Posted on August 20, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A CU-Boulder led study helped pinpoint the age of petroglyphs carved into these Nevada boulders. Photo courtesy CU-Boulder.
Meaning of Nevada petroglyphs remain a mystery
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Stone Age North American cave dwellers may have been preoccupied with finding food most of the time, but they still found the time to leave their mark by carving mysterious symbols into prominent boulders.
Now, a University of Colorado Boulder researcher believes he’s discovered the oldest known petroglyphs in the country.
The carvings on a boulder in western Nevada date to at least 10,500 years ago and perhaps even as far back as 14,800 years ago, according to CU-Boulder researcher Larry Benson. (more…)
Filed under: Archaeology | Tagged: archaeology, CU Boulder, Nevada, petroglyphs, rock art | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 12, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Desert tortoise. Courtesy USFWS.
Court affirms BLM’s authority over public lands grazing
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Some of those self-styled sagebrush rebels just can’t take a hint, even — or especially — when it comes from a federal judge.
Starting in 1993, the Bureau of Land Management has been trying to prevent Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy from grazing his cattle where he has no legal right to do so.
Bundy has pretty much ignored all polite requests to cease and desist, while his cows trample habitat for protected desert tortoises and damage ancient Native American cultural sites.
Last week a federal court issued a ruling that once again affirms the BLM’s right to to remove the trespassing cattle. The decision affirms a previous finding by the same court, made in 1998 and later upheld on appeal. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, Environment, public lands | Tagged: biodiversity, Desert tortoise, endangered species act, Environment, Nevada, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Webber’s ivesia, a rare desert flower in the rose family, will get some protection under the Endangered Species Act. Photo courtesy Sarah Kulpa, USFW.
Critical habitat designation will help bolster populations of Webber’s ivesia
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A rare Great Basin flower will get some protection under the Endangered Species Act, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed 2,011 acres of critical habitat for Webber’s ivesia.
The plant, a member of the rose family, grows only in localized patches of rocky, clay-based soils that are wet in spring and that shrink and swell with drying and wetting. The soil can take thousands of years to form and is associated with sparse vegetation associated with low sagebrush.
The five counties where the rare flower is found are in the transition zone between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin Desert. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: California, endangered species, endangered species act, Great Basin, Great Basin Desert, Nevada, United States Fish & Wildlife Service, Webber's Ivesia | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 2, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Lake Mead. Photo courtesy NASA.
Invasive mussels now dominating lake-bottom ecosystem
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Better sewage treatment in Las Vegas, long-term treatment of persistent pollution from industrial sources and development of artificial wetlands have all helped protect water quality Lake Mead, according to federal scientists who recently released a report the status of the last big storage bucket in the Colorado River’s plumbing system.
Overall, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said that Lake Mead’s water quality is good and that fish populations are holding their own. Lake Mead is even providing habitat for an increasing number of birds.
But the report also acknowledges that invasive quagga mussels have become the dominant lake-bottom organism, posing significant threat to the Lake Mojave and Lake Mead ecosystems. The report also acknowledges the long-term threat of climate change, which will bring reduced water supplies to the entire Colorado River Basin. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Nevada, Quagga mussels, Southwest, water | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 8, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Wind farming in the West.
Interior Department teams up with Defense Department to develop solar and wind on military lands
By Summit Voice
Continuing to push for utility scale renewable energy projects, the Obama administration said this week it will seek expedited review and approval for seven wind and solar projects
that would generate a total of 5,000 megawatts of electricity — providing enough power for about 1.5 million homes.
The federal Office of Management and Budget is charged with overseeing the government-wide effort to make the permitting more efficient, with a target date of October, 2014 for completing the federal permitting for the projects in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Wyoming under a March, 2012 executive order.
Almost at the same time, the Department of Interior and Department of Defense announced an agreement aimed at ncouraging appropriate development of renewable energy projects on public lands set aside for defense-related purposes, and other onshore and offshore areas near military installations. (more…)
Filed under: energy, Environment, renewable energy | Tagged: Bureau of Land management, energy, Environment, Ken Salazar, Nevada, renewable energy, solar energy, United States Department of Defense, wind energy | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 20, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
North Schell fire 15 percent contained
The North Schell Fire perimter map, courtesy U.S. Forest Service.
The North Schell Fire in Nevada. Photo courtesy BLM.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — One of the biggest new wildfires burning in the West started as a prescribed burn that escaped control during one of the driest seasons on record in the Great Basin.
The North Schell Fire in Nevada has burned across more than 10,000 acres and is estimated at 15 percent containment. It’s burning in the North Schell Range, not far from Ely, in eastern Nevada.
Fuels include white fir, mountain mahogany, piñon-pine, juniper, and sagebrush. The fire is making occasional runs, along with spotting and torching in extremely difficult terrain. More than 200 firefighters are on scene with more resources arriving.
Fire officials said there is extreme potential for the fire to grow, with temperatures in the high 70s and 80s and relative humidity in the single digits.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Controlled burn, Great Basin, Nevada, North Schell Fire, prescribed fire, western wildfires, wildfire | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 20, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
More than half a million acres in eastern Nevada could ultimately be home to thousands of mustangs
Wild horses may soon have an ecosanctuary in eastern Nevada. PHOTO COURTESY BLM.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The long-running controversy over the fate of the West’s wild horses may be at least partially resolved in the coming years, as the Bureau of Land Management moves toward partnering with private stakeholders to create a 530,000-acre eco-sanctuary in northeastern Nevada.
The BLM said this week it will start an environmental study of the proposal submitted by the Saving America’s Mustangs Foundation and Madeline Pickens. The study will take about two years. Subsequently, the agency will decide whether to move ahead with the plans.
“The selection of SAM’s proposal for environmental analysis furthers our overall effort to improve management and control costs of the Wild Horse and Burro Program,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. The agency is preparing to publish a new wild horse and burro management strategy in the coming weeks. The strategy, among other things, calls for the establishment of ecosanctuary partnerships. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, BLM, Colorado, Environment, public lands | Tagged: BLM, Madeleine Pickens, mustangs, Nevada, wild horse ecosanctuary, wild horses | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 23, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Las Vegas wants to suck water from distant aquifers to fuel more unsustainable growth.
State engineer approves Las Vegas plan to pump groundwater from remote basins
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — It was almost inevitable that state officials in Nevada would approve a controversial groundwater pumping scheme that will suck the water out of various aquifers, and could extinguish the surface life that depends on precious moisture in the desert.
After all, sustainable development has never been a Nevada hallmark, and Las Vegas — despite occasional propaganda campaigns suggesting otherwise — is the very antithesis of sustainability.
But this week’s decision by the Nevada State Engineer will have serious consequences for rare ecological communities that depend on groundwater, drying up springs, creeks and upland plant communities. The project is, by most measures, an environmental train wreck in the making. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Opinion, water | Tagged: groundwater, Las Vegas, Nevada, Nevada groundwater development project, Opinion | 7 Comments »