Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette visits the NNSS

Deputy Secretary at benches
Brouillette looks toward Frenchman Flat at the NNSS.

Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette visited the Nevada National Security Site April 2-4. He was accompanied by Captain Nathan Martin and Chief of Staff Jim Colgary.

Deputy Secretary Brouillette began his visit by meeting with seven NNSS early career professionals for lunch in North Las Vegas at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nevada Field Office Nevada Support Facility.

During the lunch, Brouillette took the time to learn a bit about NNSS’ attending young professionals, asking each one in turn several questions about themselves, as well as what brought them here, first impressions when joining the NNSS and more. “What does it take to keep you here?” was a reoccurring question throughout the afternoon.

Several of the young professionals cited supporting the national security mission as a reason they enjoy their work.

“It’s an important mission,” Brouillette agreed. “I hope you’re very proud of that.”

After the lunch, the deputy secretary joined a group of NNSS representatives in traveling to the Site, where he spent the following day-and-a-half meeting with Site leadership and visiting several facilities important to the NNSS’ current mission (the Device Assembly Facility and the U1a Complex, to name a few), in addition to historic locations.

Brouillette concluded his visit Wednesday, April 4, by touring the NNSS’ Remote Sensing Laboratory – Nellis and meeting with key leaders.

deputy secretary lunch
Brouillette (front, center) met with young career proffessionals for lunch.
deputy secretary U1a
Outside the U1a Complex.
deputy secretary underground
The deputy secretary (center) receives a briefing underground at U1a.

Local business publication honors Marylesa Howard in 40 Under 40

firefighters badging ceremony
Marylesa Howard receives her recognition at the VEGAS INC 40 Under 40 celebration. Photo credit: Las Vegas Weekly.

Local Las Vegas business publication VEGAS INC has recognized MSTS Supervisor II Marylesa Howard as one of its 40 Under 40. In selecting the winners for the 18th annual awards, the publication reviewed nominees’ community service, entrepreneurial spirit and impact on their respective industries.

Marylesa was both surprised and honored to be recognized.

“I didn’t know a mathematician could end up working in underground mines, wearing hardhats and steel-toed boots, but I love my job,” Marylesa told VEGAS INC prior to the event. “My colleagues are great, the work is challenging, and I feel like I am giving back to the community, all of which create a satisfying work life for me.”

While honorees represented a variety of sectors, they all had one thing in common, the publication says: “They’re making Las Vegas a better place.”

This year’s 40 Under 40 were recognized at a March 22 event at Red Rock Resort. To view Marylesa’s feature, please visit VEGAS INC’s website, here. Awardees are listed in alphabetical order.

NNSS welcomes four new firefighters

firefighters badging ceremony
NNSS Fire & Rescue badging ceremony

On March 26 before family and friends, new Probationary Firefighters Steve Witherell III, Keith Armington, Adrian Brown and Tyler Carter (pictured center, from left to right) received their badges and are now official firefighters at the NNSS! Congratulations to them as they begin their careers with our Fire & Rescue department. Many thanks to Deputy Fire Chiefs Donald Parker, Jemmy Castro and Brian Dees (pictured in white, from left to right) for supporting the ceremony in North Las Vegas.

“Being a firefighter is a calling, not a job. It takes a special person to provide the service we provide—particularly when we’re away from family and our personal live one-third of the time. For these firefighters, there will be rites of passage they will have to endure. I congratulate them and welcome them to our F&R family,” said Deputy Chief Castro at the ceremony.

Family members and friends pinned their badges on, followed by hugs and handshakes.

NNSS revegetation project using tribal recommendations in full swing

tribal revegetation

Revegetation of the historic 92-acre disposal area at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) using recommendations from the people native to the land is underway. The project began in 2016 when the Environmental Management (EM) Nevada Program asked the Consolidated Group of Tribes and Organizations (CGTO) for assistance after previous attempts at revegetating the land were unsuccessful. Now, the EM Nevada Program is moving forward with incorporating the wisdom and traditional ecological knowledge shared by the CGTO that have been passed down among tribal members for thousands of years.

Representatives from the CGTO formed a Tribal Revegetation Committee (TRC) to provide recommendations to the EM Nevada Program after careful study, research, cultural interactions with the land, and consultation with tribal elders. The recommendations provided by the TRC include various seeding and transplant methods utilizing test plots and continual tribal contact with the land as the plants grow. The TRC has recommended a three-year study of the area in order to ensure establishment of the plants, which is consistent with the standard time frame used in ecological studies.

The six CGTO members of the TRC represent three broad ethnic groups with cultural and historic ties to the NNSS and surrounding lands: Southern Paiute, Western Shoshone, and Owens Valley Paiute-Shoshone. Two members from each group are working on the project along with additional expertise from CGTO spokesperson Richard Arnold; ethnoecologist Dr. Jeremy Spoon of Portland State University’s Department of Anthropology; and ecologist Dr. Michael Clifford of Desert Research Institute.

Based on their initial recommendation, tribal representatives observed the first planting last fall.

The TRC expressed their commitment to working closely with the EM Nevada Program in helping to restore ecological and cultural balance to the land. “We are the voices of the land who speak of its importance and desire to maintain ecological balance in accordance to tribal traditions,” Arnold says. Arnold explains that tribal people have been on the land for thousands of years and witnessed many changes, including the separation of tribal people from the land where they were created. “When we are reunited, the land welcomes our return so the healing can begin,” Arnold says.

The project continues in 2018 with a planned spring planting. The TRC recommendations include regular monitoring by the CGTO representatives as well as other tribal members, including young adults. These young tribal members will be encouraged to assist in the project, to help pass on tribal ecological knowledge for generations to come.

For the EM Nevada Program, the project demonstrates a commitment to consider tribal perspectives and concerns when completing environmental management tasks. “The input of culturally affiliated tribes is invaluable to the EM Nevada Program as we carry out our mission to ensure the protection of the public and the environment from the effects of historic nuclear testing. The revegetation project is part of a continuing effort to incorporate tribal involvement in EM missions,” says Rob Boehlecke, program manager, EM Nevada Program.