Harvesting pinyon-juniper biomass in Lincoln County has been an area of interest for county leaders for a good number of years.

Jeff Fontaine, recently appointed executive director of the Lincoln County Regional Development Authority (LCRDA), gave a report at the March meeting.

He and Jeremy Drew, of Resource Concepts in Reno, recently had a phone call with Ty Peterson, Fire Management Officer, and Matt Rajala, of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Ely District office.

Fontaine stated that he now has a better understanding of the biomass issue in the county. He said that the BLM district office is very supportive of harvesting pinyon-juniper and the efforts of the LCRDA, and acknowledges the seasonal restrictions created by the Migratory Bird Act (2001)

Peterson said the BLM currently pays $100 to $500 per acre for contractors to remove pinyon-juniper. He thinks the BLM can process 10,000 acres per year, with stewardship agreements not exceeding five years.

Fontaine added that it might be possible for someone to build a business model on 10,000 acres per year instead of 50,000 acres, and that another option which has been discussed is having LCRDA enter into an agreement with the BLM to manage the program. That agreement might last longer than five years.

Recourse Concepts was asked to prepare a one-page document which Fontaine can take with him on his trip to Atlanta in April to attend the annual International Biomass Conference.

The short brochure will describe not only the opportunities, but also the challenges presented in harvesting pinyon-juniper biomass in Lincoln County.

On another subject, Fontaine noted that he and Ben Rowley, of Alamo, are continuing to work on a program with the possibility of creating NDOT Community Services signs for Lincoln County.

Rowley reported he talked with Michelle Castro at the NDOT headquarters, who told him NDOT installs sign structures on NDOT rights-of-way on a case-by-case request basis and that the LCRDA would need to submit a request with specifics about the locations, churches, clubs, and service organizations to be displayed. LCRDA would also be responsible for the signs and lettering.

Fontaine reported that in the Nevada Administrative Code 410, Beautification of Highways, in particular NAC410.0625, “a sign for a service club or religious organization much include a panel provided for and attached by NDOT. The holder of the permit must obtain a panel from the district traffic engineer, have the panel engraved and returned to the district traffic engineer for attachment to the assembly.”

According to LCRDA member Dave Hurd, such signs were at one time provided by NDOT.

Fontaine and Rowley will follow up on contacting local service clubs and churches who might be interested in having signs placed in Caliente, Pioche, and Alamo.

The next meeting of the LCRDA will be April 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Caliente City Hall.

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