ELY — The Bureau of Land Management Ely District’s fuels management team recently completed two sagebrush-steppe habitat restoration treatments, masticating established pinyon-pine and juniper on nearly 1,000 acres of the public lands in White Pine County’s Cherry Creek and Kern mountain ranges.
“The objective is to improve the health, vigor and production of perennial grasses, forbs, and shrubs by selectively removing pinyon-juniper,” said Kellie Dobrescu, BLM Ely District range and wildlife conservationist.
Dobrescu said the masticated acreage was aerially seeded in January. She said seed mixes differed for each location, depending on site specific characteristics and seed availability.
The 550-acre treatment in Johnson Spring Basin on the west slope of the Cherry Creek Range, about 65 miles northwest of Ely, is part of the landscape-scale Egan and Johnson Basins Restoration Project. The multi-year project will ultimately treat up to 24,346 acres of an 84,675-project area.
The 433-acre treatment in the Kern Mountains, approximately 50 miles northeast of Ely near the Utah state line, is a component of the Kern Mountains Landscape Restoration Project that over a several year period will treat up to 12,580 acres of a 15,725-acre project area.
Both large-scale projects utilize a variety of treatment methods, including hand-thinning, chaining, mastication, and prescribed fire-use combined with aerial and/or ground seeding, to restore watershed health and improve wildlife habitat, as well as reduce risk of a catastrophic wildfire.