Members of a newly formed five-member Sagebrush Ecosystem Team, an interagency multidisciplinary entity, have been appointed in Nevada.
The team is part of the state's overall strategy to preclude listing of the Greater Sage grouse and focus on the health and vibrancy of this important ecosystem.
The team will focus full-time on this effort to bring to bear the staff expertise of the agencies that they represent.
The team was formally introduced to the Sagebrush Ecosystem Council on Feb. 21.
Here is the makeup of the team:
Lara Niell: Nevada Department of Wildlife staff specialist. With experience in wildlife and environmental issues in the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada, she has a strong background with the National Environmental Policy Act.
John Copeland: A Forester III-rated Nevada Division of Forestry agent, he is a Resource Management Officer with 19 years of experience in the NDF. He has designed and managed fuels projects, fuel breaks and fire rehabilitation efforts. His work includes outreach to public outreach and multi-stakeholder project coordination, as well as supervision of crews performing conservation projects and fighting wildland fires.
Mellissa Faigles: Nevada Division of State Land Environmental Scientist III and Watershed Restoration Specialist serving as Environmental Manager for the Reno-Sparks Indian colony, where she administers permits and oversees the NEPA process for projects on tribal lands, as well as monitors, inventories and prepares plans to manage tribal natural resources in the sagebrush steppe.
Kelly McGowan: Nevada Department of Agriculture Conservation Staff Specialist II, currently working as an environmental scientist for the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection in its Safe Drinking Water Bureau. He works with drinking water operators throughout the state and reviews and approves operator certification, as well as conducts meetings of the Nevada Drinking and Wastewater Operators Forum.
Tim Rubald: State Conservation Districts Program manager and staffer on the State Conservation Commission. He assists conservation districts and district officials. He has led collaborative efforts to strengthen the Conservation Districts Program in Nevada.
He will serve as leader of the Sagebrush Ecosystem Program.