Nevada Sporting Community Sends Top 10 Priorities to Gov. Lombardo's Desk
Friday, June 2, 2023
The Nevada hunting and fishing community is sharing its top 10 conservation priorities for 2023 with Gov. Joe Lombardo's office, as they seek to "ensure the continued conservation," of species and diverse habitats in the state.
The priorities range from supporting science based management techniques to conserving big game corridors and seasonal habitats.
Larry Johnson, president of the Coalition for Nevada's Wildlife, said wildfires present "the greatest adverse impacts," to wildlife populations in Nevada. He added in a bad wildfire year, the state can burn over a million acres.
"Unfortunately, at our lower elevations and everything but our very high elevations, those wildfires, we destroy the native vegetation, and it is taken over by invasive species such as cheatgrass," Johnson explained.
Johnson pointed out cheatgrass is not only poor wildlife forage, it is fuel for wildfires.
According to Johnson's group and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, nearly one quarter of the approximately 20 million acres of priority and greater sage-grouse habitat in Nevada has burned in the last 30 years. Greater sage-grouse numbers have also significantly dropped by almost 80% in the Great Basin since 1960.
Johnson argued most human activity has an effect on wildlife. His group supports developing a statewide plan for siting energy projects. He added both traditional and renewable energy projects, transmission lines and other energy infrastructure can have negative effects on wildlife if not located and operated responsibly.
Johnson emphasized highways and fences pose negative impacts to big game. Despite the challenges, Johnson remains optimistic policymakers will listen.
"Things need to be done very carefully with our existing wildlife resources in mind," Johnson contended. "And it can be done. We just have to be smart about it, that is all."
Johnson hopes the priorities will be heard and considered as people are relocating to Nevada for its vast public lands and traditional love for the sporting heritage.
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