The Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) are working together to improve fish and wildlife habitat, and restore watershed health to public lands burned in the Goshute Cave Fire.
BLM Ely District and NDOW staff last month transplanted in Goshute Creek willow cuttings taken from a nearby state park. The creek is home to a population of Bonneville cutthroat trout, a BLM sensitive species and State of Nevada protected gamefish.
Heath Korell, NDOW fisheries biologist, said the willows will help to stabilize the streambank and improve water quality. “Stabilizing the habitat is key to the fish’s persisting in Goshute Creek. The creek represents an out of basin population that provides redundancy in the Pine Creek/Ridge Creek strain of Bonneville cutthroat trout that are found in Great Basin National Park,” Korell said.
The agencies last winter partnered to aerially seed more than 15,300 acres of BLM-administered land blackened in the 2018 wildfire. The lightning-ignited fire burned 32,215 acres of the public lands in and outside the Goshute Canyon Wilderness in White Pine and Elko counties, about 60 miles north of Ely.
Chris McVicars, BLM Ely District natural resource specialist and fire rehab program manager, said initial monitoring indicates that the burn area is recovering well. “Natural recovery is occurring earlier than we normally see, especially in the higher elevations,” McVicars said.
McVicars extolled NDOW for its collaboration on this and other eastern Nevada projects. “We work closely with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Agency staff assists in planning and implementation, and the department provides funding and materials, and labor for projects,” he said.
BLM Ely District Fire Management Officer Tye Petersen echoed McVicars’ sentiments. “We could not accomplish what we have without participation from the Nevada Department of Wildlife. It’s partly due to that agency’s hard work and commitment to Nevada’s public lands that our projects have been so hugely successful,” he said.
Other elements of the Goshute Cave Fire’s emergency stabilization and rehabilitation plan were fence construction and repair, hazardous tree felling, soil stabilization and noxious weed treatments, and reconstruction of the Goshute Creek Campground.
CAPTION (Goshute Cave Fire-Nancy Herms): BLM Ely District Wildlife Biologist Nancy Herms transplants willow cuttings in Goshute Creek. BLM and NDOW employees in two days harvested and transplanted approximately 1,400 cuttings along a little more than half-mile stretch of Goshute Creek.
CAPTION (Goshute Cave Fire-Moira Kolada): Nevada Department of Wildlife Habitat Biologist Moira Kolada plants the now-dormant willows in mud to keep them moist. When they take root, the willows will stabilize the streambank, and improve water quality and watershed function.
CAPTION (Goshute Cave Fire-helicopter): The agencies in February aerially seeded approximately 15,337 acres or nearly half of the public lands burned in the Goshute Cave Fire. The approximately two-week seeding required 138,243 pounds of grass, forb and brush seed.