Washoe County Public Lands Bill

This is a comprehensive federal lands bill being proposed for Washoe County, which also goes by Washoe County Economic Development and Conservation Act. The bill includes three distinct components:

  • The two draft maps of the greater Reno/Sparks area.
  • Names, acreages and maps of federal lands in the northern portion of Washoe County that will be proposed as new wilderness areas
  • The actual bill language that accompanies these maps.

Washoe County hosted two open house events for the public to learn more about the Public Lands Bill in the atrium of the Washoe County Administration Complex (1001 E. 9th St., Reno) on Friday, Sept. 16 and Monday, Sept. 19. There also was a Public Lands Open Forum at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center on Nov. 2. Staff is now planning for the next public meeting opportunities. We will update this webpage when those those meetings are scheduled.

Component No. 1 of Washoe County Public Lands Bill (Maps updated October 2016)

The two maps that that you see here are drafts. When something gets changed on the map and they are updated the date on the lower left corner will change. The maps are not self-explanatory so some background information is important.

disposal boundaryMap #1 - Federal Lands Disposal Boundary (Download map here). The red boundary line surrounding the greater Reno-Sparks area will function as a local government control boundary. When the draft legislation is successfully passed these lands would have the potential to leave federal control in the future to be used for conservation purposes, recreational activities, public infrastructure needs and when appropriate sold or exchanged for economic development purposes. The majority of federal lands inside of this boundary are tan colored Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands and the much smaller amount of the bright green colored United States Forest Service (USFS) land.

land transfer requests mapMap #2 - Land Transfer Requests (Download map here). The hatched (darker) areas seen on both BLM and USFS lands depict areas that a local jurisdiction such as Sparks, the County or public entities such as the Washoe County School District or the Truckee Meadows Water Authority have requested to be transferred from federal ownership to their ownership for a variety of public purposes. The scale of this map does not allow for each area to be labeled with the entity that is requesting it but there is a list in the bottom right hand corner of this map.

Component No. 2

Acreages and mapping of federal lands in northern Washoe County that are being proposed for Wilderness designation can be seen by going to the Friends of Nevada Wilderness website.

Component No. 3

The text of the draft federal lands bill is not available yet but will be placed on this site as soon as it is. Many of the same parameters found in federal lands bills from other Nevada counties will also be included in the Washoe County bill language.

  • The federal government shall coordinate land sales with the unit of local government in whose jurisdiction the lands are located and land sales shall be consistent with local government master planning and regulatory zoning requirements.
  • Before finalizing any sale of federal land the County shall require a certification that qualified bidders have signed a binding agreement to comply with any master plan for the area approved by the local government and local government zoning ordinances.
  • The sale of any federal lands within the federal lands disposal boundary shall be through a competitive bidding process and for not less than fair market value.
  • The exchange of any federal lands within the “boundary” will be for other lands that the BLM or USFS have included in a “management priority area” on a “value for value” exchange basis.
  • The disposition of the proceeds from the sale of federal lands will be specifically spelled out in the legislation. The majority of the proceeds being used by the federal government for Sage Grouse habitat conservation and restoration projects; projects to address drought in Washoe County; wildfire presuppression and restoration activities in the County; acquisition of environmentally sensitive land in the county; Lake Tahoe restoration projects, and reimbursement of costs to the federal agencies involved with implementing the lands bill.
  • Smaller amounts of the proceeds from the sale of federal lands are proposed to be divided among the State of Nevada and Washoe County for educational purposes and a separate amount going to the County for general budgeting purposes.
  • Details on the wilderness portion of the lands bill will include specifics on how these areas are to be managed by the BLM, including any existing uses that are still allowed and the release of “Wilderness Study Areas” that have not been designated as wilderness.

Resolutions from local entities