Home > News > Environment > BLM seeking public input on American Flat

BLM seeking public input on American Flat

By ThisIsReno

CARSON CITY — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Carson City District-Sierra Front Field Office is seeking public input through provisions in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act on a proposal to reduce site safety hazards at the United Comstock Merger Mill at American Flat (AFM) in Storey

County, Nevada.  The BLM requests public input on the identification of historic properties and comments on potential effects analyzed in the environmental assessment to the AFM complex relative to regulation 36 CFR Part 800.2(d) and 800.3(e).

A public meeting is scheduled for June 6, 2011 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the BLM-Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road in Carson City. Additionally, the BLM will be providing section 106 project updates in public meetings to the Storey County Commissioners at 2 p.m. on June 7, 2011 and to the Comstock Historic District Commission at 7 p.m. on June 13, 2011.

Comments will be accepted through June 17, 2011, and should be addressed to Colleen Sievers, Project Manager, BLM-Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, NV  89701, or e-mailed to [email protected].  After the Section 106 process is completed, the BLM will issue a Decision Record for the project, which would initiate a 30-day public appeal period.

BLM prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA), entitled Environmental
Assessment – United Comstock Merger Mill at American Flat
(DOI-BLM-NV-C020-2010-0017-EA), to analyze a variety of alternatives to
mitigate safety and historical resources concerns on the mill site.  The EA
and related documents are available on the webpage at:
http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field/blm_information/nepa/comstock_merger_mill.html

The AFM site is located on public lands within the Virginia City Landmark
District near Gold Hill, Nevada.  The mill was built in 1922 to process
local gold and silver ore utilizing cyanide vat leaching in what was then
described as the largest concrete mill in the United States.  This historic
property is significant because of its association with the Comstock Mining
District.  Since abandonment in 1924, this seven-acre mill site has been
used as a place to hold parties, post graffiti, and conduct paintball wars
despite physical safety hazards from falling concrete, underground mill
sumps filled with water, and holes in the concrete flooring.

A 2008 audit of the site by the Department of Interior, Office of the
Inspector General (OIG), found the AFM to be a high risk liability to the
U.S. Government.  The BLM’s proposed management actions at AFM will promote
public health and safety on public land and comply with the direction of
the Office of the Inspector General that BLM “identify and resolve
trespassing on abandoned mine sites and assess and mitigate hazards
associated with these sites” (DOI 2008). The need of the action is to
mitigate or abate the physical human safety hazards present on the AFM
site, while addressing historic resources.

For more information, please contact Colleen Sievers at 775-885-6000.