For Immediate Release
Center for Biological Diversity Challenge Prompts Bureau of Land Management to Reroute Nevada Off-road Race to Protect Imperiled
LAS VEGAS - In response to an administrative challenge by the Center for Biological Diversity, a federal agency has required the organizers of a 550-mile off-road race to change the race route to protect the imperiled Amargosa toad.
The Center's challenge raised concerns over the Bureau of Land Management's environmental analysis of the TSCO Vegas to Reno race, especially the damage racers would inflict on the toad's habitat. In February, the Center had petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the toad as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
"Off-road vehicles wreak havoc on fragile desert ecosystems and wildlife," said Rob Mrowka, a conservation advocate with the Center. "While changes to this year's race afford a short reprieve for the Amargosa toad, this doesn't solve the broader problem of off-road vehicles destroying Nevada's fragile deserts at an alarming rate."
The 12th annual Vegas-to-Reno race, billed as "the longest off-road race in the United States," was scheduled to begin today in Pahrump, a town in southern Nevada about 50 miles west of Las Vegas. The original course traversed mountains, desert playas, dry washes, springs, and wetlands that are home to the toad, which now ekes out a living only along a 10-mile stretch of the Amargosa River and interconnected spring systems in the Oasis Valley and adjacent desert uplands around Beatty, about 40 miles northwest of Pahrump.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
If you think a better world is possible, support our people-powered media model today
The corporate media puts the interests of the 1% ahead of all of us. That's wrong. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.
If you believe the survival of independent media is vital to a healthy democracy, please step forward with a donation to nonprofit Common Dreams today:
The main threat to the species, and the reason for its decline, is habitat destruction, degradation, and fragmentation due to urban, residential, and recreational uses - including unrestricted off-road vehicle use and high-speed racing events such as the Vegas to Reno race.
As a result of concerns raised by the Center, the Bureau of Land Management required race organizers to change the course to protect the toad. It is now 456 miles in length, and will begin in an area north of Beatty to avoid habitats critical to the toad's survival.
"Deserts heal slowly, and damage from one off-road vehicle can take decades or even centuries to recover," Mrowka said. "So we intend to continue to actively participate in planning and environmental analysis of future, similar races on Nevada's public lands."
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news outlet. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.
Please select a donation method: