Spring-Summer 2009 Nevada Wilderness Project Newsletter


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Spring-Summer 2009 Nevada Wilderness Project Newsletter

  1. 1. Spring/Summer 2009Birthdays, pragmatism and blowing a hello The Nevada Wilderness Projectkiss to change is a catalyst for wildlife habitatC hange is a big theme in the world these days, and rightfully so. There are a whole conservation, wilderness lot of challenges we’re beginning to confront after years of denial. Climate change, preservation, and smartfor example—just a few short years ago, there was a disturbing number of highly placed development of renewable energy.elected officials who mocked the reality of climate change. Today, a few wingnutty holdouts www.wildnevada.orgremain, but most key decision makers at local, state and federal levels are finally harnessingtheir policies at the recognition that climate change is the mother of all game changers.Change arrives in smaller packages too. At the Nevada Wilderness Project, 2009 is our 10thbirthday. We’re using the occasion to tell you about our new direction, born of a year-longeffort to reevaluate the assumptions of our work, the efficacy of our campaigns and wherebest we can apply our resources. We believe our next ten years can be even better thanthe first.I started the Project in May of 1999 with a singular purpose: to designate wilderness inNevada. By any standard, we’ve been successful: more than 2.5 million acres designatedin four consecutive Congresses, with National Conservation Area protection for another500,000 acres. This was unprecedented. If you are reading this, chances are you’ve playeda big role in this success, along with our friends in the Nevada Wilderness Coalition, SenatorHarry Reid and members of the Nevada Congressional delegation. With bipartisan supportin Republican-controlled Congresses, our vision and its execution was change in itself.While we’re still pushing for wilderness designations, we are also leveraging more science inthe defense of wildlife corridors and critical habitats. We’re confronting the challenges andopportunities of Nevada’s renewable energy boom with a clear-eyed pragmatism that will getresults, while moving conservation up the list of priorities for decision makers. And last butcertainly not least, we’re honing in on site-specific areas of advocacy like Gold Butte, featuredon the back page, to support volunteers working to protect areas of high conservation value.And we promise to continue to laugh much and never take ourselves too seriously.Your participation, time, money, creativity and humor are welcome here. Get in touchwith one of us and tell us how we can help connect your values with our actions. Saw Mill Canyon, Desert Refuge, Tyler Roemer-John Wallin, Director john.wallin@wildnevada.org Saw Mill Canyon, Desert tortoise by Jeff Servoss, courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Desert Refuge, Tyler Roemer
  2. 2. Long-billed dowitchers by Mike Sevon, courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife ServiceIn 2009, the Nevada Wilderness Project adopted a new five-yearstrategic plan.B efore you fall asleep after that opener, please know that this is designed to tell you about the plan without making youwish you were pressing a fork to your head, reading the phone ● NWP will contribute to the implementation of Nevada’s State Wildlife Action Plan, required by the federal government, with the objective of maximizing wildlife connectivity and habitat protectionbook, scooping the litter box ... anything but hearing about our statewide.strategic plan. So here it is, short and sweet: ● In Clark County, conservation projects will be prioritized andWe’re energized by our new mission, strategic plan and three mitigated with the county’s Multiple Species Habitat Conservationprograms we’re going to use to address conservation and habitat Plan in mind.connectivity in Nevada. John Wallin, NWP’s Director, drank 955 Climate Change, Energy, and Wildlands is our second lensgallons of fizzy water during the planning process. Our new plan through which we are addressing conservation on public landsoutlines three “lenses” or approaches to conservation for Nevada in Nevada. It rests on this premise: We can’t solve our energythat are solution-oriented, pragmatic and will allow us to build on crisis—or address climate change—by destroying the land. That’sour past ten years of success. There are tremendous conservation the easy version. More specifically, the Nevada Wilderness Projectchallenges ahead for Nevada, but we’re stoked and optimistic supports renewable energy development, such as wind, solar andabout working on them. Read on to see