Friday, July 02, 2010

2010 Sheldon Rendezvous

In June, Friends of Nevada Wilderness teamed up with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the Nevada Muleys and a host of dedicated citizens (75 volunteers in all) working on our common ground: Caring for the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge.

Our goal was to improve habitat for wildlife like the pronghorn antelope, sage grouse, bighorn sheep, mule deer, pika and a host of other species that depend on sagebrush-steppe ecosystems, which are fast-disappearing and changing because of development, energy exploration and development, invasive weeds and climate change.

Together, we pulled 5.5 miles of obsolete and now-dangerous barbed-wire fence and began building the first of several pipe fences to protect fragile spring systems. Not only did these actions remove threats to wildlife and protect essential springs from damage, it also restored wide-open beauty to a larger piece of the Sheldon. Together we logged nearly $40,000 of in-kind service to benefit the Sheldon, which the Fish and Wildlife Service will be able to leverage to gain funding for additional stewardship projects and research to help us understand the qualities and needs of this unique ecosystem.
Along the way, we made new friends with folks who share our love for this unique stretch of Wild Nevada.

A few more photos from the event...

Volunteers removing dangerous barbed wire from important pronghorn, sage grouse and mule deer habitat.

One of main beneficiaries of this work is the greater sage grouse, recently listed as "warranted" for protection under the Endangered Species Act by the US Fish & Wildife Service. A significant percentage of sage grouse mortality comes from collision with fences, because sage grouse take off at a low angle and often cannot see fences. Photo copyright Scott Sady.

There was even work for our future public-lands managers. Here Logan carries a pulled fence post back to the truck.

The 2010 Sheldon Rendezvous was an opportunity for Friends of Nevada Wilderness to work with Nevada Muleys for the first time to protect resources that are important to all of us. We look forward to many more projects together.
Volunteers came from as far away as Las Vegas, Southern California and the East Coast. The long-distance award goes to Maria from Senator Reid's office in Washington DC...all this way to work hard for Nevada's land and wildlife.

After all the hard work under hot sun, Nevada Muleys provided a much-appreciate feast of chorizo and burgers for the hungry crowd. Here's Ed working hard at the grill.

Mmmmmm....cake. Jake and Marlow try to contain their enthusiasm as Dutch oven master Pat Bruce unveils dessert...pineapple upside-down cake and Black Forest cake...a tasty end to a great day!

Thank you Graham Stafford to providing great photography!

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