Pew Welcomes Land Protections in Defense Bill

Bipartisan deal will safeguard more than 580,000 acres in Nevada, benefiting conservation, Tribal communities, and military readiness

Pew Welcomes Land Protections in Defense Bill
Kurt Kuznicki
Kurt Kuznicki

WASHINGTON—The Pew Charitable Trusts applauded provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law on Friday, December 23, 2022 by President Joe Biden that will protect and conserve more than 580,000 acres of public land in Northern Nevada.

This bipartisan effort establishes several wilderness and national conservation areas that will permanently protect habitat for desert bighorn sheep, greater sage-grouse, golden eagles, and many other desert species, as well as the new 217,845-acre Numu Newe Special Management Area that is being established to protect, conserve, and enhance Indigenous communities’ traditional homeland.

Pew has worked closely with Tribes, counties, conservation groups, and members of Nevada’s congressional delegation for several years to conserve this rugged landscape. The bill also resolves long-standing land use issues in Nevada’s Churchill and Lander counties and contains provisions that will allow the U.S. Navy to expand and modernize its Fallon Range Training Complex—the home of the Navy’s TOPGUN flight school—to enhance training for naval aviators and Navy SEALs.

Marcia Argust, director of Pew’s U.S. public lands and rivers conservation project, issued this statement:

“Enactment of these NDAA provisions to conserve more than 580,000 acres in Nevada is a win-win-win. This deal will help the military meet its training needs, benefit Indigenous communities and local counties, and safeguard these rugged landscapes that sustain wildlife.

“We are honored to have worked with the Walker River Paiute Tribe, the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, the counties, and local partners like Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the Conservation Lands Foundation to find common ground and collaborative solutions that work for all affected communities.

“We commend Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV) for their tireless work in crafting this compromise agreement and getting it over the finish line this year.”

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