WSF and FDB secure Nevada’s Desert National Wildlife Refuge
Thanks to the efforts of the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) and the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn (FDB), Nevada’s Desert National Wildlife Refuge is once again secure following the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (the “Act”). WSF and FDB worked in tandem to keep public involvement at the forefront of the final Act rather than allow the lines to blur between military readiness and conservation.
“Hunters are the first conservationists in the U.S. and also share a historical heritage with the U.S. military,” Brett Jefferson, WSF Legislative Affairs Committee Chairman and FDB President, said in a press release. “We work together on the refuge to ensure our wild sheep and wildlife conservation priorities as well as military readiness are maintained. We are very pleased that Congress has acted to maintain this relationship.”
This is the largest refuge in the lower 48; it spreads across six major mountain ranges and 1.5 million acres within Nevada. FDB has worked to support important habitat for desert bighorn sheep as well as other wildlife that live within the refuge like the desert tortoise through 18 water developments that “provide about 110,000 gallons of critical water to wildlife annually, including a population of approximately 1,000 desert bighorn sheep,” according to a press release.
“What makes the Desert National Wildlife Refuge work for both conservation and military readiness is the same principle that applies to all federal land: multiple use,” said WSF President & CEO Gray N. Thornton. “It depends on close cooperation. Conflicts can be complicated, but they must be resolved directly and we are committed to the rules for doing that. We appreciate the legion of fellow conservationists that together make us all stronger players in the process than we would be otherwise.”
The next step? Completing an environmental study that will be submitted to Congress that will decide how the refuge will be managed in the future.