federal purchase.
The proposal is the largest expenditure of money under the 15th round of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1998.
According to information released on Wednesday, the property includes 684 acre feet of water a year.
While it is primarily located in Douglas County, there are parcels in Carson City and Lyon County.
The land would be acquired by the Bureau of Land Management, and is located in the Pine Nut Mountain Planning Management Unit.
The purchase would consolidate federal management for protection of bi-state sage grouse habitat, cultural resources, riparian areas and improvement of public access.
An estimated 9,000 acres of land are located in the sage grouse habitat. The property was nominated by Gardnerville firm Legacy Land and Water, owned by former Douglas County commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen.
Etchegoyhen said the purchase was the largest so far in Douglas County under the act.
“The resource values are just astounding,” he said. “Frankly, that’s where all the water is.”
Etchegoyhen said that he was hopeful that the purchase would open up additional travel routes through the Pine Nuts.
“The BLM can’t have a designated travel route that leads to private property,” he said. “Hopefully, this leads to some nice openings.”
Bently Enterprises Director of Government Affairs Carlo Luri said the firm is excited the lands will be protected.
“Bently has pretty sizable land holdings in the county, many of which were purchased by Chris Bently’s father with the intent to protect those properties,” he said. “Over the years, they’ve become more valuable as habitat, and for protection of the watershed.”
Luri said that while Bently occasionally grazed cows on the property, there wasn’t any other pressing business need for them.
Because many of the parcels are surrounded by BLM land, the agency was the likely choice.
“There’s not a lot of other potential buyers,” he said. “We’re excited that the lands will be accessible to the public, and protected from future development.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval announced the recommendations in the act, which allows proceeds from the sale of public lands in Clark County to fund projects throughout the state. The 15th round would provide $39 million for 40 projects.
“This is a great day for Nevada, more than $39 million stemming from the sale of Nevada’s public lands will be infused directly into the management, conservation, and improvement of some of our most precious natural resources,” Sandoval said.
Also receiving $464,560 in funding is the treatment of 900 acres in the Genoa hazardous fuels project area and $308,760 for the Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District to reduce hazardous fuels on the east side of Daggett Pass and in Haines Canyon.
Between 2003 and 2009, the act raised money to purchase 13,500 acres in conservation easements on Carson Valley agricultural land.
Valley ranchers can still conduct agriculture on the land, but it may not be developed.
Any new conservation easements would be paid through sales proposed in the Douglas County Lands Bill.
Etchegoyhen said the BLM land included in the bill has been on the disposal list for the past quarter century.
“It would have been auctioned off to the highest bidder with no restrictions on future use,” he said.
Sale of that property would not benefit Douglas County at all if the lands bill fails to get through Congress.