Nevada Pinyon-Juniper Partnership

The Nevada Pinyon-Juniper Partnership formed in April 2010 with the goal of addressing the expansion and infill of PJ in Nevada at a landscape scale through proactive restoration. A secondary goal is to utilize the biomass generated through restoration efforts. Identifying and supporting commercial use of the PJ biomass will not only offset the cost of restoration, but it will contribute to the economic sustainability of Nevada’s rural communities.

Partnership members represent a broad spectrum, including local government, farmers and ranchers, university researchers, wildlife agencies, state and federal land management agencies, conservation groups, tribes, utilities and renewable energy interests, and economic development organizations. A Steering Committee made up of representatives of these diverse interests has responsibility for project direction. Using the best-available science, innovation, adaptive management and public/private cooperation, the Partnership will identify and implement strategies to break the catastrophic fire cycle and restore healthy sagebrush steppe communities.

The Partnership has contracted with Resource Concepts, Inc. to provide assistance at no charge to Nevada communities (2019 through 2030).

For more information on the Partnership please contact Jeremy Drew, RCI Project Manager at (775)-883-1600 or jeremy@rci-nv.com.

Partners:

Background, Science and Pinyon Juniper Management

Eighty-seven percent of Nevada is federal land, with approximately nine million acres of PJ woodland under the management responsibility of the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. The risks presented by PJ woodlands in their current expanding and over-stocked condition, along with the concomitant impacts on ecosystem resilience and biodiversity, wildlife habitat, water quantity and quality, and soils are cause for major concern. Restoration on a landscape level is an environmental protection imperative. At the same time, opportunity exists to utilize the biomass generated from treatments for commercial purposes, thus adding offset revenues back into the restoration cycle while creating rural industries and jobs in counties whose private economies need a boost.

PJ Partnership Presentation to Nevada Legislative Committee on Public Lands

The need for pinyon juniper restoration as summarized during the 2011 Restoring the West: Sustaining Forests, Woodlands, and Communities Through Biomass Use, presented by Jeremy Drew.

The connection between climate change, genetic variability and Great Basin woodlands and long-term biomass production during the 2011 Restoring the West: Sustaining Forests, Woodlands, and Communities Through Biomass Use, presented by Robin Tausch.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released the Pinyon and Juniper Field Guide by Robin Tausch in 2009 to provide an outline on making decisions regarding woodland management.

  • The Intermountain Society of American Foresters’ policy statement on the management of pinyon-juniper “woodland” ecosystems shares their support of management activities that encourage “healthy ecological conditions.”
    IM Society of American Foresters on PJ Management
  • The Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) supports the NPJP and its goals, as seen in this resolution of support from 2010.
    NACO Resolution on PJ Woodlands

The Pinyon Juniper Summit in 2010 focused on discussing the resources necessary to accomplish the demonstration project across Nevada. The goal of this demonstration project is to identify, deploy, and document best practices that result in restoration, on a landscape scale, to achieve the positive outcomes listed above in combination with responsible commercial utilization. The summit brought all parties together to discuss the best practices for restoration, on a landscape scale, to achieve the positive outcomes in combination with responsible commercial utilization.

2010 PJ Partnership White Paper

  • Nevada Pinyon-Juniper Partnership Proposed Demonstration Area
    • This presentation from the 2010 Pinyon Juniper Summit provides a detailed review of the process for determining a pinyon juniper demonstration site. This presentation comes from Jeremy Drew, project manager at Resource Concepts, Inc.
    • Jeremy Drew 2010 Presentation
  • Potential Barriers & Solutions to P-J Biomass Utilization
    • The 2010 Pinyon Juniper Summit also included a presentation on the potential barriers & solutions to pinyon juniper biomass utilization. This presentation comes from Bill Carlson, principal at Carlson Small Power Consultants.
    • Potential Barriers- Solutions to PJ Biomass Utilization
  • Making P-J Biomass Utilization Pencil: Tools & Incentives
    • This presentation from the 2010 Pinyon Juniper Summit provides an in-depth look at the tools and incentives that would help encourage the management of PJ woodlands. This presentation comes from Bill Carlson, principal at Carlson Small Power Consultants.
    • Making PJ Biomass Utilization Pencil

This paper clearly identifies multiple characteristics of pinyon-juniper. This includes the anatomical properties, moisture content and shrinkage, weight and specific gravity, mechanical properties, and the processing potential of the trees. Additionally, current pinyon-juniper wood products are listed and the challenges facing its utilization are discussed.

Identifying Markets for Pinyon Pine in the Four Corners Region

Restoration Projects

The Nevada PJ Partnership has proposed approximately 105,000 acres to be treated with pinyon-juniper removal from 2010 to 2020. This treatment will, has and is improving ecosystems across the state.

Humboldt-Toiyabe Proposal

The Ely District BLM conducted vegetation restoration on approximately 1,500 acres within the Lake Valley Watershed to improve habitat for the Greater Sage-grouse by reducing conifer expansion within the Southern Great Basin PAC, expand Preliminary General Habitats into adjacent transitional habitat, and restoring and enhancing sagebrush ecological communities.

Atlanta Road Sage Grouse Heritage Project Proposal

From the Cave Valley and Lake Valley Watershed Restoration Plan EA:

“The purpose and need for the proposal is to achieve the following objectives:

  • Move the landscape within the Cave Valley and Lake Valley Watersheds toward FRCC with a mosaic of seral stages attaining the potential cover percentages of grasses and forbs for the respective biophysical models.
  • Improve habitat for all wildlife, especially sage grouse and big game species.
  • Achieve better distribution for livestock and wildlife, and improve overall rangeland health.”

