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Spring/Summer 2009

Birthdays, pragmatism and blowing a hello The Nevada Wilderness Project

kiss to change is a catalyst for wildlife habitat

C hange is a big theme in the world these days, and rightfully so. There are a whole
conservation, wilderness
lot of challenges we’re beginning to confront after years of denial. Climate change, preservation, and smart
for example—just a few short years ago, there was a disturbing number of highly placed development of renewable energy.
elected officials who mocked the reality of climate change. Today, a few wingnutty holdouts
remain, but most key decision makers at local, state and federal levels are finally harnessing
their policies at the recognition that climate change is the mother of all game changers.
Change arrives in smaller packages too. At the Nevada Wilderness Project, 2009 is our 10th
birthday. We’re using the occasion to tell you about our new direction, born of a year-long
effort to reevaluate the assumptions of our work, the efficacy of our campaigns and where
best we can apply our resources. We believe our next ten years can be even better than
the first.
I started the Project in May of 1999 with a singular purpose: to designate wilderness in
Nevada. By any standard, we’ve been successful: more than 2.5 million acres designated
in four consecutive Congresses, with National Conservation Area protection for another
500,000 acres. This was unprecedented. If you are reading this, chances are you’ve played
a big role in this success, along with our friends in the Nevada Wilderness Coalition, Senator
Harry Reid and members of the Nevada Congressional delegation. With bipartisan support
in Republican-controlled Congresses, our vision and its execution was change in itself.
While we’re still pushing for wilderness designations, we are also leveraging more science in
the defense of wildlife corridors and critical habitats. We’re confronting the challenges and
opportunities of Nevada’s renewable energy boom with a clear-eyed pragmatism that will get
results, while moving conservation up the list of priorities for decision makers. And last but
certainly not least, we’re honing in on site-specific areas of advocacy like Gold Butte, featured
on the back page, to support volunteers working to protect areas of high conservation value.
And we promise to continue to laugh much and never take ourselves too seriously.
Your participation, time, money, creativity and humor are welcome here. Get in touch
with one of us and tell us how we can help connect your values with our actions. Saw Mill Canyon,
Desert Refuge, Tyler Roemer
-John Wallin, Director

Saw Mill Canyon,

Desert tortoise by Jeff Servoss, courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Desert Refuge, Tyler Roemer
Long-billed dowitchers by Mike Sevon, courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

