Leaving Las Vegas: Will Sharon Angle turn out the lights?

Will the resource-sucking “sin city” be reclaimed by the desert?

Everyone knows at least a little bit about Las Vegas. To many visitors, Las Vegas is Nevada. In terms of population this is almost true. The large majority of the state’s population lives in Clark County (Las Vegas) — almost 2-million people live in this small southern Nevada urban area.  Reno is the only other major population center.

There is the real Nevada. It’s a land of vast deserts (both hot desert and cold Great Basin desert).  Over a hundred mountain ranges bisect the desert basins. Scenery is wonderful, although it is not the classical jagged glacier peaks and deep forest. Population density is very low. Best of all, almost 80% of the state is public land. You don’t have to ask permission to use it.

On the other hand, it is not pristine land. Most of the land is grazed by cattle, although Nevada is regularly held up as an example of the poorest grazing land in America. Much of north central Nevada is being torn apart by vast gold mine pits that spew their poisonous mercury upon the residents of Utah and Idaho. The gold pits are late comers to an earlier era of mining that created towns like Searchlight, Nevada.

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A “carp rodeo”

Someone in Nevada has it right about the uselessness of predator control

NDoW opposes killing of predators says habitat is the issue.

There is a battle raging in Nevada about predator control under the guise of helping deer and sage grouse. As it turns out the problem isn’t about predators but about habitat quality. For years the BLM and the ranchers have colluded in an effort to make more grass available to livestock under the guise of “habitat improvement projects” which destroy piñon/juniper forests and sagebrush needed for cover while ignoring the fact that overgrazing has eliminated essential grasses from vast areas of the landscape and greatly impacted valuable bitterbrush.

When one looks at grazing permit renewal documents from the Nevada BLM, the habitat needs of wildlife are given only cursory analysis and the BLM always makes sure that when there are problems there are never any real cuts in AUMs but only what are commonly referred to as paper cuts, or animals that aren’t really grazed. Utilization standards often allow for utilization of native perennial grasses and shrubs or half shrubs of 50% which, as with the case of blue bunch wheatgrass, often kills the plants or greatly hinders their vigor in these arid environments.

Back in December came news that mountain lions, coyotes, badgers, skunks and ravens would all be targeted in an effort to improve deer and sage grouse survival using $866,000 from the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s Heritage fund. The money would have been used to fund operations of Wildlife Services. Since then Nevada Department of Wildlife has come out in opposition saying that these issues revolve around habitat issues rather than predators and that the science doesn’t justify the wanton killing of predators.

Tony Wasley, NDOW mule deer specialist, said controlling predators won’t stop the disappearance of the sagebrush-covered terrain that deer depend on in Nevada and much of the West.

“We’re talking about a landscape-scale phenomenon here,” Wasley said. “The population is limited by habitat.”

Where there is insufficient habitat, “all the predator control in the world won’t result in any benefit,” Wasley said.

Feds, Nevada officials clash over deer predator control
Reno Gazette Journal

Nevada wildlife chief questions sage grouse decision

More worried about protecting industry than wildlife.

Mono Basin Sage Grouse

Mono Basin Sage Grouse

The Mono Basin sage grouse received a higher priority rating, a 3 on a scale of 1-12, as a candidate species than the larger populations elsewhere which received an 8 rating. Unbelievably the Chief of the Nevada Division of wildlife expressed greater concern about the industries that would be affected. That shows you what that agency’s priorities are.

“Ken Mayer, director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said the decision could affect mining, ranching and other activities in a wide area generally around the Mono Basin.”

Sage grouse in this area have declined greatly and have become greatly isolated not only from the larger populations but from each other. Frankly, these grouse should have been listed as threatened, if not endangered, due to their very low population levels and the threats that face them in the future. Notice that there is a proposed mine in the middle of one of the largest population areas.

Nev. wildlife chief questions sage grouse decision
By MARTIN GRIFFITH, Associated Press Writer

How the plan to drain Nevada desert valleys suddenly collapsed

Legislation from 2003 had a hidden flaw-

The small oversight that threatens the valley’s big pipeline proposal. Nevada Supreme court cites a wording error in ’03 legislation. By Emily Green and Tom Gorman, Las Vegas Sun.

The seemingly unstoppable “water witch of the West” made an early mistake.

I hope it is truly dead, but Put Mulroy may have more cards up her sleeve. Pipeline not the sole option. Authority exploring other means as predictions for Lake Mead remain grim.By Stephanie Tavares. Las Vegas Sun.

As giant Lake Mead continues to dry up, and the drain-the-desert plan maybe dead, will the economic depression in Nevada keep the Las Vegas area wet?


Utah governor to sign Snake Valley water pact with Nevada

Does he care that it will turn the Nevada/Utah border into a dustbowl?

Guv ready to make Snake Valley water deal with Nevada. By Brandon Loomis. The Salt Lake Tribune

Don’t sign, governor. Snake Valley water pact needs work. Salt Lake Tribune Editorial.

We hoped the recent court loss by the Southern Nevada Water Authority would stop Utah’s new governor from buying into this corrupt bargain. Utah’s governor no doubt wants his own destructive water pipeline from Lake Powell across southern Utah to feed urban sprawl at St. George, UT.

Photos of how the Southern Nevada Water Authority deals with desert plants on the land is has grabbed. Does soil look like it isn”t going to just blow away?

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/29659698
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/29653768
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/29659249
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/29659808

Wyoming-Oregon gas pipeline to cross Nevada and Utah-

The “Ruby pipeline” is to be bad news for pristine desert, scenic canyons, wildlife-

In typical single-minded engineering mentality, this pipeline will be built cross-country  with little regard for anything else.

Reno Gazette-Journal on the Ruby Pipeline. By Susan Voyles.

This pipeline is one reason why Western Watersheds giant sage-grouse lawsuit is so important.

Posted in energy, oil and gas, Wildlife Habitat. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Wyoming-Oregon gas pipeline to cross Nevada and Utah-