Gerald Hillier, Executive Director of the Quad State Local Governments Authority in Riverside, Calif., attended the Lincoln County board of commissioners meeting June 17.
Hiller said he was making a tour of a few quad state counties in Nevada. A quad state is a joint exercise of powers authorities established between eight counties and one city in four western states: California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah.
Lincoln County has been a charter member of the Authority since the organization’s founding in 1999 and pays a $2,000 annual membership fee.
Representatives on the board are elected officials to other positions in their respective counties. Jared Brackenbury represents Lincoln County at present.
The Authority was organized to provide a multi-county voice on federal natural resource management and public lands issues, primarily in the Mojave Desert region. It advances policy priorities through legislative and regulatory advocacy and analysis, input regarding public lands and decisions and legal action.
Hillier said a current issue involves a private person in Nye County trying to obtain some land from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In the meantime, Hillier reported he is closely involved with the “resource advisory councils that BLM has.”
He said many times the local representatives on the resource advisory councils don’t do a very good job of carrying the issues back to their board of county commissions. “So I will often call the various commission boards and ask if there are any issues they would like to have presented at the advisory council meeting.” At times, he noted, this has prevented situations that posed a great concern to public officials.
The Authority also deals quite a bit with the desert tortoise question.
A recent online report from Defenders of Wildlife.org stated, “The desert tortoise is the grand survivor of the Mojave Desert, having roamed its unforgiving landscape for tens of thousands of years. To escape ground temperatures that can reach 140 degrees, tortoises spend most of their time underground in burrows. When they do emerge to eat or drink, clever ravens are waiting to make fast food of young tortoises, whose shells are not yet hard enough to protect them. Ravens are now a major predator of these vulnerable young tortoises. The desert tortoise is in danger of extinction in the Mojave Desert, and the exploding raven population – along with disease, habitat loss and off-road vehicle traffic – is high on the list of reasons.”
Hillier said tortoise recovery is not going to happen unless they are willing to deal with predators and disease.
Another issue he mentioned that he and the Authority are watching carefully is a group in Las Vegas called “Road Warriors” which focuses on roadkill that contributes to ravens’ food supply. “The main goal of the group,” he said, “is to fence off county roads and access roads to cut down on the occurrence of roadkill.”
Commission Chair Varlin Higbee told the Record this would be detrimental, “because if they forced the counties to fence the roads, it would cost us. There would be no way we could afford to fence all our county roads, be it rabbit fencing or any other kind of fencing.”