Local ranchers and military units that use the Horse Creek area were invited to participate in a native vegetation reseeding effort. Horse Creek is a remote parcel of land the Navy acquired in the 1980’s. Once a homestead in the Dixie Valley Settlement established in the early 1920’s, Horse Creek is now part of the NAS Fallon Range Training Complex and is used for limited ground training while open to the public. In recent years, drought, off-road vehicle use and overgrazing have taken its toll on native plants.
The day was cold as a winter storm approached. We were waiting for any sign of precipitation for the seeding to be successful. Finally, on December 12, a group of 10 volunteers seeded 12 acres using a native seed mix containing grasses, forbs, and shrubs. NAS Fallon’s landscaping contractor, High Sierra Industries, donated the use of a tractor and two chain harrows to prepare the ground to take the seed and to cover the seed after distribution. This effort will improve rangeland forage production, minimize noxious weed establishment and erosion of soil into Horse Creek, and restore a healthy plant community beneficial to wildlife. In addition, ground training will continue to use the area for realistic scenarios, and the public will enjoy coming to camp, fish, hunt and view wildlife.
Near the end of the day, we noticed a herd of desert bighorn sheep on the distant ridge top watching as we worked. Leaving the site for the day, we drove towards the approaching storm, hopeful that spring will show the fruits of our labor.