why. geothermal, that is “smart from the start.” This means:First, we’ve added a program to our toolkit called Linking Landscapes ● Harnessing Nevada’s renewable and clean energy resourcesfor Wildlife. This one is the big kahuna, the prima ballerina, the while conserving wildlife corridors and habitats, and protectingsuperstar ... the program or lens through which we approach most the natural beauty and open spaces of the state.of our work. It means we will come up with lands proposals thatwill conserve corridors, or connectivity, between habitats so that ● Maximizing the existing grid, existing infrastructure (roadsanimals have room to move freely from place to place. and transmission lines) and building in areas that are already biologically degraded, for example, places inundated by invasiveThere is growing awareness around the country that protecting species or hammered by irresponsible off-road vehicle users.islands of beautiful wildlands is not enough. These areas must beconserved as connected or linked habitats if we’re serious about ● “Smart from the start” means mitigating energy developmentprotecting North America’s amazing wildlife, especially our large with federal protections for other places, designating them as newmammals. In Nevada, identifying and protecting linked landscapes Wilderness or National Conservation Areas.is essential for the survival of our desert bighorn sheep, mule ● Developing “smart” renewable energy sources in Nevada meansdeer, pronghorn herds and many other species. So the Nevada providing a secure, clean and diversified economy that benefitsWilderness Project will: businesses and communities and also reduces our contribution to● Convene a Wildlife Linkages Working Group in the state made up climate change.of many people from different organizations that informs federal, The third part of our new strategic plan talks about Specialstate and local governments on conservation priorities for land use Landscapes. The Nevada Wilderness Project’s roots are inplanning. This group will write a conservation “blueprint” for Nevada Wilderness—and in the passion our staff and members have tothat identifies and prioritizes areas of habitat connectivity.
  3. 3. push for laws that protect some of the greatest, unspoiled, un-touched, un-ruined, most wild places left in our country. And thoseroots run deep. Three million acres deep. That’s how many acres ofWilderness and National Conservation Areas we have spearheadedprotection for since we were founded in 1999.That’s why we will help protect places identified by local residentsand the broader environmental community as some of our state’smost spectacular and unspoiled natural gems. These notable placesare ripe for—or in dire need of—Congressional protection. Forexample, we have been working to pass legislation to protect GoldButte, northeast of Las Vegas, where first-time visitors inevitablyexclaim, “I can’t believe this isn’t a national park ... or something.”People are incredulous when they see the area’s Native Americanpetroglyphs, stunning rock formations and ancient Joshua trees.And they are just as incredulous when they see the unforgiveablevandalism that has been done to some of them: bullet holes in therock art, Joshua trees burned along with camper trash, off-road tiretracks scarring the vistas. Special landscapes like these deserve—and will get—NWP’s commitment and focused energy.There’s much more about these three programs on our website,www.wildnevada.org. For more about Linking Landscapes forWildlife, contact our Conservation Director, john.tull@wildnevada.org. For Climate Change, Energy and Wildlands, or our SpecialLandscapes program, contact NWP’s director, john.wallin@ Burrowing owls © M.J. Kammerer, info@wingedphoto.comwildnevada.org. Or call our office: 775-746-7851. T-shirts are 10 dollars in honor of our 10th birthday We have great NWP t-shirts (organic cotton & fabulous designs!) on sale on our website, discounted to celebrate our birthday and to make sure they reach the backs of wilderness fans far, wide and deep underground. You can see more t-shirt photos on www.wildnevada. org. Click the “Join Us” tab and Gold Butte petroglyphs by Kristie Connolly scroll down. Other websites to know about: www.weethump.com www.friendsofgoldbutte.org http://friendsofwovoka.blogspot.com We’ve been making lots of changes and improvements to our website. Interested in downloading Wilderness maps? Want to see the habitat distribution of the southwestern willow flycatcher? Looking for a way to donate securely online? It’s all there, plus many new wildlife photos, news articles and simple amusements. Check it out at www.wildnevada.org No clowns. No petting zoo. But the Nevada Wilderness Project is celebrating our 10th birthday this fall by hosting The Wild & Scenic Film Festival! In September, we’ll be throwing parties in Las Vegas and Reno by showing this amazing collection of films accompanied by music, beverages, raffles ... who knows, maybe a few magic tricks? We’ll spread the word once we have the dates set. In the meantime, you can learn more about the festival at www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org