In 2009, the Nevada Wilderness Project adopted a new five-year

strategic plan.
B efore you fall asleep after that opener, please know that this
is designed to tell you about the plan without making you
wish you were pressing a fork to your head, reading the phone
● NWP will contribute to the implementation of Nevada’s State
Wildlife Action Plan, required by the federal government, with the
objective of maximizing wildlife connectivity and habitat protection
book, scooping the litter box ... anything but hearing about our statewide.
strategic plan. So here it is, short and sweet:
● In Clark County, conservation projects will be prioritized and
We’re energized by our new mission, strategic plan and three mitigated with the county’s Multiple Species Habitat Conservation
programs we’re going to use to address conservation and habitat Plan in mind.
connectivity in Nevada. John Wallin, NWP’s Director, drank 955
Climate Change, Energy, and Wildlands is our second lens
gallons of fizzy water during the planning process. Our new plan
through which we are addressing conservation on public lands
outlines three “lenses” or approaches to conservation for Nevada
in Nevada. It rests on this premise: We can’t solve our energy
that are solution-oriented, pragmatic and will allow us to build on
crisis—or address climate change—by destroying the land. That’s
our past ten years of success. There are tremendous conservation
the easy version. More specifically, the Nevada Wilderness Project
challenges ahead for Nevada, but we’re stoked and optimistic
supports renewable energy development, such as wind, solar and
about working on them. Read on to see why.
geothermal, that is “smart from the start.” This means:
First, we’ve added a program to our toolkit called Linking Landscapes
● Harnessing Nevada’s renewable and clean energy resources
for Wildlife. This one is the big kahuna, the prima ballerina, the
while conserving wildlife corridors and habitats, and protecting
superstar ... the program or lens through which we approach most
the natural beauty and open spaces of the state.
of our work. It means we will come up with lands proposals that
will conserve corridors, or connectivity, between habitats so that ● Maximizing the existing grid, existing infrastructure (roads
animals have room to move freely from place to place. and transmission lines) and building in areas that are already
biologically degraded, for example, places inundated by invasive
There is growing awareness around the country that protecting
species or hammered by irresponsible off-road vehicle users.
islands of beautiful wildlands is not enough. These areas must be
conserved as connected or linked habitats if we’re serious about ● “Smart from the start” means mitigating energy development
protecting North America’s amazing wildlife, especially our large with federal protections for other places, designating them as new
mammals. In Nevada, identifying and protecting linked landscapes Wilderness or National Conservation Areas.
is essential for the survival of our desert bighorn sheep, mule ● Developing “smart” renewable energy sources in Nevada means
deer, pronghorn herds and many other species. So the Nevada providing a secure, clean and diversified economy that benefits
Wilderness Project will: businesses and communities and also reduces our contribution to
● Convene a Wildlife Linkages Working Group in the state made up climate change.
of many people from different organizations that informs federal, The third part of our new strategic plan talks about Special
state and local governments on conservation priorities for land use Landscapes. The Nevada Wilderness Project’s roots are in
planning. This group will write a conservation “blueprint” for Nevada Wilderness—and in the passion our staff and members have to
that identifies and prioritizes areas of habitat connectivity.
push for laws that protect some of the greatest, unspoiled, un-
touched, un-ruined, most wild places left in our country. And those
roots run deep. Three million acres deep. That’s how many acres of
Wilderness and National Conservation Areas we have spearheaded
protection for since we were founded in 1999.
That’s why we will help protect places identified by local residents
and the broader environmental community as some of our state’s
most spectacular and unspoiled natural gems. These notable places
are ripe for—or in dire need of—Congressional protection. For
example, we have been working to pass legislation to protect Gold
Butte, northeast of Las Vegas, where first-time visitors inevitably
exclaim, “I can’t believe this isn’t a national park ... or something.”
People are incredulous when they see the area’s Native American
petroglyphs, stunning rock formations and ancient Joshua trees.
And they are just as incredulous when they see the unforgiveable
vandalism that has been done to some of them: bullet holes in the
rock art, Joshua trees burned along with camper trash, off-road tire
tracks scarring the vistas. Special landscapes like these deserve—
and will get—NWP’s commitment and focused energy.
There’s much more about these three programs on our website, For more about Linking Landscapes for
Wildlife, contact our Conservation Director, john.tull@wildnevada.
org. For Climate Change, Energy and Wildlands, or our Special
Landscapes program, contact NWP’s director, john.wallin@ Burrowing owls © M.J. Kammerer, Or call our office: 775-746-7851.
T-shirts are 10 dollars in honor of our 10th birthday
We have great NWP t-shirts (organic cotton & fabulous designs!)
on sale on our website, discounted to celebrate our birthday and
to make sure they reach the backs of wilderness fans far, wide and
deep underground.

You can see more

t-shirt photos on
org. Click the
“Join Us” tab and
Gold Butte petroglyphs by Kristie Connolly scroll down.

Other websites to know about:

We’ve been making lots of changes and improvements to our website. Interested in downloading Wilderness maps? Want to see
the habitat distribution of the southwestern willow flycatcher? Looking for a way to donate securely online? It’s all there, plus many
new wildlife photos, news articles and simple amusements. Check it out at

No clowns. No petting zoo.

