April 26, Chairman J.J. Goicoechea attended a stakeholder meeting regarding the wild horse situation. The national organizations that have been opposed to doing something with the population now realize there is a need to do something. Goicohechea said that some 30,000 horses could be removed from the State of Nevada to reach AUM. On the 27th, he attended the Next Step at the Peppermill for the Greater Sage Grouse and left with more questions than he came with. Goicoechea said it’s frustrating that now they’re trying to reach out to cooperating agencies. On the 28th, he participated in a NACO Conference Call to consider legislative bills. He recommended Jake Tibbitts for involvement as well. On the 3rd, Goicoechea had a tour of the Bald Mountain Mine to see the leach field expansion. The mine thinks they have three to four million ounces of gold and “it’s very exciting” and “an impressive operation” and encouraged them to “ship ore from this side.” On the 5th, he went to the Elko County Commission and spoke about the concerns over grazing reductions proposed because of the wild horses in the south end of Elko County. There’s a million acres of sage grouse habitat with over 4,000 horses. “It’s a losing proposition,” Goicoechea said.
On April 25, Commissioner Etchegaray attended a Groundwater Management Plan meeting. “There’s a lot of people concerned. A lot of them in favor; and a lot of them not.”
Commissioner Sharkozy attended Crescent Valley FireWise and a Volunteer Fire Department meeting.
Millie Oram, Senior Centers Program Director, related that “everything is going good at both centers” with the meal count at the CV Center going up. “We’re starting our night dinners for the month of May” with a May 12th Dinner in Eureka and May 18 in Crescent Valley. Eureka served 814 meals, 39 per day; CV served 576, 28 per day and $7,423.25 was deposited for both Centers.
ROAD DEPARTMENT and PUBLIC WORKS
Raymond Hodson, Road Superintendent reported they finished blading on Fish Creek Summit, the 3C Summit and lower East Antelope Road, on 101 and are getting close to finishing the Roberts Creek Bypass; they cleaned cattle guards and removed a boulder. May Clean Up started May 5th with half a day’s work in Eureka. On April 14th the Road Crew and Shop Crew did dozier training with the BLM and set up for the “race this morning.” The North End has been working on the Barth Project when they’re not rained out and they’ve done the Buckhorn Road and are going across towards Sheep Creek. May Clean Up started in Crescent Valley and “was very busy.”
Giving the Public Works update, Hodson reported all the fire trucks are maintained and have been returned to stations. He said there are no issues with water, sewer or vehicles; parks and grounds are fertilized. They held off on the water in Crescent Valley until now. Sprinklers have been going aerating. There were valves changed at the pool. Job descriptions are being worked on and should be completed soon. The x ray machine should arrive on the 9th and be installed on the 10th.
Jake Tibbitts, Natural Resource Manager, attended a a Groundwater Management Plan meeting with “great strides” being made on April 25 while on May 2nd, Dale Bugenig and he attended the Water Resource Meeting. On May 3 he met with Ruby Hill Mine folks and attorneys and they want an update on the Groundwater Management Plan and strategy moving forward and Tibbitts brought them up to speed and discussed their groundwater strategy. Tibbitts handed out t-shirts to the Commissioners made for this year’s FireWise Event being held May 6 in Eureka and invited everyone to come down to have a hamburger. May 21st the FireWise Event in Crescent Valley will take place. On Monday, May 9th, the weed spraying contractor will begin. The Conservation District last week voted to put some of their funds towards weed abatement and the BLM has committed to providing funding as well.
Tibbitts explained that the weeds on the Noxious Weed List are what are targetted. On May 17, the BLM is hosting a site visit of the Gold Bar Project for Cooperating Agencies at 11 a.m. On May 23, Tibbitts will attend a Groundwater Management Plan meeting. Dale Bugenig on the 5th of May and downloaded all the data logger information in Diamond Valley for the wells. He’d like to talk about water levels. “All the water survived the winter. An older monitor gave up the ghost and there may be one on its last leg” and “at some point” the Commission “may have to consider replacing it.”
Bugenig said they are the last of the County’s data loggers and the parts for them aren’t made anymore. “The problem exists when you go to change the batteries because the connector loses elasticity and won’t make contact.” Bugenig said the batteries in now are good for a year and he doesn’t anticipate it will happen soon, but wanted to give the Commission a “heads-up.”
