|Wildlands protection: What's in our toolbox?|
National Wildlife Refuge
Landscape protection can take many formsThe Nevada Wilderness Project uses various instruments from a vast “toolbox” of land protections to help conserve special landscapes and sensitive wildlife habitats. Our toolbox contains such land-protection designations as conservation easements, national monuments, areas of critical environmental concern, national conservation areas, wilderness designations and national wildlife refuges.
Wilderness designations: NWP has worked hard over the years to advocate for wilderness protection for wildlands in Nevada that have the wilderness characteristics and offer the opportunity for solitude and unconfined recreation in an untrammeled land. We have conducted painstaking inventories of millions of acres of federal, state and public lands in Nevada and have helped get around 3 million acres permanently protected and managed as wilderness. We have worked on many wilderness bills, most recently including those for Pine Forest in Humboldt County and Burbank Canyons in Douglas County.
Conservation easements: Our staff wildlife biologists have spent years monitoring sensitive wildlife habitats, such as the wet meadows used by the threaten sage-grouse, to identify areas that need protection. In the case of the sage-grouse, we meet with private landowners to discuss the advantages of conservation easements, which pay them the market value of the sensitive property in return for an agreement to keep the land in an undeveloped state for perpetuity. Our knowledge of the critical areas that need conserving and our personal relationships with many of the landowners help expedite the acquisition of these sensitive lands by federal agencies. If you're interested in learning more about conservation easements, please contact NWP Development Direct Nic Nelson or Staff Wildlife Biologist Gregg Tanner.
National Conservation Areas: Not all special landscapes are best protected by wilderness designations. Some special landscapes that deserve permanent protection don’t have wilderness characteristics but deserve permanent protection nonetheless. They may have rare cultural, prehistoric and historic features that would be lost if not designated as special landscapes and managed as such.
Special landscapes: Nevada is rich in areas of spectacular geology and can only be preserved with a flexible application of land protections. The Gold Butte area in southern Nevada, for instance, has an off-road network, historical mining camps as well as wilderness, so we advocate protecting it as a National Conservation Area with Wilderness. The Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge also has historic sites as well as wilderness, so we advocate a balanced approach that protects the inherent and historical values of the land.
There are many tools in our toolbox, because it doesn’t make sense to use a hammer to tighten a screw. Responsible advocates for healthy, vital ecosystems look at all methods that allow you to protect public lands and wildlife habitat.