COT Signs Friendship Agreements with ThreeChinese Provinces
Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) recently signed tourism friendship agreements with three Chinese provinces while in China for the recent China International Travel Mart, the largest international tourism trade show in Asia. NCOT now has friendship agreements with seven Chinese provinces, the most of any U.S. tourism agency. After signing the agreement, Director Bruce Bommarito left NCOT. Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki will step into the position of NCOT chairman. The friendship agreements are with: Shandong Provincial Tourism Administration, located on the eastern coast of China; Hubei Tourism Administration, an industrialized province in central China; and the Tourism Administration of Guangdong Province, located in the southern portion of the country.
NCOT believes that the key to success is educating Chinese residents about Nevada and to promote travel to our state. “International tourism to the United States is a $600 billion industry, and if we could increase our international visitors by only 1 percent, we would add 151,000 new jobs and $2 billion in tax revenue,” said Bommarito. “That is just one reason why we’re working so hard to keep Nevada and the whole country in the spotlight.”
Nevada Program to Secure Abandoned Mines
A public/private partnership is making Nevada’s public lands safer by permanently securing mine sites that are no longer operational and have been abandoned by their owners. The Abandoned Mines Permanent Closure Program involves the BLM, the Nevada Division of Minerals (NDOM), the Nevada Mining Association (NMA) and its members, which include mining and industry supply companies. The success of the program has become a model for other states. According to the BLM, about 25 people nationwide die each year from accidents related to abandoned mines. Bill Durbin, NDOM chief of Southern Nevada operations, said there hasn’t been an abandoned mine-related death in Nevada since 1999, and only one incident involving a dog in 2006. Since the program began in 1999, 255 abandoned mines in urban areas in Nevada have been permanently secured. The program has grown from six mines in 1999 to a new nationwide BLM record of 118 abandoned mines secured during 2005 and 2006 in Northern Nevada. To permanently secure the mines, a backfilling process is used with rock of no mineral value that was left around the mine opening. BLM estimates between 200,000 and 300,000 abandoned mines are scattered throughout Nevada, and 50,000 of these sites are considered physical or safety hazards.
New Legislation to Provide Nevada Additional Colorado River Water
Congress recently passed a bill that includes language directing the Bureau of Reclamation to construct a new reservoir in Southern California that would capture billions of gallons of Colorado River water requested by Arizona and California users but not used. The project, currently estimated at $84 million, would be funded by Nevada in exchange for the right to withdraw a total of 280,000 acre-feet of water on an as-needed basis. The so-called “Drop 2 Structure” would be located in Southern California. Under the rules governing use of the Colorado River, irrigators or municipalities can request that the Bureau release water from Lake Mead for use. It takes several days for that water to reach its destination. If during that period the requestor no longer needs the water due to rainfall or other circumstances, it has the option of “canceling” the order. Currently, there is no way to capture and store water for later use. The Bureau estimates that the proposed reservoir will conserve an average of 60,000 acre-feet of water, nearly 20 billion gallons per year. The total savings equates to 3 million acre-feet, over the structure’s projected 50-year lifespan.