Restoration efforts underway after devastating fire season
(Division of Forestry) CARSON CITY, Nev.–Land rehabilitation has started after one of the most devastating wildfire seasons in Nevada’s history. Jason Perock, state seed-bank coordinator with the Nevada Division of Forestry, said that rehabilitation efforts actually began this year in July.
The division’s Conservation Camp Program, which consists of minimum security inmates under the direction of NDF Crew Supervisors, collected seeds from rangelands across the state, yielding 377 lbs. of bitterbrush seed so far–up 177 lbs. from last year.
Bitterbrush, an important winter forage species for livestock and wildlife, produces seed early in the summer. Conservation Camp Crews collected seed between and around fire-suppression assignments.
“This year’s collection will be put to use in the Elko area for the much needed fire rehabilitation efforts,” Perock said. “The Conservation Camp program should be commended considering that these collections were being done during the worst fire season in Nevada’s recent history.”
In late November, the camp program will begin collecting seed from sagebrush and other species for use in the rehabilitation effort. It expects to gather up to 6,000 lbs.
Perock said that rehabilitation is mostly in the information gathering and planning stages at this point, with the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nevada Division of Wildlife and the Nevada Department of Agriculture collaborating on treatment efforts.
Reports for rehabilitation priorities are expected soon, Perock said. “We need to focus the money available in a coordinated effort.”
Rehabilitation efforts already underway are focusing on lands affected by fire suppression activities, particularly lines cleared by bull-dozers. Other efforts will look at threats to life and property, slope stabilization, preventing the spread of invasive weeds, helping to protect wildlife habitats and examining threats to municipal water supplies.
Firefighters have responded in the past three months to a multitude of lightning and human-caused wildfires across Nevada with Elko County suffering the brunt of this year’s devastation.
Nevada has lost 1.4 million acres to fire this year and more than 5 million acres during the last seven years, according to Pete Anderson, state forester/firewarden with the Nevada Division of Forestry.
“The social, economic and natural resource impacts will continue for many years to come,” he said.
The Nevada Division of Forestry is a division within the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The Division coordinates and manages all forestry, nursery, endangered plant species and watershed resource activities on certain public and private lands. The Division provides protection of life, property and natural resources through fire suppression, prevention programs and provides other emergency services as required.