RENO – To help restore the vitality of the Great Basin’s sagebrush rangelands, two mining companies with Nevada operations committed to providing financial support.
Lithium Nevada Corp. has made a gift of $31,500 in support of establishing the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources’ Great Basin Sagebrush Restoration project.
Kinross Bald Mountain also agreed to donate $75,000, to be paid over the next three years in $25,000 increments, in support of the project.
Home to many iconic species found in the West, the sagebrush ecosystems in the United States have contracted to about 56 percent of their historical range due to land degradation, especially from wildfire and invasive species propagation.
In response, Lithium Nevada Corp. established the Great Basin Sagebrush Restoration Fund in 2017 to support the work of CABNR professor Tamzen Stringham. Holder of the Donna Anderson Professorship in Grazing and Rangelands Management, Stringham and a team of university researchers with diverse backgrounds in plant community and landscape ecology, bioengineering, remote sensing and soil ecology are engineering efficient, technology-driven solutions to the rehabilitation of disturbed sagebrush rangelands. In restoring the vitality of sagebrush rangelands, Stringham’s research is essential to the preservation of the many animal species, like the sage grouse, that the sagebrush rangelands support.
“The very real problems of changing climate, increasing fire frequency and fire size, invasive weed expansion and dismal restoration success following disturbances has led the research community to look beyond traditional funding sources in order to provide long-term, innovative and multi-disciplinary approaches to finding solutions to these difficult problems,” Stringham says. “Philanthropic support from our community partners is a statement of their commitment to engaging in the need to provide long-term, stable funding for research into the very difficult issues surrounding rangeland restoration within the Great Basin environment.”
Founded in 2009, Lithium Nevada Corp. (formerly known as Western Lithium USA Corp.) is Reno-based company developing a lithium-bearing claystone resource in Humboldt County, northern Nevada. The resource is the largest discovered in North America, and will likely be a significant source of lithium for batteries used in the rapidly-growing electric vehicle and energy storage markets.
“We are really excited about the Great Basin Sagebrush Restoration Fund and the projects it will support,” mentions Dr. David Deak, president of Lithium Nevada Corp. “Our team’s philosophy is very much driven by the mission of being responsible, and ‘doing the right thing’ for people and the environment.”
Philanthropic support of the Great Basin Sagebrush Restoration Fund will help Stringham’s team advance its goals by funding predictive rehabilitation modelling and advanced habitat mapping and monitoring using remote sensing technology. In collaboration with Brigham Young University, the fund will support seed coating technologies to enhance germination, emergence and establishment of new sagebrush plants.
“Bald Mountain is committed to making positive and lasting contributions to surrounding communities and the environment,” said Alissa Wood, corporate social responsibility specialist, Bald Mountain. “Partnering with programs like the Sage Grouse Restoration Fund is an ideal opportunity to do just that. We are happy to support the long-term efforts of such a valuable initiative, and are looking forward to the positive results that this donation will render.”
Kinross Gold purchased the Bald Mountain mine in 2016. Situated along the southern extension of the prolific Carlin trend, Bald Mountain is the largest mine site by area in the United States. This gift is part of Kinross’ effort to engage in responsible mining in its projects, which spread across six countries, from the United States to Ghana, and employ 9,300 people.