FAQs

1. What is the Fallon Range Training Complex?
  • The Fallon Range Training Complex (also referred to as the “Fallon Ranges”) is the Navy’s premier aviation training range and is used to train both aviation and ground military units.
  • Airspace and land ranges are used by the Navy and other military services for air and ground training, including live-fire training.
  • The complex is made up of 12,256 square nautical miles of special use airspace and approximately 232,000 acres of Navy-managed land near Fallon, Nevada.
2. What is the Navy proposing to do?
  • The Navy is proposing to modernize the Fallon Ranges. Modernization would include:
    • Renewal of current public land withdrawal
    • Land range expansion through additional withdrawal of public lands and acquisition of non-federal land
    • Airspace modifications
  • More specifically, the Navy proposes to:
    • Renew current public land withdrawal of 202,859 acres expiring in November 2021
    • Withdraw and reserve for military use approximately 604,789 acres of additional public land
    • Acquire approximately 65,160 acres of non-federal land
    • Expand associated special use airspace and reconfigure existing airspace
    • Conduct the same general types and tempos of aviation and ground training as currently authorized
    • Upgrade range infrastructure to support modernization
3. Why is the Navy proposing to modernize the Fallon Ranges?
  • The training conducted at the Fallon Ranges is critical for military readiness in defending and securing the United States and its interests abroad.
  • Newer-generation aircraft and weapons have outpaced the current capabilities of the Fallon Ranges. Training is hindered by inadequate land and airspace, leaving aircrews unable to fully train and compromising their safety and success in combat.
  • The proposed modernization would provide the realistic training capabilities needed to meet changing aviation and ground training requirements, while maintaining and enhancing the safety and security of local communities.
4. Why is the Navy preparing this EIS?
  • The Navy is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement, or “EIS,” to identify and assess the potential environmental impacts of modernizing the Fallon Ranges.
  • The Navy is evaluating potential impacts in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, or “NEPA,” a federal environmental law.
  • NEPA requires federal agencies to examine the potential environmental impacts of their proposed actions on the environment. The analysis of impacts, as well as input from the public, lead to a more informed decision by the Navy.
5. Will alternatives be analyzed?
  • Under NEPA, the Navy is required to analyze a range of reasonable alternatives for accomplishing the Proposed Action. “Action” alternatives and a “No Action” alternative will be evaluated in this EIS.
  • The public is encouraged to submit comments during the scoping period on potential viable alternatives for consideration.
6. What is the “No Action” Alternative?
  • Under the No Action Alternative:
    • Land range expansion and airspace changes would not occur.
    • The Navy would disestablish and cease the use of the Fallon Ranges and reassess the military mission of Naval Air Station Fallon, as the current withdrawal of public land would not be renewed under this alternative.
    • The Navy would work with the Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") to prioritize and address any environmental remediation needed on lands relinquished back to BLM.
7. Would training increase under the Proposed Action?
  • No, training would not increase over the level of activities analyzed in the recently completed 2015 Fallon Range Training Complex EIS. Rather, training would be distributed across the expanded ranges to fully maximize enhanced capabilities.
8. What does land withdrawal mean?
  • A “land withdrawal” removes an area of federal land from settlement, sale, location, or entry under some or all of the general land laws.
  • Land withdrawals are usually intended to limit activities and reserve the area for a particular public purpose or program. In this case, the withdrawal would be to reserve land for military use.
9. Would the Proposed Action further restrict public access to the Fallon Ranges?
  • Public access to portions of the Fallon Ranges would be restricted for safety reasons. Keeping the public and military personnel safe is of utmost importance to the Navy.
  • The majority of Navy-managed lands are already closed to the public for safety reasons.
    • Ranges Bravo-16, Bravo-17, and Bravo-20 would continue to be closed to the public for safety reasons.
    • A small section of land at Bravo-16 to the north of the range is currently open to the public. The Navy is proposing to close this section for training purposes. This action would result in closing the entire Bravo-16 range (both current and proposed land) to the public.
  • The Navy strives to allow access to the public when activities do not interfere with training or compromise safety.
    • For the Dixie Valley Training Area, both new land proposed for withdrawal and the currently-withdrawn land would be open to certain land uses, such as recreation or cattle grazing.
  • Potential impacts on land use and recreation will be analyzed in the EIS.
10. Why does Bravo-17 need to be closed and restricted from public use? What are the safety reasons?
  • The Navy is required to protect the public from hazards associated with air-to-surface ordnance training. To meet requirements, the Navy must restrict public access to any lands that fall under a weapons danger zone.
11. Why is training with explosives necessary?
  • Military personnel must train realistically in the manner in which they will engage in combat in order to reduce the loss of lives through the practice of tactics, techniques, and procedures while achieving combat success. 
