COMMISSIONER UPDATE REPORTS

Saturday, May 7, Commissioner Sharkozy attended the Car Show in Eureka; May 9th, the Search and Rescue Meeting in Crescent Valley; May 16, the Tax Rate Hearing; May 19 the Mine tour of the Gold Bar Project. Chairman J.J. Goicoechea attended a May10th Status Conference with State Water Engineer on the Sadler Water; 16th, the May 16th Tax Rate Hearing; on the 17th & 18th of May interviews for the new Cooperative Extension Educator; on the 19th he met with the M1 Grazing Board where they discussed the fund balance and getting money back to the grazing board. Commissioner Etchegaray attended the May 16th Tax Rate Hearing and on the 17th the mine tour with McCuinn Mining and the interview with Extension Candidates.

Goicoechea noted that Jennifer Celio was hired as the new Program Manager for the Sage Brush Ecosystem Program. Goicoechea noted the SBEP is in the process of scheduling their next meeting and will be working on the cooperative agreement with the Forest Service on implementation of their Land Use Amendment.

Goicoechea related that Brett Waters has resigned as Fire Chief in White Pine County so there will be “a little bit of transition with that” until “they fill that.”

AMBULANCE & EMS

Since last report, the EMS saw11 calls for service in Eureka for a year-to-date count of 129 runs for Eureka, while Crescent Valley saw 5 calls for a year-to-date of 69. Mike Sullivan is on a well-deserved vacation. Continuing Education classes for May are the 23rd in Eureka and May 26th in Crescent Valley. The insurance transition into HSI is progressing as they work to transition to the State EMS electronic reporting which was expected to be implemented by April 1 but has been delayed. Training of staff in working with the program is on-going as volunteers and staff are finding it a difficult program to work with. On the 3rd Crescent Valley had a call for a burn patient and the EMS Department thanked everyone who assisted and cautioned everyone to be careful around fire. On the 6th, Eureka EMS got called to go to the car race at the Eureka airport but got a call to transport a patient to Elko and the race was cancelled due to rain and lightning.

PUBLIC WORKS

Ray Hodson gave the Public Works Update, noting that Red Card training was on-going in Pine Valley and was taking place in Dunphy. He noted that mountain top repeater maintenance will begin in June and said the water and sewer systems are “doing good.” Hodson noted the sewer system maintenance manual is being reviewed and that the removal and replacement of carpet in the Eureka Clinic will start in June. He said the new x ray machine was installed in Crescent Valley but is encountering a glitch having to do with the Nevada Health Services remote server which NHS is working through. Hodson said, “May Clean-Up is ongoing and going well” and joked that they “should have Crescent Valley wiped out in a couple more years.”

CLERK/TREASURER’S FUND REPORT

Clerk/Treasurer Bev Conley reported the County began the month with $14,117,908; saw revenue of $488,129, disbursements of $1,154,046 which left a General Fund Balance of $13,452,063

CULTURAL, TOURISM & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Andy Rossman, Cultural, Tourism & Economic Development Director, reported that according to Patty Peet from April 1 to 30, 1600 people passed through the Opera House doors thanks to the Prom, and several event including the Lion’s Club Magic Show, Bob Kudo, water meetings and events like Ken Ross utilizing the Opera House occasionally and tourists filtering through on Hwy. 50. Rossman related that Mary Kay will be performing at the Opera House May 27th . Kay writes about her life in Utah and about Nevada and Wyoming and performs in Elko and Genoa at the Cowboy Poetry Festivals. A theater production company will be performing a comedy about Prohibition, June 4.

Rossman related that on May 13, she received an email from White Pine County to put in for the 4th installment of Great Basin Regional Development Authority monies from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development of $3750. The GBRDA will be meeting in Eureka on May 24 at 1 p.m. With Peter Walish of GOED attending to discuss White Pine County and their decision to join the Northeastern Nevada Development Authority and Pam Borda of the NNDA will also be attending. Rossman noted the GBRDA still has no director and having received a grant for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy in the amount of $30,000 and there is question therefore as to whether those monies will have to be returned back to the EDA Seattle office.

