Nevada Four Wheel Drive Association and Local 4×4 Clubs Clean Up El Dorado Canyon!

In this 25-minutes, see how much these volunteer four-wheelers value their trails and public lands. The clean-up began at 8 a.m. with a double-dumpster stop conclusion nearly twelve hours later! Two rusted motor vehicles and an abandoned projection screen television were among trash and human debris that filled a half-dozen trailers and pickup beds! El Dorado Canyon’s pristine, spring-fed creek feeds cottonwoods and other habitat at this high desert destination. Join the call to action!

Dog Valley Project – June 14th

Volunteers Needed – Saturday June 14th Time once again for the 4×4 community to do even more good. This time, it’s the Dog Valley Meadow Barricade Project. Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest, Hills Angels, Nevada 4 Wheel Drive Association, and many others are working together to install 1500 feet of barricade along the sensitive areas on the Dog Valley meadow forest service road. This is similar to the Dutch Louie Flat, Big Meadow, Dog Valley-Summit One barricades. NV Energy has donated the power poles needed as well as many of the special tools, the forest service has paid for delivery and all the other materials needed. N4WDA has chipped in for food (still seeking more donations) and Hills Angels will be doing the cooking and site coordination. PLEASE POST UP on if you are coming so we have some idea of crew sizes and food requirements. From Verdi take Bridge Street to Dog Valley Grade, stay right at the summit and go down the hill into Dog Valley. At the bottom of the grade take the first right and go about a quarter of a mile. Come on out and make a difference!

Reopening of Comment Period on the Bi-State DPS of the Greater Sage-Grouse – Public Meetings

On Tuesday, April 8th, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced in the Federal Register, the reopening of the Public Comment period for the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (Bi-State DPS) of the Greater Sage Grouse, both for comment on the Proposed Listing as “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, and on the Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat. The Bi-State DPS includes 1.8 million acres of sagebrush steppe reaching from just south of Gardnerville, NV to the White Mountains, south of Bishop, CA. The USFWS has listed recreation, especially OHV recreation, as an threat to this Critical Habitat. N4WDA and the Blue Ribbon Coalition have contested this threat as being an assumption since no comprehensive study of OHV vs. Sage-Grouse has ever been completed. Additionally, no thorough study of the economic effect upon the community has ever been studied, yet there ihas been a determination of no major impact as a result of the critical habitat designation. The US Government, through President Obama, has stated that only “good science” is to be used within the government agencies for such purposes. We contend that no science, good or bad, only supposition has been used in this listing and habitat designation. At any rate, the USFWS will be holding two “Public Hearings” concerning the listing and habitat designation during the reopened comment period. These public hearing dates are as follows: April 29th – Minden, NV @ the Carson Valley Inn from 6-9 PM April 30th – Bishop, CA @ the Fairgrounds from 6-9 PM If you can make either meeting, please attend and state your concerns. If you can’t make the meeting, please write a comment to the USFWS stating your concerns. Emailed comments may be made at: In the Search box, enter FWS-R8-ES-2013-0072 for the Listing as Threatened or FWS-R8-ES-2013-0042 for the Designation of Critical Habitat. For further information on the Bi-State DPS or the Northeastern CA/NV Greater Sage-Grouse listings (18 million acres), go to the N4WDA website and select Land Use. Read what we have learned and accomplished about this threat. THIS IS THE GREATEST THREAT TO OHV RECREATION THAT WE HAVE EVER FACED! Larry Calkins – President, N4WDA

Greater Sage-Grouse Bi-State Distinctive Population Segment Forest Plan Revision Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Attached is a copy of the Nevada Four Wheel Drive Association’s comment letter submitted for the Greater Sage-Grouse Bi-State Distinctive Population Segment (Bi-State DPS) Forest Plan Revision Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that was sent to the Humboldt-Toiyabe NF on January 7, 2014. This DEIS covered 8 counties in Nevada and California and totalled 1.8 million acres, stretching from Gardnerville, NV to south of Bishop, CA. The last day to send comments on this DEIS is January 17, 2014. Next up is the Nevada and Northeastern California Greater Sage-Grouse Draft Land Use Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement. Comments are due to the Bureau of Land Management Nevada State Office by January 29th, 2014. Strangely, the comment period for the US Fish and Wildlife Service notice of intent to list the Sage-Grouse as a “threatened” species has been moved out until February 10, 2014. The actual listing, if it happens, will not occur until 2015. As you can see by the above dates, the US Government is “business as usual” with the land agencies spending time and money planning for protection of a bird that is not listed and may never be…. Thanks, Larry DEIS_Comment_Letter

N4WDA submits comments on the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (BSDPS) of the Greater Sage-Grouse