Cave Valley and Lake Valley Watershed Restoration Plan Environmental Assessment

This is the environmental assessment for the Desatoya Mountains Habitat Resiliency, Health, And Restoration Project, where pinyon-juniper removal was an emphasis in order to create better sage-grouse habitat.

Desatoya Mountains Final Environmental Assessment

This is being “implemented over a 10 to 15 year period to protect, maintain and restore ecologically diverse, properly functioning and resilient native plant communities.”

Pine Nut Land Health Project

The East Walker Landscape Habitat Improvement Project has treated approximately 27,600 acres for pinyon-juniper removal. In doing so, Greater Sage-grouse habitat has benefited from reducing conifer expansion within the area, as well as restoring and enhancing sagebrush ecological communities in general.

East Walker Landscape Habitat Improvement Project

Biomass Utilization

This feasibility study was conducted in 2011 and “explores the feasibility of developing a sustainable, Pinyon-Juniper (P-J) fueled power plant at two prospective sites (Prince and Pony Springs Substations) in Lincoln County, Nevada.” The study was conducted in Lincoln County, Nevada and A-Power Energy Generation Systems, Ltd.

Lincoln County NV biomass feasibility study

This is a study from Future Resources Associates, Inc. in 1993 for the Western Regional Biomass Energy Program It offers a glimpse into the progress and processes of analyzing the production and its costs, available resources, potential markets and the commercial feasibility of Eastern Nevada pinyon-juniper biomass.

Commercial Feasibility Analysis for Fuels from Pinyon-Juniper Biomass

This analysis was developed for the Council of Western State Foresters’ Forest Utilization Network. Biochar is a growing industry that wholly depends on biomass, hence its relevancy to pinyon-juniper treatment. The analysis provides an accurate overview of what the market, technology, and research is like for biochar.

2018 Biochar Market Analysis

These surveys were completed to gauge what questions and concerns biochar producers and users have on the industry. This analysis provides the most common answers and the trends observed in the responses. By carrying out this survey, the biochar industry can evaluate where more education or information is needed for stakeholders.

Survey and Analysis of the US Biochar Industry Preliminary Report Draft

This report delves into the available data on the current pinyon-juniper feedstocks throughout Nevada. Then, using that data and newly collected information, the team predicted the dry total biomass for the interior west region. Throughout this research, it was determined where the most available biomass resources occur in the state. These biomass estimates help dictate where pinyon-juniper treatments and biomass utilization would be most realistic.

Developing Thermal Conversion options for Biorefinery Residues

This report investigates the affects of biochar application to plant growth, soil properties and environmental contaminants. This type of research is innovative and in the forefront of the biomass utilization industry. These findings are essential to the future of biochar application and will have serious impacts on the industry moving forward.

Pinyon Pine and Juniper Biochar Application to Four Eastern Nevada Soils

This fact sheet summarizes the results of the Amaron Energy rotary reactor pyrolysis demonstration, in addition to the potential for biochar application, biogas, and bio-oil in Nevada. The current applications are discussed, as well as the potential for more activities across the state. It is worthwhile to note that this research was done largely on a small scale but will likely have landscape scale implications in the future.

Summary of a Biochar Demonstration and Its Potential Application in Nevada

Biochar Fact Sheets

Useful Links

Bureau of Land Management

  • The Bureau of Land Management has been instrumental in the appropriate management of Nevada’s pinyon-juniper woodlands. The partnership appreciates their support and hard work to change the way we manage PJ landscapes.

The Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition

  • The Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition “is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to restoring the dynamic, diverse, resilient landscapes of the arid and semi-arid West for present and future generations through education, research, advocacy, partnerships, and the implementation of on-the-ground projects.” The PJ Partnership appreciates their ongoing support, research and advocacy on behalf of Nevada landscapes.

Eureka County and Lincoln County

  • Eureka and Lincoln County have been highly instrumental in the PJ Partnership’s projects. The partnership appreciates their ongoing advocacy for appropriate management on PJ woodlands and hard work in supporting those management efforts.

Lincoln County Nevada Regional Development Authority

  • The Lincoln County Nevada Regional Development Authority has been a valuable partner for the PJ Partnership in pinyon-juniper education and research. Their work in communicating with the public about pinyon-juniper woodlands has helped increase awareness regarding the need for appropriate management.

Great Basin Institute’s Ecological Restoration

  • The Great Basin Institute’s Ecological Restoration projects have encouraged the appropriate management of pinyon juniper woodlands across southern and central Nevada. The partnership appreciates their support and hard work on PJ woodlands.

Nevada Department of Wildlife

  • The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) has been supportive of the Partnership and its efforts to manage pinyon-juniper woodlands, particularly in regard to sage-grouse habitat. The Partnership appreciates their ongoing support and dedication to Nevada landscapes.

Nevada Division of Forestry

  • The Nevada Division of Forestry is an essential partner in pinyon-juniper management across the state. Their efforts in multiple projects have been crucial to the appropriate management of PJ woodlands, and the Partnership appreciates their hard work and support.

United States Forest Service

  • The United States Forest Service has been very supportive of PJ management across Nevada. The Partnership appreciates their hard work and support of the ongoing, appropriate management of pinyon-juniper woodlands.

United States Forest Service: Wood Innovations

  • On this page, the United States Forest Service lists multiple innovations that are currently in process using wood resources. These innovations have significant implications for on-going pinyon-juniper treatment and in the future.

USDA Rural Development

  • The Partnership appreciates the support of USDA Rural Development for the continued pinyon-juniper management in Nevada. Their ongoing advocacy for appropriate management on PJ woodlands and hard work in supporting those management efforts has helped the Partnership move forward on multiple projects.