The Decision was withdrawn because the BLM planned so many treatment assaults on native vegetation in this area that the agency forgot to reveal them all in its shallow Environmental Assessment.
The Newark Valley is located between the Diamond and Egan Ranges, south of the Ruby Mountains. Highway 50, the Loneliest Highway, cuts across its southern area. It is very arid, with beautiful Basin and Range scenery. A map of the allotment and treatment areas can be found here.
The landscape is under siege. Grazing herds of both cattle and sheep on the same site inflicts severe degradation. Ely BLM land health assessment findings pretend there are no harmful livestock impacts. Blind to current livestock impacts, the agency blames the sage and trees, grazing in bygone days, drought, and mysterious “unknown factors” for declines in land health and sage-grouse habitats.
Large allotments of the Newark landscape permitted to billion dollar foreign gold mines. Massive mine expansions are chewing away at sage-grouse and big game habitat, threatening scarce spring water flows, and imposing an expanding footprint of roads, noise, mine pits and other development.
Past treatments using the same scorched earth methods as proposed in Newark have fragmented crucial sage-grouse nesting habitats for the southern Great Basin sage-grouse population. Under the guise of habitat “restoration”, BLM mowed, crushed, roller beat and doused Tebuthiuron on sagebrush right by many of the remaining sage grouse leks in Lincoln County.
These photos are the result of hundreds of thousands of dollars of “treatments” – showing large areas of dead gray sage and proliferating cheatgrass.
The Nevada BLM would do well to investigate all vegetation treatment and grazing decisions in the Ely District. The District's management of 12 million acres of public lands is crucial to the survival of southern Great Basin sage-grouse.