Navy Applies to BLM to Expand Fallon Range Training Complex | NEVADA

BLM Segregates 600,000 Acres While Navy Studies Extension, Expansion

BLM Carson City District Office, Share Trails Land Use Update
BLM Carson City District Office, Share Trails Land Use UpdateCourtesy of

The U.S. Navy has applied to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to continue to use the site of the Fallon Range Training Complex and to expand it to include more than 600,000 acres of additional public land. As a result of the Navy's withdrawal application, the BLM has segregated the proposed expansion area from appropriation under the public land laws. The two-year segregation is obligatory while the Navy prepares an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on its expansion and extension proposals for the Fallon site about 65 miles east of Reno.

The Navy published a Federal Register notice on August 26 stating that it would conduct the EIS on both renewing the existing public land withdrawal, which covers 202,859 acres, and the withdrawal and reservation for military use of another 604,789 acres of public land to expand the existing range. The Navy's authorization to use its existing acreage expires in 2021. Based on the environmental analysis, the Secretary of the Interior will make a recommendation to Congress on the proposed withdrawals. However, Congress, not the Secretary, will make the final decision on both the requested extension and proposed expansion.

As a first step in the EIS process, the Navy will hold seven public meetings on the proposed extension and expansion of the Fallon Range Training Complex. The BLM, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will participate as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS. During the EIS, the Navy will consider existing uses of the lands. For instance, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manage some of the lands. In addition, the Pony Express National Historic Trail, managed by the BLM and the National Park Service, runs through both the existing and proposed expansion areas. An expanded Fallon Range Training Complex would also overlap with portions of the Stillwater Range Wilderness Study Area (WSA), the Job Peak WSA, and the Clan Alpine Mountains WSA, which are all managed by the BLM.

According to the Navy, the Dixie Valley Training Area proposal would total approximately 279,400 acres Ground training activities would continue to be conducted on current roads and trails. The proposed land for withdrawal and the current withdrawn land in the Dixie Valley Training Area would be open to certain land uses, such as recreation or cattle grazing.

BRC is concerned about the project's potential impact to both permitted OHV events such as the current Vegas to Reno Off-Road Race and casual motorized recreation. The Navy states that current authorized uses of the lands can continue during the segregation.

The two-year segregation removes the expansion lands from all forms of appropriation under the public land laws, including the mining laws, the mineral leasing laws, and the geothermal leasing laws. Valid existing rights at the time of the segregation will be honored. The action is required under section 204(b)(1) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. Much of the existing Fallon Range footprint is already withdrawn from these laws.

The entire Federal Register Notice for the Notice of Application for Withdrawal Extension and Withdrawal Expansion is available here.

Here is the Navy's project website with maps and additional information.

Local OHVers need to review the maps and let the BLM and Navy know about existing OHV use in the project area(s).

While the Navy will accept comments on its EIS, the BLM will accept comments on the requested withdrawal actions through the following methods:

Fax: (775) 885-6147
Mail: BLM Carson City District, Attn: NAS Fallon FRTC, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, NV 89701

The following is a schedule of the Navy's public meetings on the proposed withdrawals:

Fallon Convention Center, Fallon, 3-7 p.m. October 3;
Pershing County Community Center, Lovelock, 11a.m.-1 p.m. October 4;
Evelyn Mount Northeast Community Center, Reno, 5-7 p.m. October 4;
Emma Nevada Town Hall, Austin, 5-7 p.m. October 5;
Eureka Elementary School, Eureka, 5-7p.m. October 6;
Hawthorne Convention Center, Hawthorne, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. October 7; and
Gabbs School Gymnasium, Gabbs, 5-7 p.m. October 7.

Thanks in advance and, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.

Ric Foster
Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext. 2