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Novel deal protects habitat, mining jobs near Lovelock

The Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced that Coeur Rochester, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Coeur Mining, Inc., and Crawford Cattle, LLC have entered into a first-of-its-kind agreement to protect critical sagebrush habitat in Nevada while ensuring continued environmentally sensitive and sustainable mining practices.

Under Nevada’s sagebrush ecosystem conservation program, the Conservation Credit System, Coeur Rochester will provide full funding to preserve and enhance more than 3,000 acres of vital greater sage-grouse habitat in Elko and Humboldt counties. This is the first project agreement established between a mine operator and a private landowner to secure conservation credits under Nevada’s CCS to protect sage-grouse habitat and overseen by the stakeholder-driven Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem Council.

The habitat conservation project is designed to mitigate and offset environmental impacts related to Coeur Rochester’s mining activities near Lovelock while achieving net conservation gains for sagebrush species. ​The project includes monitoring and maintaining existing sagebrush ecosystems, enhancing brood-rearing and nesting habitats and other important conservation work for the next 30 years. The project will support healthy habitats for other native wildlife species, including the Lahontan cutthroat trout, mule deer and more.

“This landmark agreement between Coeur Rochester and Crawford Ranch underscores how environmental stewardship and a thriving economy go hand-in-hand,” said Bradley Crowell, director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Because of the vastness and critical importance of Nevada’s sagebrush ecosystem, the partnership and collaboration of landowners and industry are key to protecting the environment while allowing for multiple use.

“I applaud the commitment of Crawford Ranch and Coeur Rochester on this excellent achievement that perfectly exemplifies how landowners and mining can be partners in protecting this valuable ecosystem.”

“We applaud the great work of Governor Sisolak, the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Bureau of Land Management, Crawford Ranch and our employees to preserve greater sage-grouse and wildlife habitats in Nevada,” said Mitchell J. Krebs, Coeur Mining’s president and CEO. “Extension of the mine life at Rochester allows us to proudly employ Nevadans for years to come while continuing to care for Nevada’s lands and environment.”

“We are grateful for the tremendous efforts of all our project partners: Coeur Rochester, the Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem Council, the Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem Program and Robert Veldman with KCOE Conservation,” said Shane Hall, Crawford Ranch operations manager. “In our family-owned and operated ranch, our vision is to blend traditional values with progressive teamwork and reliable habitat stewardship.

“Crawford Ranch focuses on balanced land management and responsible grazing in providing food for our country. We are grateful that this project has been a part of reaching toward that vision.”

Sage grouse are chicken-sized, ground-dwelling birds considered an “indicator species” for the health of sagebrush ecosystems in the West, which support more than 350 species of wildlife. The CCS, as part of Nevada’s overall sagebrush ecosystem plan, is a Nevada-specific approach that allows the state to manage its wildlife species through private and public arrangements to protect and enhance habitats.

It is a performance-driven and market-based mechanism that provides regulatory certainty for both mining and landowners without prohibitive regulations. The CCS is a program that provides incentives for private landowners to carry out sage-grouse habitat improvements through the award of “conservation credits” that are quantified based on the ecological value of the habitat improvements.

Those conservation credits can be sold to industry to offset habitat impacts and ensure a net conservation gain. The partnership between landowners and industry is vital to protecting critical habitat while providing for multiple uses in the sagebrush ecosystem.

Learn more at sagebrusheco.nv.gov

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