Nearly 98 percent of the 10,637 square miles comprising Lincoln County are administered by the federal government. The majority of these lands managed by the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In its November 2007 Resource Management Plan, the BLM’s Ely District Office has identified hundreds of thousands of acres of mixed pinyon and juniper woodlands needing thinning as a means to restore the landscape to a healthy status.
The Beck Group of Portland, Oregon has estimated that in excess of 700,000 acres of pinyon and juniper woodland identified for thinning by BLM are accessible within a 50 mile radius of central Lincoln County and could provide a source of biomass for industrial utilization. The Beck Group has determined that another 200,000 acres of BLM-administered pinyon and juniper woodlands requiring thinning are located within the Utah portion of this same 50-mile radius to central Lincoln County.
Collectively, this acreage of woodland is estimated by The Beck Group to contain in excess of 7.4 million bone dry equivalent tons of biomass. The BLM desires to undertake pinyon and juniper woodland thinning activities within Lincoln County, Nevada and adjacent areas of Utah over the next 20-30 years. Pinyon and juniper biomass derived from BLM landscape restoration projects over the next three decades in and adjacent to Lincoln County represents a significant source of biomass which can serve as feedstock to a variety of industrial uses.
The Lincoln County Regional Development Authority has retained both Idaho National Laboratory/Battelle and Biomass Energy Labs to complete independent chemical analyses of wood chip samples of both Lincoln County derived pinyon and juniper. The results are very promising with the feedstock characterized by high energy values, relatively low ash content and low concentrations of corrosive chemicals and metals.
Lincoln County is crossed by the Union Pacific Railroad mainline which terminates at the Port of Los Angeles. Rail transport of products produced using Lincoln County derived pinyon and juniper biomass to the Port of Los Angeles for export or to metropolitan areas of California and other southwestern U.S. markets is readily achievable from Lincoln County.
Vast quantities of pinyon and juniper biomass sourced from BLM-administered lands in Lincoln County and adjacent areas in Utah represent a real opportunity for biomass industries to achieve feedstock security.