  4. 4. Maps help us think. Bighorn Sheep Habitat & MovementT BLM Energy Transmission Corridor his one shows part of Clark County Pending Renewable Energy Projects in southern Nevada, with areas Wilderness Areasaround Las Vegas slated for developmentof renewable energy, red lines designatingnew transmission poles and lines, wilderness Desert Coyote Springsareas NWP helped protect in ‘02 and ‘04, National Mesquitevarious towns and highways, and a new city Wildlifeof 200,000 warm bodies that will be built 168north of Vegas over the next decade. Refuge 93 Indian SpringsIt also depicts major migration routes for 15bighorn sheep identified by the Nevada 95Department of Wildlife. Bighorn sheep Proposed 160are Nevada’s primo large mammal, and Gold Butte NCA withpeople come from around the world to see Wildernessor hunt them; they are emblematic of our (Read the Pahrump Las Vegasstate’s rugged landscapes. They migrate article on the back page tobetween higher elevations in summer to learn more.)lower elevations during winter, driven by theconstant quest for water, food and shelter 160 Boulder Cityfrom extreme weather. Without access to 95 Map illustration bythese high quality habitats – unaltered and Kristie Connollyunimpeded by human activities – these herdswill die out. So all Nevadans have to think: ● Can we maximize the existing infrastructure diversity. In fact, we know that with your● Where on the land do these components— for energy transmission rather than build help we can leave a lasting and greatdevelopment, transportation, wildlife something from scratch? natural legacy for Nevada.habitat, existing protected areas— ● Why not build a bridge for wildlife over So to re-cap: The best available data aboutintersect? the highway to reduce the number of people wildlife populations and habitat, plus● How will they impact one another and and bighorn sheep killed in collisions? up-to-date information about proposedimpact the land? ● Does all this make your head hurt? development, plus ground-truthed● Can we mitigate the impacts of inventories of our public land, plus peer Well, we’re willing to put our heads to it, review and stakeholder input ... these aredevelopment here, by protecting land over and seek advice from experienced people the components that go into our proposals.there? who have already grappled with many of That and a responsibility to leave our● Can we protect the land between two these issues. NWP is the only non-profit wildlands for the generations who comeexisting wilderness areas, resulting in a safe organization in the state with a fulltime after us. Nothing less.corridor for wildlife? conservation biologist on staff, as well as an experienced and skilled GIS and Arcview – Charlotte Overby,● Should we build a large-scale wind farm Communications Director map specialist. Their skills paired with ourhere where the habitat is already degraded, charlotte.overby@wildnevada.org political and grassroots experience give us ainstead of over there where it is still better-than-fighting chance to pass positivepristine? legislation protecting wildlife and habitat Saw Mill Canyon, Desert Refuge, Photo by Kristie Connolly Tyler Roemer
  5. 5. Gold Butte: On the front burnerI n Mesquite’s backyard lies an incredible landscape: Gold Butte Country. The Virgin River is the northern boundary withthe Colorado River to the south. Lake Mead National RecreationArea and Arizona’s Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monumentare political boundaries to the west and east. Native Americans,miners, ranchers and recreationists have used this area forcenturies. Our fall newsletter was dedicated to Gold Butte; in lateSeptember last year, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley introducedHR 7132, the Gold Butte National Conservation Area Act, thatwould have designated 200,000 acres as Wilderness and 362,177acres as National Conservation Area. No action was taken andthe bill died when Congress adjourned.But Congress’s inaction has spurred us on to new action. Passedby for legislation and undermanaged by the federal agencies,Gold Butte needs your voice now, more than ever. The NevadaWilderness Project has partnered with the Friends of Gold Butteto