Sunday, October 24, 2021

Wildlife protection bill signed into law

State and local governments will more closely gauge the impact of development on wildlife

On June, 4, 2021, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed Assembly Bill 211 into law.

The new law requires land developers to provide plans to the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) for review, before project approval. Development proposals would have to include plans to mitigate impacts on wildlife and wildlife habitats.

“Nevada’s vast open spaces make it a great place for both people and wildlife to call home. However, encroaching development can threaten wildlife or cause irreversible damage by consuming and fragmenting their habitat, cutting off important migration corridors, or impacting the quality of the air or water,” said Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, primary sponsor of the legislation. “Today, I am proud to see our Nevada Legislature pass my legislation to minimize and mitigate those impacts and make further progress in protecting the wildlife and open spaces that make our state so special.”

Certain properties are exempted from NDOW scrutiny. No plan must be submitted if the governing body has adopted a habitat conservation plan for multiple species that includes a determination of the impact to wildlife and wildlife habitat and the habitat conservation plan was approved by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; or, the subdivision is infill development which is proposed on a vacant or substantially vacant tract of land that is surrounded by land that is already developed.

“Nevada is proud to be one of the most biodiverse states in the country,” said Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg. “While new developments push into previously undeveloped land, we must do all we can to protect our wildlife and habitat. By passing AB 211, we can give local planning authorities the critical information they need to make decisions to avoid or mitigate impacts to wildlife and their habitat. We are grateful to Assemblywoman Jauregui for championing this legislation so we can continue to protect Nevada’s people, land, air, water, and wildlife.” 

At the local level, existing state law requires a governing body or planning commission to consider certain factors before taking final action on a tentative project plan. AB211 additionally requires the governing body or planning commission to consider the potential impact to wildlife and wildlife habitat before taking final action on a development plan.


Photo credit: Asio flammeus or the Short-eared owl, a species of conservation priority under the Nevada Wildlife Action Plan – CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Bob Tregilus Photography