ELY – The Bureau of Land Management has aerially seeded 1,900 acres of the public lands near Shingle Pass in Cave Valley, about 45 miles south of Ely, Nev.
The late November seeding is part of a same-acreage mechanical treatment that removes expanding pinyon pine and juniper to enhance sagebrush, grass and forb development, thereby improving watershed health and reducing catastrophic wildfire risk.
BLM Ely District Fire Ecologist Kyle Teel said moderate to heavy pinyon-juniper expansion was reducing the proportion of younger sagebrush, grasses, and forbs. He said reducing the tree cover benefits the herbaceous species, improving habitat for such obligate wildlife species as antelope, elk, mule deer and Greater sage grouse. “It also reduces the catastrophic wildfire risk to people and communities, as well as to our natural resources,” said Teel.
The mechanical treatment is known as “chaining.” It consists of two bulldozers dragging a ship’s anchor chain between them. The bulldozers make two passes. The first pass topples the trees and breaks up the soil, preparing it for seeding. The return pass, soon to be implemented, covers the seed to aid in germination.
The 1,900-acre chaining and seeding is part of the landscape-scale Cave Valley and Lake Valley Watershed Restoration Project. The multi-year project will ultimately treat up to 121,600 acres of the 583,800-plus acre watersheds.