Tibbitts noted he and the Chairman went to Reno to the Greater Sage Grouse Meeting sponsored by the BLM. Tibbitts went to Livestock Grazing, Mitigation and Adaptive Management and Mining and Disturbance forums at the event. “The stated intention from BLM was to provide clarity on how they’re going to implement the Land Use Plan. After the meeting I had anything but clarity” and “what’s interesting is I don’t think the BLM has clarity either.” Tibbitts said they’re developing instructional memorandums or are going to update manual portions to give guidance. Tibbitts said, “The plan itself is supposed to do all that.” He said there were some “positive things said there by BLM” with the Sally Jewel’s right-hand. Tibbitts said the BLM wants to do maintenance on the Section 2.02 and that there is a push in some of the Western Congressional delegations to have language in the National Defense Authorization Act in States that have developed Sage Grouse Plans that the BLM would not apply the Rule. Tibbitts said there’s been news of the Department of Defense saying they don’t think the Sage Grouse threatens Defense Lands. Tibbitts noted that “a lot of times people don’t want to be found voting against the military appropriations” and said “there is a push there to do that.”
Tibbitts discussing the Fish & Wildlife Service Mitigation Policy is looking to “enlarge and expand the services authority beyond what historically have been, an all lands approach, private/public regardless of whether they have jurisdiction; and they’re looking at species which may be special status.” Tibbitts said, “They only get authority on a species when they become a candidate for endangered species>” Tibbitts said there is no “defination of net conservation gain” or allowance made “for catastrophic events” so that “conservation work can be wiped out in minutes and they want industries and land users to pay the price for catastrophic events outside their control.” Tibbitts said while talk of “landscape conservation planning” sounds good its effect is to take “the role off the local focus and local government” and “tends to often diminish the voice of the local people actually affected.” Tibbitts said the Fish & Wildlife talk “about ‘establishing ‘mitigation banks’ with a large provision for the State’s Conservation Credit System and it would diminish participation in the State system as people would feel threatened by the F&W Service. Tibbitts said if the Fish & Wildlife Service establihshes a ‘mitigation bank’ they need to work with the State’s Conservation Credit Program. The Commission accepted the letter composed by Jake Tibbitts on the proposed revisions to the US Fish & Wildlife Service Mitigation Policy.
Eureka County Commissioners approved:
Minutes of the April 13, 2016 budget meeting;
Minutes of the April 20, 2016 Commission meeting;
Expenditures of $771645.38 including $2800 in Yucca Mountain expenditures, a Pass-Through to the School District of $611,098;
Signing AirMedCare (formerly Summit Air Ambulance) Network Group Full Membership for Payroll Deduct Only, to allow payroll deductions for Eureka County employees, or paid volunteers and board/committee members, who elect group membership with Air MedCare for this voluntary program;
Signing letter to Nevada Department of Taxation in response to Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Annual Audit Report;
Set the date to approve the Final Budget and sign the departmental top sheets and schedule an item during the May 20th regular meeting;
Receipt of an ‘Excellence in Loss Control’ awarded to Eureka County by Nevada POOL/PACT;
Commissioner Update Reports;
Beginning the process of purchasing APN 001-102-13, located at 11 North Main Street in Eureka;
Ratifying Notification of Grant Award from Nevada Aging & Disability Services Division for a supplemental Nutrition Grant #07-000-57-NX-16 in the amount of $2,931, with no match required from Eureka County;
A request by Abigail Johnson, Nuclear Waste Advisor, to subcontract with Richard Moore, PE, to provide Yucca Mountain-related transportation advisor services in 2016, not to exceed $10,000 to be funded by the US-DOE direct payment grant to Eureka County as an Affected Unit of Local Government;
An application from Curtis E. Hill at 445 4th Street for a 3/4-inch residential water service in the Crescent Valley Town Water System;
Out-of-state travel for IT/Network Analyst, Misty Rowley, to attend CompTIA Conference in Hollywood, Florida, August 1st-3rd, with Business Continuity Technologies covering the cost of the conference;
A waiver of the County’s policy to allow Eureka Activities Coordinator, Cindy Beutel, to work up to 29 hours per week, during specified times, to allow adequate preparation time for upcoming events;
Appointing Jim Evans as an alternate member for the remainder of a four-year term through December 2019.