Nevada Public Lands Bills 2021

New Nevada Laws Natural Resources passed in 2021 Part 2

In their 2021 session, our lawmakers in Carson City passed Bills governing all areas of the law even during the pandemic they were focused on the issues facing our State.  Many of these laws focused on our public lands and natural resources here in Nevada. In fact, there were so many Bills passed in this area  that this topic will be two blogs, and this is part two of two. Our legislature was busy addressing many issues regarding wildlife and endangered species on our state.  From protecting trees to ancient burial grounds, from saving water to saving the public from wild animals, our legislature was hard at work tackling these issues. The following is one  of  two of a summary of the Bills regarding Natural Resources that were passed by our Nevada legislature during the 2021 session.

Natural resources (Part 2)

Assembly Bill 103: This bill changes the rules for digging on private land where a prehistoric Indian burial site is located.  Permits will be issued for digging as long as it is not  in areas of a property that contain a burial site.  Which, practically, who would want to dig up a gravesite.  However, for commercial business and utilities, it will take some research to determine if a known burial site exists on the property.  This bill provides, instead, that such a permit is not required to engage in a lawful activity on such private lands if: (1) the activity is exclusively for purposes other  than  the  excavation  of  a  prehistoric  Indian  burial  site;  and  (2)  the  activity occurs  only  on  a  portion  of  the  private  lands  that  does  not  contain  the  known prehistoric Indian burial site. Typical government verbiage is contained in this statue.  Practically, it is likely unknown where many of these sites are located.

Effective October 1, 2021.

Assembly Bill 171This bill protects Rocky Mountain junipers  also known as swamp cedars in the Bahsahwahbee Traditional Cultural Property in White Pine County. Effective July 1, 2021.  Section  1  of  this  bill  declares  that  it  is  the policy  of  this  State  to  protect  the  Spring  Valley  population  of  Rocky  Mountain junipers, known as “swamp cedars,” that occur in White Pine County within the Bahsahwahbee Traditional Cultural Property.  Sections 1 and 2 of this bill make it unlawful  for  any  swamp  cedar  within  that  property  to  willfully  or  negligently  be cut,  destroyed,  mutilated  or  removed  without  first  obtaining  a  special  permit  from the State Forester Fire warden.   Section 2 also revises the existing exemption for Indians native to Nevada who gather  flora  for  certain  reasons  to  remove  the  requirement  that  such  Indians  be  “native to Nevada. “   And in case you are wondering, below is a Rocky Mountain Juniper:


Assembly Bill 200This is another bill drafted to address the needs of the pandemic and permits veterinary telemedicine. Veterinary telemedicine” means the use of medical information  exchanged  from  one  site  to  another  via  electronic communications  regarding  the  health  status  of  an  animal  or  a group of animals and includes, without limitation, communication via telephone, video, a mobile application or an online platform on an Internet website.” Imagine your pet is feeling ill and you are in  compromised  health or quarantined.  Your Vet can now see your pet virtually and speak with you to diagnosis and issue prescriptions for your pet. 

Effective October 1, 2021.

Assembly Bill 356: This bill requires the Southern  Nevada  Water  Authority to Develop  a  plan  to  identify  and  facilitate  the  removal  of existing  nonfunctional  grass  within  the  service  area  of  the  Southern Nevada  Water  Authority  on  property  that  is  not  zoned  exclusively or a single-family residence. This means that the Southern  Nevada  Water  Authority can now have policing authority to require businesses to remove unnecessary grass.  Clearly this bill is aimed at combatting the severe drought facing our city.  The plan must, without limitation: 

(1)  Establish  phases  for  the  removal  of  nonfunctional  turf based on                                  categories of water users; and
(2)  Establish deadlines within the service area of the
Southern Nevada Water Authority for existing customers to remove nonfunctional  turf  on  property  that  is  not  zoned  exclusively  for  a single-family residence before December 31, 2026. 

Effective immediately for purposes of implementation.

Senate Bill 52Creates a program to award a dark sky designation  to locations where stargazing isn’t affected by lights to localities, parks, reserves and other state entities. A dark-sky designation is an area, generally surrounding a park or observatory, that restricts artificial light pollution. The primary  purpose of the dark-sky movement is generally to promote astronomy. It is often referred to in different terms and describes areas that national organizations have worked to have designated as “Dark Sky” areas.   In fact, the  International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) uses International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR) and International Dark Sky Park (IDSP). A third designation, International Dark Sky Sanctuary, was introduced in 2015. This is an entire movement that I had never heard of, and many states have made “dark sky designations.”  This is one of the reasons I enjoy writing blogs is to learn new things.  I have never heard of “Dark Sky Designation” and there is actually an entire organization dedicated to this movement.

Sections effective May 10, 2021, October 1, 2021.

Senate Bill 344: This bill bars people from letting wild animals come into direct contact with others. I can note imagine that somewhere in our vast statutes that this was not already illegally.  If you own a tiger, it cannot get loose.  (this is where I need some emojis) Section  7  of  this  bill  prohibits  a person from allowing a dangerous wild animal, as defined in section 4 of this bill, to come in direct contact with a member of the public. “Dangerous wild animal” means any of the following live animals held in captivity: 

1.    All elephants from the genera Elephas and Loxodonta.
2.    All species of aardwolves and hyenas.
3.    All species of primates, except humans.
4.    The following species from the family Canidae:
(a)  Gray wolves (Canis lupus).
(b)  Red wolves (Canis rufus) that have been bred in captivity.
5.    The following species from the family Felidae:  (a)  Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), including hybrids thereof.
(b)  Clouded  leopards  (Neofelis  nebulosa  and  Neofelis  diardi),
including hybrids thereof.  (c)  Jaguars (Panthera onca), including hybrids thereof.
(d)  Leopards (Panthera pardus), including hybrids thereof.
(e)  Lions (Panthera leo), including hybrids thereof.  (f)  Mountain  lions  (Puma  concolor)  that  have  been  bred  in
captivity, including hybrids thereof.
(g)  Snow leopards (Panthera uncia), including hybrids thereof.
(h)  Tigers (Panthera tigris), including hybrids thereof.
6.    The following species from the family Ursidae:  (a)  American  black  bears  (Ursus  americanus)  that  have  been
bred in captivity.
(b)  Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus).
(c)  Brown bears (Ursus arctos).
(d)  Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca).
(e)  Polar bears (Ursus maritimus).
(f)  Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus).
(g)  Spectacled  bears  (Tremarctos  ornatus),  including  hybrids thereof.
(h)  Sun bears (Helarctos malayanus)

So, in short, keep your polar bear locked up!!!! 

Effective July 1, 2021.

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