bring people together to preserve the rich cultural and naturalresources that make up this “Special Landscape.” We are workingwith Nevada’s Congressional delegation to introduce new GoldButte legislation this year.The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Clark County havedesignated 350,000 acres as an Area of Critical EnvironmentalConcern (ACEC) for scenic, prehistoric and wildlife values, of which187,000 acres of that are protected for the endangered deserttortoise. Wilderness is proposed for 100,000 acres of identifiedunfragmented tortoise habitat, which will guarantee these large Bighorn sheep, photo courtesy oftracks of Mojave Desert scrub stay intact and undisturbed for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Servicetortoise and all desert wildlife.Gold Butte is such a wonderful place for picnicking, camping and The Friends of Gold Butte and NWP’s vision is to preserve andstudying the cultures of past peoples. National Conservation Area protect the cultural and natural resources in the Gold Butte area(NCA) designation will provide management, interpretation and while providing volunteer-based education and interpretivefacilities for visitors to enjoy the area in a backcountry setting. programs. Through monthly presentations, hikes and volunteerRecently, the BLM finished an extensive cultural study including projects, we continue to grow a community of informed stewards.historic, prehistoric and site excavation. National Conservation Locally based in Mesquite, Friends of Gold Butte is eager to beginArea will assist in developing a plan compatible with the work with the public agencies to assist in the education andarchaeological study to educate visitors on their importance and interpretation needs of the Gold Butte National Conservationhelp protect these resources from vandalism and theft. Public Area.access to these areas is important to maintain; education is the – Nancy Hall, Gold Butte Organizerkey to their protection. nancy.hall@wildnevada.orgGold Butte Country needs your voice. Please call your Congressional Representative and askthem to introduce legislation for the Gold Butte National Conservation Area with Wilderness. Congresswoman Dina Titus Congresswoman Shelley Berkley Congressman Dean Heller 8215 S. Eastern Ave Suite 205 2340 Paseo del Prado, Ste. D-106 600 Las Vegas Blvd., Suite 680 Las Vegas, NV 89123 Las Vegas, NV 89102 Las Vegas, NV 89101 Ph: 702-387-4941 (Las Vegas) Ph: 702-220-9823 (Las Vegas) Ph: 702-255-1651 (Las Vegas) Ph: 202-225-3252 (Wash. DC) Ph: 202-225-5965 (Wash. DC)Please visit our website at www.wildnevada.org and click on the “Take Action” tab. There you’ll find a TakeAction For Gold Butte page, with more information.
  6. 6. “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are thousands of ways to bow and kiss the earth.” - Rumi A s the Nevada Wilderness Project celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year, all of the board members and staff recognize the power of each member and every donation in our work. Every dollar given toward our mission over the last 10 years has created great success for our state and for the future of Nevada’s wild lands. Every one of those dollars is still at work today: their power has helped us to protect 3 million acres statewide and generate a refined mission statement and renewed vision for Nevada. It is with gratitude and thanks to you, our supporters, that NWP takes on this next chapter of our work. The power of your donations has a greater impact on our work and Nevada than you will ever know. And by extension, each of you is a change maker for Nevada’s wild lands and animals. The commitment to this work is stunning and goes well beyond your initial gift. Philanthropy derives from ancient Greek and is defined as “to love people” or the “love of human kind.” By this definition, each one of us is a philanthropist. The power of each dollar given to our work with the intention to make a positive difference HAS, and DOES, make that difference for ourselves and for wildlife. Thank you for being vested in a bright future for conservation in Nevada. - Mackenzie Banta, Development Director mackenzie.banta@wildnevada.org I would like to make a contribution of (please check one): Name • $35 $250 Address • $50 • $500 • $100 • Other: City Please make checks payable to: Nevada Wilderness Project Send your contribution and information to: State Nevada Wilderness Project Zip 8550 White Fir Street Reno, NV 89523 E-mail Or you may donate securely online at www.wildnevada.orgSign of the times, Phone Thank you.by Tyler RoemerContact Us NEVADA WILDERNESS PROJECT www.wildnevada.org8550 White Fir StreetReno, NV 89523Tel: 775.746.7850