Director’s December Update

This is the Director’s update sent to DCNR employees yesterday.

The Governor and legislative leaders have been meeting during the last few weeks and appear to have determined, at least conceptually, a way to address the Fiscal Year 2009 (ends June 30, 2009) budget shortfall. There is no silver bullet here and the short term solution will include a number of financial actions including likely additional budget reductions. The good news is that these cuts may not be as deep as previously feared. The legislature will again meet in special session on December 8 and 9 to ratify these solutions. While this will hopefully be a “stopgap” through next summer, the 2009 regular session (which begins in February 2009) will have to address the Fiscal Year 2010 and 2011 shortfalls which are projected to be well over $1 billion.
 
The division administrators are meeting regularly with Deputy Director Kay Scherer and me on the budget situation and ways to address our portion of the shortfall. As always, the welfare of our most valuable department resource, our employees, are our first priority.

Chili cook-off raises $570 for United Way
 
A special thank you to all who participated in the annual chili cook-off.  We raised more than $500 for the United Way, and our top three cooks were judged by Jason King from Water Resources, Val King from Environmental Protection, John Christopherson from NDF and Danny Zampirro from Water Resources. In first place was Robert Gregg with NDF for his “It’s Not Easy Being Green Chili”; second place went to Jim Balderson from NDEP for his “Pico de Gallo Chili”; and third was Sondra Grein from NDEP with her “No Sissy Chili.”  Once again my chili didn’t win but I was happy to participate! Thank you again to all who participated in the United Way campaign this year, including those who contributed to the bake sale.
 
Mountain pine beetles threatening Nevada forests
 
Sierra Nevada forests are approaching what could become an epidemic of pine beetle infestations. If you have been to Colorado, Montana or British Columbia over the last few years you have seen the destruction the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) can cause and Nevada officials are seeing more trees this year killed by the beetles in Sierra forests. After two years of drought, mountain pine beetles and pine engraver (Ips pini) beetles have been found in the dense stands of lodgepole pines in the Mount Rose area west of Reno. Both of these species can attack pine trees in urban areas. Read the full story here. A slideshow may be viewed here.
 
DCNR work recognized by Sierra Nevada public relations chapter
 
The Department received an award in November for its public relations efforts throughout the state. The Department’s award was for online videos, with the goal to communicate visually the varied aspects of DCNR’s conservation mission. Bob Conrad shot, edited and uploaded a number of videos onto Youtube, and in just over a year, DCNR had more than 77,700 video views with overall positive ratings and comments. This is the third year in a row the Department’s various outreach efforts has been recognized by the Public Relations Society of America. DCNR’s videos are located here.
 
TROA video now online
 
Speaking of videos, the video documenting the signing of the Truckee River Operation Agreement is now online and may be seen here.
 
Fire and Ice event to be held January 17 and 18 in Ely
 
The White Pine Fire and Ice Show, which for two years in a row has received the designation as being a top 100 event by the American Bus Association, is coming back to Cave Lake State Park the weekend of January 17 and 18. This eastern Nevada must-see event features a snow-sculpture competition on Cave Lake’s frozen lake bed and fireworks. This year, the nation’s oldest running train will also be lighting fireworks from the train. I attended last year and it is not an event to be missed.
 
Once again have a great December and holiday season.
 
Allen Biaggi
Director

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