As we have stated in our earlier articles, the listing by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) of the Greater Sage-Grouse as a “Threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) represents an enormous threat to access to the Public Lands. The listing and subsequent designation as Critical Habitat affects public lands in ten western states totaling 47 million acres. In Nevada, approximately 17 million acres are to be designated. We expect, in the best case that this listing and designation will cause seasonal closures of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Forest Service (USFS) lands during the mating season, the worst case could result in permanent closures of this Critical Habitat. We expect that the Western Watershed Project (greens) will not be content with the listing as Threatened, but will continue to their goal of listing as an Endangered species which certainly would close this Critical Habitat permanently. While the Critical Habitat designation only affects Public Lands and not private property, ranching, mineral exploration, alternative energy development and many other uses will be affected, both on public and private lands. The economic impact of this listing and designation is far-reaching and has not been comprehensively studied. The joint BLM/USFS planning document for the management of these Nevada public lands is called the Draft Nevada and Northeastern California Subregional Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DLUP/DEIS). In Western Nevada, the FWS set aside a portion of the California and Nevada Greater Sage-Grouse population and habitat affecting five Nevada counties and three California counties, designating it as the Bi-State Distinct Population of the Greater Sage-Grouse (DPS). The DPS identifies 1.8 million acres as Critical Habitat. The area runs from just south of Gardnerville and Dayton, NV in the Pine Nut Mountains, through the Sweetwater Mountains south of Wellington all the way to the White Mountains southeast of Bishop, California. The final date to comment to the FWS on the listing and designation for the DPS is December 27, 2013. The final date to comment on the joint BLM/USFS DEIS for the DPS which identifies the management of the public lands with regard to the FWS listing is January 25, 2014. The final date to comment on the Nevada and Northeastern Nevada DLUP/EIS is January 29, 2014. If you are interested in learning more and/or commenting on either the DPS or the BLM/USFS EIS, the following links will take you there. The following is the comment letter submitted by N4WDA to FWS concerning the listing and designation: November 22, 2013 Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2013-0042 and FWS-R8-ES-2013-0072 Division of Policy and Directives Management US Fish and Wildlife Service 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM Arlington, VA 22203 Dear Sirs, The Nevada Four Wheel Drive Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the aims and goals of our membership whose recreational livelihood is dependent upon multiple uses of public lands. We welcome the opportunity to submit these comments on their behalf: • Recreation, especially OHV and trail riding recreation, has never been comprehensively studied yet recreation is listed as a threat in the rulemaking. The USFWS, although pledging to only use “good science” in its proposed listing, has used “no science” in declaring recreation a threat. Such a declaration, not based on scientific fact, strongly suggests an agenda with a predetermined outcome. Until such a comprehensive study of the effects of recreation on the Sage-Grouse and its habitat is published, we will oppose these proposals. • The head of the USFWS certified that the requirement to perform a regulatory flexibility analysis, as required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), was unnecessary because the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The USFWS deemed that only those entities directly regulated by the rulemaking (BLM and USFS) are subject to analysis, excluding private small businesses that may be affected, due to the agency’s interpretation of recent of the act and recent case law. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 require the agency make costs and benefits analysis and take into considerations impacts to both directly and indirectly impacted entities, including small businesses. According to the briefing at the public meeting held in Wellington, NV, on November 6, 2013, Edward D. Koch, the Nevada State Supervisor, when queried, stated that this analysis has not been performed. We feel that the head of the agency erred by suppressing the intent of the RFA and SBREFA in the determination and certification that the RFA requirement to evaluate the effect of this proposal on small businesses was unnecessary. The proposed critical habitat directly affects ranching, mineral exploration and other small businesses, such as those dependent upon recreation. Without this analysis available to the public, it is impossible to determine total costs and benefits of this proposed Critical Habitat determination. Until this information is available and can be evaluated, we will oppose these proposals. • USFWS performed poorly in providing information about the proposals to the public. The agency, with little notice (the Federal Register Intent to List as Threatened and the Proposal to Determine as Critical Habitat appeared in the Federal Register on November 1, 2013) the two meetings (in Bishop, CA on November 5th and Wellington, NV on November 6th) allowed no lead time for the public to arrange to attend. The Wellington, NV meeting could hardly be called worthy of being a Federal Agency meeting, obviously planned to expect a poor turnout due to the 1-3 PM meeting time on a workday. The meeting was organized to be a meet & greet format, with USFWS, BLM and USFS personnel available. We can only imagine the surprise of the agency when several hundred attendees appeared at their “stealth” meeting. Unfortunately, except for a few, the representatives wore no name tags, uniforms or insignia, therefore looking like the rest of the meeting attendees; most did not have business cards at their disposal. Initially there was no speaker system set up, resulting in shouted questions and answers when Mr. Koch finally took the stage. Additionally there were inadequate handouts, particularly maps, available. Because of poor public notification for these proposals, and until further meetings are scheduled with reasonable lead times between notice and the meetings, we will oppose these proposals. The listing of the Sage Grouse appears to be the first step to curtail grazing on public lands, and will very likely lead to additional burdensome government regulation of the American cattle ranching industry. The direction in which USFWS is proceeding seems to be similar to that which was used to nearly wipe out the timber industry in the northwest. The premise regarding the northern spotted owl as a separate species is false. Spotted owls are called stryx occidentalis, and they range from British Columbia to Mexico. They differ in their morphology (what they look like), and they interbreed where their “boundaries” coincide. The spotted owl has not become extinct, and in fact has survived in new forests as well as old growth forests. Sincerely, Larry Calkins President
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