But the Nevada Wilderness Project is celebrating our 10th birthday this fall by hosting The Wild & Scenic Film Festival! In September,
we’ll be throwing parties in Las Vegas and Reno by showing this amazing collection of films accompanied by music, beverages,
raffles ... who knows, maybe a few magic tricks? We’ll spread the word once we have the dates set. In the meantime, you can learn
more about the festival at
Maps help us think. Bighorn Sheep Habitat & Movement

BLM Energy Transmission Corridor
his one shows part of Clark County
Pending Renewable Energy Projects
in southern Nevada, with areas
Wilderness Areas
around Las Vegas slated for development
of renewable energy, red lines designating
new transmission poles and lines, wilderness Desert Coyote
areas NWP helped protect in ‘02 and ‘04, National Mesquite

various towns and highways, and a new city

of 200,000 warm bodies that will be built 168

north of Vegas over the next decade. Refuge


It also depicts major migration routes for 15

bighorn sheep identified by the Nevada 95

Department of Wildlife. Bighorn sheep Proposed


are Nevada’s primo large mammal, and Gold Butte

NCA with
people come from around the world to see
or hunt them; they are emblematic of our (Read the
Pahrump Las Vegas
state’s rugged landscapes. They migrate article on the
back page to
between higher elevations in summer to learn more.)

lower elevations during winter, driven by the

constant quest for water, food and shelter
Boulder City
from extreme weather. Without access to
95 Map illustration by
these high quality habitats – unaltered and Kristie Connolly
unimpeded by human activities – these herds
will die out. So all Nevadans have to think: ● Can we maximize the existing infrastructure diversity. In fact, we know that with your
● Where on the land do these components— for energy transmission rather than build help we can leave a lasting and great
development, transportation, wildlife something from scratch? natural legacy for Nevada.
habitat, existing protected areas— ● Why not build a bridge for wildlife over So to re-cap: The best available data about
intersect? the highway to reduce the number of people wildlife populations and habitat, plus
● How will they impact one another and and bighorn sheep killed in collisions? up-to-date information about proposed
impact the land? ● Does all this make your head hurt? development, plus ground-truthed
● Can we mitigate the impacts of inventories of our public land, plus peer
Well, we’re willing to put our heads to it, review and stakeholder input ... these are
development here, by protecting land over and seek advice from experienced people the components that go into our proposals.
there? who have already grappled with many of That and a responsibility to leave our
● Can we protect the land between two these issues. NWP is the only non-profit wildlands for the generations who come
existing wilderness areas, resulting in a safe organization in the state with a fulltime after us. Nothing less.
corridor for wildlife? conservation biologist on staff, as well as
an experienced and skilled GIS and Arcview – Charlotte Overby,
● Should we build a large-scale wind farm Communications Director
map specialist. Their skills paired with our
here where the habitat is already degraded,
political and grassroots experience give us a
instead of over there where it is still
better-than-fighting chance to pass positive
legislation protecting wildlife and habitat

