Forest Service announces “no leasing” decision for Nevada's Ruby Mountains

Thu, 03/14/2019

March 14, 2019

For Immediate Release

Contact: Pam Harrington, Trout Unlimited 

Forest Service announces “no leasing” decision for Nevada's Ruby Mountains

ELKO, Nev. — Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Supervisor Bill Dunkelberger announced today a no leasing decision for 54,000 acres of public lands on the western edge of the Ruby Mountains which had been proposed for oil and gas development.

“We applaud the Forest Service for this important and appropriate decision,” said Pam Harrington, Nevada field coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “Public comments were nearly unanimous in favor of conserving the Rubys as an important place for wildlife – namely mule deer, sage grouse and trout.”

More than 13,000 comments opposed to the proposal to allow oil and gas development were submitted. Only four comments favored drilling.

The 54,000 acres in the proposal included critical winter range for Nevada’s largest mule deer herd, important sage grouse habitat and a vital core population of Lahaontan cutthroat trout – the state fish of the Silver State. The Ruby Mountains also provide economic value to the county and state as tourists visiting Nevada often go out of their way to visit the area.

Trout Unlimited, along with a coalition of conservation and sportsmens groups, held public information meetings across Nevada leading up to the comment period deadline. Tribal leaders of the Te-Moak Tribe were also against any leasing decision.

“Nevada sportsmen understand the need to develop resources,” Harrington said as the comment deadline came to a close. “But this is not the place for extraction. The most valuable resource in the Rubys is the hunting, fishing and recreational values.”

The decision is an important victory for protecting wildlife and recreation opportunities in this special place, but sportsmen are still working with Senator Cortez Masto on a bill she introduced to prevent oil and gas leasing on all Forest Service lands in the Ruby Mountains. Her bill would protect 450,000 acres from future energy extraction efforts. The groups are studying the possibility of including Bureau of Land Management lands adjacent to the Forest Service for protection.

 Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and TwitterInstagram and our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation.


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