The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) generated $1,788,595 at its quarterly oil and gas competitive lease sale in Reno on March 13, selling 42 parcels that comprised 72,144.09 acres. Half of the bid and rental receipts go to the state of Nevada.
The sale high bid of $217,160 for a 2,440-acre parcel at $89 per acre was made by Lonewolf Exploration and Production Co., for a parcel in Elko County.
The BLM offered 42 parcels in the BLM Elko and Ely districts. The initial sale list included 75 parcels totaling 133,095 acres. The sale list was amended on March 6 with the deferral of 33 parcels because they are within greater sage-grouse priority habitat. The Nevada Department of Wildlife’s categorization map of sage-grouse habitat became available on March 6 and the BLM Nevada and U.S. Forest Service Greater Sage-grouse Preliminary Habitat Map became available on March 9. The habitat maps are available on the BLM website www.blm.gov/nv.
Amy Lueders, BLM Nevada State Director says the maps are providing a tool agency needs to make the appropriate decisions to protect habitat for the greater sage-grouse.
“The BLM will do our part to avoid a listing of the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act,” said Lueders. “Deferring parcels from oil and gas lease sales is just one step we are taking as we look closely at the many activities that can affect habitat important to sage-grouse.”
The potential impacts from oil and gas leasing could be from locating drill pads, roads and other infrastructure close to important areas for sage-grouse such as active leks or brood rearing areas.
The BLM Nevada also posted the preliminary parcel list for the June 12 competitive oil and gas lease sale. Fifty-nine parcels totaling nearly 99,089 acres in the BLM Battle Mountain and Ely districts are listed for sale. Of the parcels nominated for the sale, 39 were entirely deferred and 35 were partially deferred from the sale because of overlap with greater sage-grouse priority habitat.
“The BLM’s decision to proactively avoid impacts from development in priority habitat is an important step in sage-grouse conservation,” said Ted Koch, State Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office.
The BLM Nevada offers quarterly oil and gas sales. Parcels to include in a sale are nominated by industry representatives well in advance of a sale. The BLM reviews each parcel location for any resource conflicts, which can result in stipulations placed on the parcel, deferral of a parcel, or partial deferral of a parcel. Deferrals because of conflict with greater sage-grouse priority habitat have increased since sage-grouse habitat maps became available in March.
The lease is for a period of 10 years with annual rentals of $1.50 per acre for the first five years and $2 an acre after that until production begins. Once a lease is producing, a royalty of 12.5 percent is charged.
A complete summary of the parcels offered in the March sale and the winning bids, as well as the preliminary June sale list, are available online at: www.blm.gov/nv and at the Information Access Center at the BLM Nevada State Office at 1340 Financial Blvd., in Reno. The website also provides a Geographic Information System shapefile of the parcels.