Saw Mill Canyon, Desert Refuge,

Photo by Kristie Connolly Tyler Roemer
Gold Butte: On the front burner
I n Mesquite’s backyard lies an incredible landscape: Gold
Butte Country. The Virgin River is the northern boundary with
the Colorado River to the south. Lake Mead National Recreation
Area and Arizona’s Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
are political boundaries to the west and east. Native Americans,
miners, ranchers and recreationists have used this area for
centuries. Our fall newsletter was dedicated to Gold Butte; in late
September last year, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley introduced
HR 7132, the Gold Butte National Conservation Area Act, that
would have designated 200,000 acres as Wilderness and 362,177
acres as National Conservation Area. No action was taken and
the bill died when Congress adjourned.
But Congress’s inaction has spurred us on to new action. Passed
by for legislation and undermanaged by the federal agencies,
Gold Butte needs your voice now, more than ever. The Nevada
Wilderness Project has partnered with the Friends of Gold Butte
to bring people together to preserve the rich cultural and natural
resources that make up this “Special Landscape.” We are working
with Nevada’s Congressional delegation to introduce new Gold
Butte legislation this year.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Clark County have
designated 350,000 acres as an Area of Critical Environmental
Concern (ACEC) for scenic, prehistoric and wildlife values, of which
187,000 acres of that are protected for the endangered desert
tortoise. Wilderness is proposed for 100,000 acres of identified
unfragmented tortoise habitat, which will guarantee these large Bighorn sheep, photo courtesy of
tracks of Mojave Desert scrub stay intact and undisturbed for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
tortoise and all desert wildlife.
Gold Butte is such a wonderful place for picnicking, camping and The Friends of Gold Butte and NWP’s vision is to preserve and
studying the cultures of past peoples. National Conservation Area protect the cultural and natural resources in the Gold Butte area
(NCA) designation will provide management, interpretation and while providing volunteer-based education and interpretive
facilities for visitors to enjoy the area in a backcountry setting. programs. Through monthly presentations, hikes and volunteer
Recently, the BLM finished an extensive cultural study including projects, we continue to grow a community of informed stewards.
historic, prehistoric and site excavation. National Conservation Locally based in Mesquite, Friends of Gold Butte is eager to begin
Area will assist in developing a plan compatible with the work with the public agencies to assist in the education and
archaeological study to educate visitors on their importance and interpretation needs of the Gold Butte National Conservation
help protect these resources from vandalism and theft. Public Area.
access to these areas is important to maintain; education is the – Nancy Hall, Gold Butte Organizer
key to their protection.

Gold Butte Country needs your voice. Please call your Congressional Representative and ask
them to introduce legislation for the Gold Butte National Conservation Area with Wilderness.

Congresswoman Dina Titus Congresswoman Shelley Berkley Congressman Dean Heller

8215 S. Eastern Ave Suite 205 2340 Paseo del Prado, Ste. D-106 600 Las Vegas Blvd., Suite 680
Las Vegas, NV 89123 Las Vegas, NV 89102 Las Vegas, NV 89101
Ph: 702-387-4941 (Las Vegas) Ph: 702-220-9823 (Las Vegas) Ph: 702-255-1651 (Las Vegas)
Ph: 202-225-3252 (Wash. DC) Ph: 202-225-5965 (Wash. DC)

Please visit our website at and click on the “Take Action” tab. There you’ll find a Take
Action For Gold Butte page, with more information.
“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are thousands of ways to bow and kiss the earth.” - Rumi

A s the Nevada Wilderness Project celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year, all of the board members and staff recognize
the power of each member and every donation in our work. Every dollar given toward our mission over the last 10 years
has created great success for our state and for the future of Nevada’s wild lands. Every one of those dollars is still at work today:
their power has helped us to protect 3 million acres statewide and generate a refined mission statement and renewed vision
for Nevada.
It is with gratitude and thanks to you, our supporters, that NWP takes on this next chapter of our work. The power of your
donations has a greater impact on our work and Nevada than you will ever know. And by extension, each of you is a change
maker for Nevada’s wild lands and animals. The commitment to this work is stunning and goes well beyond your initial gift.
Philanthropy derives from ancient Greek and is defined as “to love people” or the “love of human kind.” By this definition, each
one of us is a philanthropist. The power of each dollar given to our work with the intention to make a positive difference HAS,
and DOES, make that difference for ourselves and for wildlife. Thank you for being vested in a bright future for conservation
in Nevada.
- Mackenzie Banta, Development Director

I would like to make a contribution of (please check one): Name

• $35 $250 Address
• $50 • $500
• $100 • Other:
Please make checks payable to: Nevada Wilderness Project
Send your contribution and information to: State
Nevada Wilderness Project
8550 White Fir Street
Reno, NV 89523 E-mail
Or you may donate securely online at
Sign of the times, Phone
Thank you.
by Tyler Roemer

Contact Us

8550 White Fir Street

Reno, NV 89523
Tel: 775.746.7850