Federal FacilitiesFurther Review of Hawthorne Army Depot Land Management Proposals Needed Gao ID: NSIAD/RCED-00-251 September 21, 2000
The Bureau of Land Management and the Hawthorne Army Depot (Nevada) have not reached agreement on the Bureau's proposal to terminate Army control and exclusive use of a large portion of the lands at Hawthorne, including the Mount Grant watershed. Army and local community officials questioned terminating the withdrawal without having a specific management plan in place. Differing approaches have been proposed: (1) the Army could continue to limit public access to the watershed; (2) the Bureau could manage the land and open portions of the watershed to multiple use (public access, livestock grazing, mineral mining), with restrictions to protect the Depot's water supply; (3) joint cooperative agreements could be reached. GAO recommends that the Army and the Bureau review the advantages and disadvantages of using a cooperative agreement approach and determine whether such an approach would be useful.
GAO noted that: (1) the BLM's Carson City field office and the Hawthorne Army Depot have not reached agreement on the BLM's proposal to terminate Army control and exclusive use of a large portion of the lands at Hawthorne, including the Mount Grant watershed; (2) the BLM's field office has requested about $175,000 to prepare a detailed plan for managing the watershed for multiple uses such as recreation, mining, and livestock grazing; (3) BLM officials in Nevada have agreed to develop the plan because local community and depot officials questioned terminating the withdrawal without having a specific management plan in place; (4) the BLM's headquarters office has funded a general plan for a large area of Nevada for fiscal year 2001, but the general plan will not contain detail on the management of Mount Grant; (5) the BLM's State Director in Nevada told GAO they could develop a detailed plan in 2001 if fully funded; (6) BLM officials in Nevada also say they will not proceed with terminating the withdrawn lands until they develop the plan and attempt to obtain the depot's concurrence; (7) differing approaches have been proposed for managing lands involving the Mount Grant watershed; (8) one approach would be for the Army to continue to limit public access to the watershed; (9) a second approach would have the BLM manage the land and open portions of the watershed to multiple uses, with some restrictions to protect the depot's water supply; (10) specifically, this approach would allow public access, livestock grazing, and mineral mining on the mountain and would consider placing additional natural resource protections on some of the land; (11) other approaches could involve joint cooperative agreements; (12) the Departments of Defense, Interior, and Agriculture have developed a draft guide that discusses joint land management between the military services and land management agencies; and (13) where the military has used joint agreements with the BLM at other locations, GAO's work has shown both advantages and disadvantages to this approach.Recommendations
Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.Director: Team: Phone: