RENO, Nev. (AP) - Two sportsmen groups have donated
a combined $70,000 to help reclaim Nevada lands devastated by
Nevada Bighorns Unlimited contributed $50,000, and that donation was
followed by $20,000 from Pershing County Chukars Unlimited.
"Hopefully this will start the ball rolling and others will ante up
to make this a successful venture," said Dr. Jim Nelson, a
veterinarian and vice president of NBU.
The rehabilitation fund was set up by the Reno Chapter of Nevada
Bighorns, in cooperation with the Coalition for Nevada's Wildlife
and the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
Fires this summer burned nearly 1.5 million acres in Nevada. Most of
the damage was in Elko County, where flames destroyed prime range
for wildlife and livestock.
This fall, Gov. Kenny Guinn authorized an emergency hunt of mule
deer to thin herds in the region to prevent a massive, winter
die-off. Biologists said the landscape could not provide adequate
food or shelter for the number of deer.
The state wildlife agency issued 1,000 doe tags under the emergency
"We lost huge amounts of wildlife habitat in these fires," said Dave
Pulliam, NDOW habitat chief. "There is a short window of opportunity
to begin rehabilitation efforts as soon as possible."
The agency has already channeled more than $700,000 of habitat
conservation fees from hunting and trapping licenses and bond money
to rehabilitation efforts, Pulliam said.
But the amount "will only pay for rehabbing about 5 percent of the
burned acreage," he said.
"Frankly, we need a lot more money to have a chance of being
successful," Pulliam added.
Nelson said the fundraising effort will be ongoing.
"We are reaching out to anyone who loves wildlife," Nelson said.
"All the money donated to this fund will go to rehabilitation
efforts now and well into the future.
"Since wildfires are a yearly event in Nevada, we plan on keeping
this fund going so we can help NDOW better react to wildland
rehabilitation needs," he said.
Nevada Department of Wildlife: http://www.ndow.org
Nevada Bighorns Unlimited: http://www.nevadabighorns.org