S. 609

Ruby Mountains Protection Act 

Statement for the Record

U.S. Department of the Interior

Senate Energy and Natural Resources

Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining

Legislative Hearing

June 16, 2021

The Department of the Interior (Department), through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, appreciates the opportunity to submit this statement for the record on S. 609, Ruby Mountains Protection Act.

S. 609, Ruby Mountains Protection Act

Section 3 of S. 609 would withdraw approximately 40,000 acres of the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge (refuge) in northeast Nevada from all forms of operation under the mineral leasing laws, subject to valid existing rights and with exception for noncommercial refuge management activities by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge is a magnet for a wide diversity of wildlife and is strategically located along bird migration corridors serving both the Pacific and Central Flyways, which makes it one of the most important waterfowl nesting areas in the Great Basin and Intermountain West. The refuge is also key habitat for mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and sage grouse, while the fishery is popular with local anglers. The Department supports the provision and would welcome the opportunity to continue working with the sponsor and the Committee. The Department defers to the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding provisions affecting the management of lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

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