Seed warehouse

Local and state officials, community members and BLM officials celebrate the opening of the seed warehouse. (Lukas Eggen photo)

Local and state officials, community members and BLM officials celebrate the opening of the seed warehouse. (Lukas Eggen photo)

Ely Times Staff Writer

The Bureau of Land Management celebrated the opening of a new seed warehouse in Ely last Wednesday. The project broke ground in December of 2012 and cost about $4.8 million.

Several local and state officials attended the opening ceremonies. Among those in attendance included representatives from Sen. Harry Reid and Congressman Mark Amodei’s offices, Ely City Mayor Jon Hickman, County Commissioners Richard Howe and Laurie Carson and more.

“We’re thrilled to have the representatives and have this be such a joint project with our community to have this warehouse here and to have the recognition from our professional delegation form our state offices,” Carson said.

“Thank you Rosy for putting this together. We also look forward to seeing how things progress. We are well aware of the need so far as fires and restoration so we don’t have cheat grass infestations and hopefully have a habitat for our sage grouse.”

The warehouse was funded through the use of funds from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act with the idea for the warehouse coming in 2009.

“We look forward to utilizing this to have all of those important seeds that we have here in the great basin for restoration and bio-rehab and we really appreciate the partnership that helped us to get here,” BLM State Director Amy Lueders said. “…This began in 2008 so it’s really been a long, hard road. There’s a lot of people who are here today and a lot of people who aren’t here today who helped really get this from that vision to something that we could use and all stand in here today.”

The building can hold 800,000 pounds of seeds and another 100,000 pounds through cold storing, making it the largest seed facility in Nevada.

Having the availability of seeds is an important development for the area, Justin Brandenburg said. Brandenburg spoke on behalf of Sen. Harry Reid, who could not attend the opening ceremonies.

“As we know, Nevada’s faced some tremendous fires in the past,” Brandenburg said. “That’s pretty apparent to the folks here. These fires have burned thousands of acres of critical sage grouse and mule deer habitat that allow invasive weeds to spread. We all are trying to fight that. It’s essential to get a better handle on large fires and attend to our public lands. (Sen. Reid) is thrilled to see the new facility. This facility is going to give the land managers ready access to the native seeds they need to respond to protect range lands and wildlife habitats across the state.”

Meghan Brown, who attended the opening ceremonies on behalf of Congressman Mark Amodei, said the seed warehouse presents an opportunity to help address an issue that is important across the state of Nevada.
“I know this isn’t our district per say, but this is our issue,” Brown said. “I think sage grouse and not only being reactive, but proactive, on resource management is pretty important. The congressman has been working on this and is very passionate about it. We’re happy to see this seed warehouse open and see where we go in the future as far as restoration and proactive work using seeds that we can buy cheaply instead of expensive so we can get more seed for our dollar.”

The seed warehouse is located at 1111 Medlyn Way in Ely and is east of the BLM Ely District Office on Industrial Way. For more information about the Seed Warehouse, please visit the BLM Ely District Office.
As local and state officials, as well as BLM employees, came together to celebrate the opening of the seed warehouse, Lueders said, despite being a long process, the seed warehouse is something the BLM and the community can be proud of.

“Thanks to all of you who made it possible to be here today to see it operational,” Lueders said. “I think a number of us are excited to see a thought that then becomes reality and that’s what that is today.”