Quick Wits Cut Short the Appeal Ordeal
Despite Forest Service, Nye County Ranch
Wins Water Rights Recognition, Payment
by Steve Miller
copyright © 1997, Electric Nevada
|Most Nevada ranchers will tell you that appeals of U.S. Forest Service actions seem to take forever and even then still usually end in defeat.|
| But in one case early this year, the
alertness of an agent for a Nye County ranch paid off
exceptionally well -- not only with a relatively prompt
resolution of the question at issue, but also a $31,235
payment for the ranch.
The case started out more or less typically, in February of 1995, with an announcement by the Austin Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests that it was contemplating a land swap. Western States Minerals Corporation was offering the Forest Service three choice parcels of property elsewhere in the state in exchange for 3,425 acres surrounding the company's Northumberland Mine property in Nye County's Toquima Mountain range.
Austin District Ranger Dayle Flanigan, in a February 13 letter to interested parties, announced his agency was looking favorably on the exchange because "the lands to be acquired by the Forest Service are lands of greater value."
One of those interested parties notified was the RO Ranch, which had vested stockwater rights on the Northumberland allotment. And in late July, after receiving the Forest Service's "Pre-Decisional
Notice and Proposed
Finding of No Significant Impact," water rights
specialist Carl V. Haas, representing the ranch, filed
with Flanigan an objection to the current form of the
pending land swap.
to support an argument
the Forest Service was making -- that even if the RO
Ranch had water rights on the Northumberland allotment,
those rights would have no market value.
RO Livestock to graze
livestock owned by the permittee upon the subject
lands... until December 31, 2005." The entire
29-page grazing permit, Haas noted, "is readily
available at the Austin Forest District Office, and can
be obtained by calling (702) 964-2671."
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