Courtesy photo
The Schell Creek Range provides a picturesque backdrop to the aerial seeding of public lands in north Spring Valley. North Schell Peak (the snow-covered mountain behind the helicopter) is the highest mountain in the range, rising 11,884 feet above sea level.

An effort by the Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Department of Wildlife to stabilize and rehabilitate thousands of acres of eastern Nevada’s fire-damaged public lands concluded successfully yesterday.

Chris McVicars, BLM Ely District natural resource specialist, gives partial credit to the weather, which was suitable for aerial seeding. “It was a combination of high moisture content and temperature,” he said.

The agencies in just over three weeks applied a seed mixture consisting of grasses, forbs, shrubs and legumes to approximately 12,700 acres that burned in last summer’s Line, Overland, Pinto and Strawberry fires, as well as along the east bench of the Schell Creek Range which suffered multiple fires in the 1980s.

Seeded were nearly all of the 832 acres burned in July’s Line Fire southeast of Caliente, most of the 7,695 acres consumed by August’s Overland Fire south of the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge, 1,252 of the 1,900-plus acres charred in July’s Pinto Fire southeast of Eureka, approximately 1,450 of the 4,600-plus acres burned in August’s Strawberry Fire in and around Great Basin National Park, and 1,500 acres along the Schell Creek Range.

If all goes as expected, the resulting vegetation will help to stabilize soils and prevent erosion, stem the spread of invasive plants and noxious weeds, such as cheatgrass; improve wildlife habitat, including that of the Greater Sage-Grouse; and restore watershed health.