Saturday, 30 March 2013 16:25

Nevada Wildlife Director Resigns

Reprinted from the Las Vegas Sun -

By:  Sandra Chereb

The director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife resigned abruptly Wednesday at the request of Gov. Brian Sandoval following months of pressure from representatives in rural Nevada over deer management and agency efforts to stave off federal protection for sage grouse.

In an email letter to staff obtained by the Associated Press, Ken Mayer said the decision to take the agency in another direction is the governor's prerogative.

His resignation is effective Feb. 12.

"We all reach times in our careers where change in inevitable," Mayer wrote. "That time came for me this week when Gov. Sandoval's office asked me to resign as the director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife."

Mary-Sarah Kinner, in a statement to the AP, said, "The governor thanks Ken Mayer for his service to Nevada and wishes him well."

She said Sandoval anticipates "naming a successor in the near future."

Former Nevada Assemblyman John Carpenter, an Elko Republican, said he and others lobbied the governor for Mayer's ouster.

"I've had problems with Ken Mayer for a long time," Carpenter told the AP in a telephone interview. "I've been talking and corresponding with the governor for a long time about this."

Mayer's departure comes two years after his reinstatement to job after he was fired by former Gov. Jim Gibbons in November 2010 as Gibbons was leaving office.

Mayer, a wildlife biologist with more than 20 years' experience in Nevada and California, then went to work briefly for the Legislative Counsel Bureau and was rehired by Sandoval after he moved into the governor's office in 2011.

Mayer's battles with Gibbons involved Mayer's disputes with the Nevada Wildlife Commission, a nine-member policy-making board of governor appointees. The commission under Gibbons was often at odds with Mayer, and emphasized predator control and the killing of coyotes and mountain lions as key to restoring Nevada's deer herds.

Carpenter said those same conflicts persist. He also accused Mayer of being "in cahoots" with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over protecting sage grouse. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is under court mandate to determine by 2015 if the chicken-sized bird deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act. Western states fear a listing would devastate rural lifestyles and put the brakes on ranching and energy development.

In a letter sent to Sandoval on Wednesday, Carpenter complained the wildlife agency was spending too much money on "questionable studies" rather than for "ground predator management."

"It is the position of Ken Mayer to turn Nevada into another California," Carpenter wrote in the letter obtained by the AP.

"The only way to get into a positive mode in regard to increasing the deer herd and keeping sage grouse off the endangered list is for the governor to relieve Ken Mayer of his position and choose someone who can work with all parties on a cooperative and positive note."

Biologists have said loss of habitat, much of it due to wildfire, is the main reason deer herds have been declining in the state and around the West.

The wildlife director is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the governor. A law passed by the 2011 Legislature removed a requirement that such appointments must come from recommendations put forth by the commission.

Mayer was first hired as head of the Nevada wildlife agency in 2007.

In his exit letter to staff, Mayer wrote, "Before I came here, the reputation of this department and its workforce was widely known throughout the wildlife world as a top notch organization. Over the six years I have been director we have added to that great reputation.

"As I leave here, I have every faith and confidence that you will maintain that same level of commitment and integrity toward the management of wildlife in Nevada."

Mayer could not be reached for comment.



Read more: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/jan/30/sandovals-behest-nevada-wildlife-director-resigns/#ixzz2P4YXl3iq
Published in Syndicated Articles
Monday, 01 October 2012 19:29

Pissed off about no deer on your hunt?

Let Governor Sandoval know it’s time for some changes in the Nevada Department of Wildlife!

Write, don’t email:

Governor Brian Sandoval

State Capitol Building

101 N. Carson Street

Carson City, Nevada 89701

Published in Online Articles
Friday, 14 September 2012 15:23

Governor Needs to Change NDOW Leadership

Reprinted from the Elko Daily Free Press -

By:  Pat Laughlin -

Editor: I would like to clarify a few points in the Sept. 5 editorial, “Sandoval sage grouse not in danger of extinction.” No disrespect to the editorial board, but, the China Mountain Wind Project was signed off and approved by the BLM. The Nevada Department of Wildlife, led by Director Ken Mayer, was the agency that stopped the project in the last hour. County Commissioner Charlie Myers witnessed the entire process.

The last paragraph might be a little hard to swallow for the fact that the man Governor Sandoval reappointed to run NDOW is not only drinking the kool-aid, but, helping the federal government make the kool-aid. We need new leadership for NDOW that will stand up for Nevada and get off the federal gravy train. Leadership that will quit trying to hold every mining company or wind project hostage by using a bird that isn’t even listed yet.

Remember the Ruby Pipeline project ... El Paso Gas figured out quickly that in order to get a project approved, you must pad the pockets of those involved. El Paso Gas paid Nevada $8.8 million to help out on sage grouse issues, of which $3 million was to go directly to Elko County. NDOW and BLM jointly control the money and can use it as they see fit to assist sage grouse management.

Of that $3 million for Elko County, $250,000 was given to the BLM for fire suppression, $221,000 has been spent on habitat restoration, $90,000 on noxious weed treatment, $68,000 on sage grouse study and $8,000 on holistic training. So far, not one dollar is being spent on protecting sage grouse nest survival by eliminating predators.

Why is this money being spent to fight fires when the BLM has an open checkbook when it comes to fighting fires? $250,000 would have gone a long way in thinning out the raven population to help the sage grouse nest survival.

It is obvious that if we want to do what is in the best interest of Elko County, then Governor Sandoval needs to make a change in NDOW, starting at the top.

Pat Laughlin

NA4W President

Published in Online Articles

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