The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is celebrating Habitat Conservation Framework Executive Order 2021-18 signed by Governor Steve Sisolak on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. This order seeks to reverse the long-term trend of loss in Nevada’s wild landscapes and maintain the multitude of values they provide for our communities and wildlife species.
This executive order calls for the creation of a comprehensive Nevada Habitat Conservation Framework. The framework will engage conservation partners; stakeholders; and local, state, and federal agencies to identify values and services provided by intact habitats. In addition, the order will evaluate threats; prioritize landscapes; and develop strategies to conserve, restore, and rehabilitate Nevada’s threatened wildlife habitats.
Two immediate products will be developed to address threats to Nevada’s sagebrush habitat and wildlife movement corridors. A Sagebrush Habitat Plan will seek to collaboratively address the conversion and loss of Nevada’s sagebrush habitats due to climate change, wildfire, and invasive species.
“More than 50 percent of all historic sagebrush habitats across the west have been lost to wildfires, invasive species, pinyon-juniper encroachment, climate change, and other threats. As a result, the sagebrush ecosystem is one of the most imperiled in the U.S.,” said NDOW Director Tony Wasley. “Now more than ever, it is important that all concerned entities come together and maximize our collective efforts to restore these critical ecosystems. NDOW applauds the Governor for signing this executive order and creating a turning point in Nevada’s habitat conservation legacy.”
In addition to the creation of the Sagebrush Habitat Plan, NDOW will coordinate the collaborative development of a statewide Nevada Wildlife Connectivity Plan aimed at maintaining migratory corridors for species such as mule deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and other species that rely on these corridors to move between their seasonal ranges.
“Nevada’s wild landscapes provide the clear air, clean water, and open space that are integral to a healthy economy and our way of life,” Governor Sisolak said. “Whether it is mule deer or desert tortoises no animal thrives without a healthy ecosystem, and this executive order puts a crucial focus on the corridors through which wildlife migrate to survive.”
The HCF and all supporting strategies outlined in Governor Sisolak’s executive order make up Nevada’s greatest collaborative effort to conserve, restore, and rehabilitate Nevada’s key habitats and migration corridors.