HYDROGRAPHIC REPORT ON DIAMOND VALLEY

Dale Bugenig, Consulting Hydrogeologist, gave a report on Diamond Valley groundwater levels in relation to ongoing data tracking and analysis, including a presentation of updated hydrographs. Bugenig related that spring levels are higher which he related to efforts to cut back on irrigation and not start irrigation as early as last year. He noted that Mark Moyles’ well on the south end of 7th Street saw the highest rise and believed it showed recharge because it’s water that gets into the aquifir more quickly as “its pretty far east.”

Bugenig reported the monitoring “network is alive and well” and said, “It’s common to use April 1st of each year as a metric of what the water level is” which is the same time the State Engineer comes out and measures. Bugenig said comparing April 1, 2015 and April 1, 2016, “we have the changes” which “range from a decline of 3.8 feet in the south end of Diamond Valley” and “a rise of 4.5 feet in the center of the Valley and then water levels roughly the same at the north end of the Valley on the east side. But again, that April 1 water level is influenced by when irrigation started” which “influences those hydrographs.” Bugenig said, “The first of the series is a single graph that represents all five of Eureka County’s data water plots and gives you a quick-and-dirty representaiton of the data.” Bugenig said the logger was placed in the Conley well because “both wells in section 10 are virtually identical.” He said the graph for the Conley monitoring well shows a big difference up through 2012 and then the irrigation well was replaced but “what you see here, the red dash line is the recovery trend, and you can see for the last three years it recovers virtually identical.”

He noted, “It takes a while for the water to get from the surface down to the aquifir” and was surprised there was no indication of recharge. Two plots in the Section 10 monitoring wells, the southern, the “red line that’s overlaying the blue hydrograph is recovery of two previous years” and “it’s virtually identical” but said, “you do see the water level on May 4th is above the trend shown for the four previous years,” which he attributed to “efforts to cut back on irrigation use.”

Bugenig said, Bob Burnham’s well south of the intersection of 101 and 11th Street was “one of the wells experiencing one of the largest declines” but “this year was 4.5 feet above expected.” Bugenig saw a “slight hint of evidence of recharge after about the middle of March the water levels plot above” where he expected recovery to have been if things had been similar to previous years. Next, he turned to the Morrison’s well on the west central part of the valley south of 11th Street which he said has “been pretty regular” except this year “we’re maybe 2.5 feet above the trend, so it seems to be responding to the irrigation practices” but Bugenig saw “no real evidence of recharge actually hitting the aquifir yet” as “water” has “to get from the surface down to the water table.” He said, “The summer time deepest water levels are trending at a flatter slope than the springtime highs unless you take the last two years” in which “the slope is flatter than what we’ve been experiencing in previous years.”

He said the “Bailey’s monitoring wells is an anomoly” as “this well is used as a source of stock watering.” The pump records show a 3 foot decline as “both summer and spring waters are dropping at a little more than half a foot a year” but with “little difference over the course of the record. It’s pretty regular.” Again, Bugenig said, “Water level are higher than last year due to the irrigation schedule.”

He showed a “compilation of all six of the wells that were installed under the grant provided to the DNRPCA” shows a water level nearly 3 feet above the trend, which he called “a positive sign in our water levels” showing “that paying close attention to irrigation will help our situation.”

He said Marty Plaskett’s well north of 11th street isn’t showing actual recharge but is a foot and a half above and is “farther west and farther away from the mountain front. Your distance from where recharge influences how much recharge is occurring.”

He noted Mark Moyle’s well is “two and a half feet above the trend over the last three years” and Bob Burnham’s well east of 101 and closer to 12th Street is “about a foot above our trend line” which is “slightly better than we’ve seen” over the “previous two years.” He said Commissioner Etchegaray’s well’s water level on April 1st was “virtually same as what it was last year” and noted the “pumping level didn’t change over the last two irrigation cycles.

He found Mark Moyle’s northern most well interesting as March 1st “it went off trend and it’s nearly two feet higher” which Bugenig ascribed to recharge as the well is “further east and closer to the mountains.” Bugenig believes “the irrigation scheduling and how much water you pump really seems to mask hard evidence of recharge. If it’s happening here it will happen to the rest of the Basin is conclusion we can draw.”

Bugenig thinks the logging equipment is “good through next spring” at which point the commission may “have to think about replacing” equipment which Bugenig said “could come out of my budget” since he “always comes in under budget” and therefore it “wouldn’t amount to extra expenditure you’re not having allocated.”

