The Nevada Land Conservancy nominated the Toll Road Canyon Property for federal acquisition in 2007 during Round 9 of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) Environmentally Sensitive Land Acquisition Process. The purpose for the nomination was federal protection of the property’s cultural, vegetative, wildlife, and scenic resources. As part of the Round 9 review process, there was a 45-day public comment period between April 18 and June 2, 2008. After successful completion of the screening and evaluation process involving the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, the nomination was approved for acquisition funding by the Secretary of the Interior on August 16, 2008 (BL56, Priority 9-1).
The project area is located in the foothills of the Virginia Range between Reno and Virginia City, Nevada, within Washoe County and is approximately five miles northwest of Virginia City. Approximately 230.46 acres of the 502.12-acre Bain Springs Ranch have been proposed for acquisition by the United States under the authority of Section 205 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), and pursuant to the SNPLMA. The legal description of the property is in Section 2.1 and the property is shown on the map in Figure 1. The subject property abuts public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the north, west, and south. If acquired, the land would be administered by the BLM, Sierra Front Field Office (SFFO), Carson City District, located in Carson City, Nevada.
Acquisition and management by the United States would extend federal protection to the subject property’s cultural, vegetative, wildlife, and scenic resources. The property includes a portion of the Old Geiger Grade between the Truckee Meadows and Virginia City, constructed in 1862 and utilized as the most direct connection between the Comstock Lode and the Truckee Meadows until it was replaced in 1936 by the present highway (State Route 341). The property contains habitat for four Nevada sensitive plant species as identified by Nevada Natural Heritage and for various game and non-game wildlife species. Washoe County has identified the area in which the property in located as a high value area for viewshed and scenic values. Acquisition would preclude the property from being developed. The subject property has been subdivided into a large-lot subdivision, and private lands to the east and west of the subject property have been subdivided and developed for residential purposes.
The purpose for the action is to analyze an approved acquisition nomination of 230.46+/- acres to implement BLM and Washoe County planning objectives for open space and natural resource protection, including cultural, vegetative, wildlife, and scenic resources.
The need for the action is to respond to and process the approved nomination in accordance with the FLPMA and the SNPLMA, and in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA).