Big Sierra Nevada public land sale could fund conservation |

Big Sierra Nevada public land sale could fund conservation

Kurt Hildebrand
The River Fork Ranch in Genoa is an example of agricultural land preserved through the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act.
Kurt Hildebrand |

The biggest sale of public land in Southern Nevada in a decade could bode well for the preservation of agriculture in Carson Valley.

The Bureau of Land Management sold more than 800 acres of land last Tuesday, April 26, raising $93 million. It marked the largest single-day sale since 2005.

That money will go to fund projects under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, which in the past has included the purchase of development easements on valley ranches.

The act, approved in 1998, allows the BLM to sell public land around Las Vegas. According to the BLM, 85 percent of the money raised through the sales can go to a variety of public uses, including trails, habitat conservation, acquiring environmentally sensitive land, hazardous fuels reduction and Lake Tahoe restoration projects.

The rest of the money is split, with 10 percent going to the Southern Nevada Water Authority and five percent going to the state’s general education fund.

The nomination period for the 16th round of nominations for funding ended last Friday, April 29.

Among proposals for the next round is the purchase of a conservation easement on Park Cattle land covering 2,835 acres of land west of the line formed by highways 395 and 88.

Legacy Land and Water’s Jacques Etchegoyhen said the property includes 12,000 acre feet of surface water rights

The easement would protect 3.75 miles along the East Fork of the Carson River. As part of the proposal, the Parks will dedicate a 32-acre stretch of land between Highway 88 and the East Fork for a park.

The property surrounds the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park, and was once owned by the family who built Minden.

It’s estimated the act has spent $22 million to preserve 2,200 acres of land in Carson Valley.

Ranches belonging to the Hussmans, Scossas, Whites and Stodiecks have been preserved using the easements, as have Ranch No. 1 and the River Fork Ranch in Genoa.

“This week’s massive land sale is a boon for Nevada and a sign that the economy continues to grow,” Sen. Harry Reid said. “Thanks to the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, the nearly $95 million in sales will go directly to the state’s economy, funding public works projects and conservation efforts that will create jobs and improve the quality of life for all Nevadans. SNPLMA is one of the most successful programs in Nevada history and has brought billions of dollars to the state.”

Earlier this year, the BLM announced that 14,500 acres of Bently land in the Pine Nut Mountains worth $11.425 million has been recommended for federal purchase under the act.

The proposal is the largest expenditure of money under the 15th round of the act.

According to the BLM, that property includes approximately 9,522 acres of sage grouse habitat, five named springs and riparian habitat, 13.2 miles of perennial or intermittent streams and four Washoe Tribe cultural sites.

The act also funded a half-dozen hazardous fuel reduction and wildfire prevention projects in the Sierra in and near Douglas County.

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