NATURAL RESOURCES

Jake Tibbitts, Natural Resource Manager, related that Friday, May 13th he went to Tonopah to the State Land Use Advisory Council meeting which took action on putting comment on the BLM Planning 2.0. He related that the Governor’s Office is putting together a packet on the BLM Land Use Plan in which the SLUPAC letter will be included. On the 16th, Tibbitts attended the Groundwater Planning Meeting and on the 17th went on the Gold Bar site visit.

He wanted the commissioners to be aware that the BLM handed out maps showing sites and impacts and took the time to label on County roads that no right-of-way exists” leading Tibbitts to conclude the BLM will “require permitting right of way for access on the roads” and anticipates there will “be an issue” the Commission will “need to address.”

Chairman Goicoechea noted they saw this with the BLM and American Vanadium and agreed “the time is coming if they do make demands” while he doesn’t “want to get in the way of mining companies” the Commission “cannot allow our right to existing County roads to be jeopardized.”

Tibbitts will attend the Wildlife Commissioners Elk Oversight Committee Meeting, May 23 at the Opera House and noted that he and Commissioner Etchegaray provided comment last year about elk as there are elk in Pioneer Pass and at Garden Pass and the County Master Plan specifically states that the County does not support elk north of Highway 50. Tibbitts said the Wildlife Board is “working hard on making that depredation hunt work” with an “early, mid and late season hunt” and while “people like to hunt elk” he is concerned that as “soon as elk get into Diamond Valley” they’ll “get into a “Tuscarora situation.”

Tibbitts reported the weed spraying contractor has “been around the last couple of weeks” and “has treated 107 acres within the last two weeks” which is “pretty substantial” while leaving “only about 5 million acres of weeds “ Tibbitts said the rain hasn’t been disturbing the treatment as the pesticide dries on the plants “but rain activates it.” The contractor “started in Eureka Canyon” and is working towards the mouth of Diamond Valley going up Simpson Creek working to contain the White Top and keep things contained in Town and keep the “issue from creeping into Diamond Valley.” Tibbitts said there are “two guys on the crew” who are “criss-crossing Diamond Valley focusing on gravel roads,” and are “literally driving across Diamond Valley and spraying as he comes across Thistle or White Top and “will be continuing out through the Valley.” The contractor “can go on lands in the Weed District with permission” and “will treat on private property if it benefits the District.”

Turning to recent activities and issues related to sage grouse including, but not limited to, federal Land Use Plan Amendments and current litigation, Tibbitts said the only thing he wanted to bring the Commission’s attention to is that the Department of Justice responded to the Motion for Summary Judgment in a 72 page document that didn’t bring up any new arguments but that claims the Counties cannot show any harm from the plans being adopted.

Attorney Laura K. Granier is asking the Plaintiff Counties for examples of where the BLM used the recent Sage Grouse Plan to impose restrictions. Tibbitts said that White Pine County has a couple of examples they can site and Eureka County can site restrictions on the time of day various gravel pits can be accessed.

Goicoechea said Granier is “still looking at a July decision” and expects a hearing mid to late July.

In considering commenting on the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed “Planning 2.0” that would update their land use planning regulations, Tibbitts presented the Commission a copy of the letter drafted for consideration in close consultation with NACO. Tibbitts shared a marked-up version of the BLM proposed regulations. National NACO adopted the document and sent it out with a cover letter to every county in the nation with BLM Land. Tibbitts said it would be hard for the BLM to ignore a document coming from the Governor, Wyoming and every state.

EUREKA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS APPROVED:

Adopting the Final Budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 and signing the top sheets for the Department of Taxation;

Adopting a Resolution providing for the transfer of Eureka County’s 2016 Private Activity Bond Cap Allocation in the amount of $97,314.36 to Nevada Rural Housing Authority;

A request from Michael Caldwell (sponsor) to utilize $2,500 in Crescent Valley Activities Program funds to host the Crescent Valley 3rd Annual Car Show scheduled for July 24 ;

Waiving the facility fees for the Crescent Valley Arena & Rodeo Grounds for use and activities related to the Crescent Valley 3rd Annual Car Show;