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11 million acres of pine nuts!

Goods From The Woods
14125 Hwy C.
Licking Mo.
ELY Resource Management EIS Scoping Documents
 Gene Drais                                  
Project Manager
Elko District Fire Officer,  
Dear Mr. Drais :

    I work with pinyon pine nuts harvested in Nevada, speciesp.monophylla, primarily for BLM lands.  My company, Goods FromThe Woods, has written many, many letters to the Ely district,  aboutthe failure to manage the pinyon resource for pine nut production.  Those letters have never been addressed. I believe this amountsto gross negligence. However, a new  opportunity exists with the ResourceManagement Plan.  I would like to start with  reviewing BLM’s responsibilities.    

          Pursuant to theFederal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), 43 U.S.C. secs. 1701-1784,the Ely BLM must manage its lands under principles of multiple use and sustainedyield in accordance with land use plans developed by the agency. 43 U.S.C.secs. 1701(a)(7), 1732(a). BLM has failed to inventory all of its lands anddevelop land use plans, that among other things: reflect the principles ofmultiple use and sustained yield; take a multidisciplinary approach involvingphysical, biological, economical, and other sciences; consider present andfuture uses; 43 U.S.C. sec. 1712(c).  
    These responsibilities have not been met.  It isa good time, to reexamine the factors leading to that  mismanagement.     First, the BLM must become aware of the commercial value of the pine nut, both domestically, and on a global scale.  In,the year 2000, the United States imported, 4,198,792.4 kg of  shelledpine nuts with a tariff value of  $17,066,000.00.   I am including some tables, which graphically illustrate the global pinenut market.  
            Prior to World War II, our American Public  lands produced up to 8 millionpounds of pine nuts per year in high cycle years.  There is no reasonwhy this industry can not be revitalized.  This valuable commodity hasbeen ignored by land managers and as a result, the American citizens arelosing huge sums of potential revenues from a  sustainable resource.
       As stated, the root of the  problemis a failure to adequately value the resource.  It has  been squanderedas the result of little to no monitoring of harvests.   A matureacre of pinyon will produce about 200 lbs per acre.  The figure hasbeen verified by people who harvest pine nuts.   Yet, most harvestareas are sold for the minium bid of 4000 lbs, at .25 lb. or, $1,000 perarea.   Harvesters are then  to report harvests amounts inexcess of those bids. The result of  this self reporting is a hideouslylow estimate of pine nuts yielded.  It becomes a vicious cycle: no monitoringbecause the yields are so low,  low reported yields as the result oflack of monitoring.       I know no other resourcemismanaged in such a fashion.   Each  acre of mature, pinyontrees with  pine nuts is worth $50.00, using the current fee of .25per pound X 200 lbs. Hypothetically, 100,000 acres of mature pinyon properly managed for pine nut production would produce 20,000,000 lbs every 5 years,with a value of  $5,000.000.  There are over 4 million acres of pinyon in the Ely District.  This target figure could be obtained overthe course of a few years, if the resource were properly managed, and themature trees are not destroyed by fuels reductions projects.

There are many statements in BLM planningdocuments, which indicate the lack of basic understanding of the life cycleand nut production cycles in the pinyon trees.  The scientific informationis readily available. Indeed, many of my letters have addressed errors infailing to consider such research and included the citations for the research.I will gladly provide copies of any of my research.  Likewise, I amfamiliar with experts on a global scale, who could advice the BLM in thedevelopment of  a sustainable management plan.  The Koreans, theChinese and the Italians have all developed methods of working with the cyclicalnature of pine species for nut production.  Our country has not. Theinformation is available, and I have contact by a number or foreign interests about the possibilities.  
    I would like to give one small example of the lack ofknowledge and the resultant mismanagement. The Ely Natural Managed Fire planstates pine nut production is  a matter of climate, and thus, are outsidethe scope of the  plan.   In response to a letter writtenby an environmental group,  Mr. Kolkman stated that rain was the primaryfactor in pine nut product . This is incorrect. The size and quality of apine nut is related to moisture content, however, the trees produce nutson a 5-7 year cycle, all over the globe.  This is well documented. It is a fine example of how much education needs to be done within the ElyBLM. I would highly suggest, that a forester is needed to assist with managementdecisions, for this non-timber forest product.  Additionally, I wishto provide new information, which must be considered in the course of yourplanning. In particular, of the changing conditions in the Southwestern UnitedStates of pinyon forests. Because the Nevada pinyon ranges area  subpartof a  larger ecosystems, it is important to examine and plan, basedupon larger regional conditions and circumstances.
    There has been no harvest of species p.edulis pine nutsfor the last three years. The Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado wild lifespecies are in crises as a result of drought which has destroyed their foodchain. The primary reason for the edulis crash is the drought, which is especiallybad in the edulis forests. The lack of water has made the trees susceptibleto insect infestation, which is destroying huge tracts of forest.  Thisall the more reason to manage p.monophylla with greater care.  We need a problematic assessment, to take the regions issues into consideration.
    Finally, many of the hazardous fuels projects, I havereviewed contained erroneous information, and need to be updated to includethe pine nut within their scope, and the fire resistant properties of considerin planning, and better documentation of the role of  grasses and range“improvements” as causes of catastrophic fire.
      I think you for your time, and look forward toactive participation in this EIS.


Penny Frazier   

History of  Pinon Penny and BLM

Home Page
A few otherunanswered letters:

     Leter re:  ElkoNevad Fire Plan
      CHEATGRASSand FIRE MYTHS and the some real stories

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