  • Handling explosives is a highly perishable skill. Practice is necessary to ensure safety and combat proficiency. The safe and successful employment of weapons systems in a realistic training environment demonstrates that pre-deployment forces are ready for combat and improves readiness and survivability.
12. How can you ensure public safety during training activities, including those using explosives?
  • The safety of the public and military personnel is of utmost importance to the Navy. The Navy uses sophisticated computer software, data analysis tools, and standard operating procedures to ensure ordnance activities remain at safe distances from the public. 
  • Ensuring a more realistic training environment and adequate safety margin for the public is a primary driver behind the current Fallon Range modernization effort.
  • Navy safety planning includes:
    • Restricting public access from hazardous ordnance activities (fencing off the bombing ranges)
    • Ensuring target areas are unoccupied prior to ordnance activities; ranges used for these activities would be closed and restricted from public use
    • Conducting routine clean up and environmental stewardship of the training ranges
    • Working with local communities on compatible land use development
13. Why can’t the Navy use munitions that require less of a safety zone?
  • The Navy employs both live and inert weapons in training. Inert (non-explosive) practice bombs are used extensively to maintain aircrew proficiency. Personnel must be proficient in buildup, handling, and delivery of live weapons, which is required to ensure proficiency in combat. History has demonstrated a direct correlation between realistic training and combat success.
  • While rare, weapons can sometimes fail. The proposed expansion of the Fallon Ranges is designed to ensure the safety of the public at all times.
14. How would the Navy acquire private property?
  • The Navy would offer fair market value to purchase non-federal lands.
  • The Navy would make all efforts to acquire these properties through a mutually agreeable transaction.
15. How would the Proposed Action affect commercial airlines or civil aviation?
  • The Federal Aviation Administration’s Aeronautical Study will analyze the impacts on commercial and general aviation.
  • The Navy has a long-standing working relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration, which is a cooperating agency on this EIS.
16. Why can’t the Navy and Air Force use one range?
  • The Navy and Air Force have different missions that require different training environments, comprised of unique training systems and infrastructure.
  • The amount of training required for the Navy and Air Force is extensive. Training ranges are already in full use. There is not enough scheduling capacity to combine the training needs of both the Navy and Air Force onto one range.
17. Who decides on the alternatives and the implementation of the Proposed Action? 
  • The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment decides on the selection of an alternative.
  • Congress must approve any land withdrawal before the selected alternative is implemented.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration decides on all airspace proposals.
18.  How long does this process take?
  • The EIS process must be completed prior to the Navy's decision on the modernization proposal. The EIS is expected to be completed in 2020.
  • The withdrawal of federal lands would begin once the Navy has made a decision and Congress has granted legislative authority, which is anticipated in 2020.
  • The acquisition of non-federal lands would begin once the Navy has made a decision and Congress has granted legislative authority, and authorized and appropriated funds for this action, which is anticipated in 2020.
19. Why did the Navy extend the public scoping comment period?
  • The Navy received feedback from the public to allow more time for comments during the scoping period. To accommodate this request, the Navy has extended the public comment period until Dec. 12, 2016.
20. How do I participate in the decision-making process?
21.    What does the Navy do to protect cultural resources found on Navy-managed land?
  • The Navy has prepared various cultural resource management plans, including an Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan, to protect and manage the cultural resources at the Fallon Ranges. The Navy also employs a cultural resources manager to coordinate with state and federal agencies and federally recognized tribes.
  • The Navy works closely with local tribes on mutual interests. 
  • The Navy participates in a Programmatic Agreement with the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office, BLM, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to identify, evaluate, and treat historic properties on Navy-managed land. This agreement ensures protection of cultural resources and promotes coordination between the Navy and the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office.
22.    What guidelines does the Navy follow to protect natural resources at the Fallon Ranges?
  • Maintaining the health of habitats and wildlife ensures the preservation of native landscapes and allows military training to be conducted in a realistic setting.
  • Under the Sikes Act, the Navy is required to implement an Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP) and has done so for the conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources. The Navy has professional natural resource managers on staff to manage the natural resources at the Fallon Ranges.
  • The management strategies provided in the INRMP have been developed in cooperation and concurrence with the USFWS, BLM, and Nevada Department of Wildlife, and help to ensure the balance of military readiness activities with natural resources management. The INRMP includes management programs for:
    • Land 
    • Forests
    • Aquatic and terrestrial habitat
    • Special natural areas
    • Wildlife  
    • Pests 
    • Wildland fire 
    • Outdoor recreation and agricultural outleases
  • The Navy would manage any new withdrawn or purchased lands in accordance with these guidelines.

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