New map details economic development assets in Lander County

Lander County's economic development effort is putting first things first.

Knowing that potential employers who are considering facilities in Battle Mountain, Austin or elsewhere in the county will want information about infrastructure, the Lander County Economic Development Authority has begun building an interactive map of development assets.

The map which can be found at allows industrial developers to evaluate potential sites across the county.

"They need to know where the power is, where the gas is, where the access roads are," says Ben Veach, a project manager for Reno-based Summit Engineering. The firm is working as a consultant to the Lander County Economic Development Authority.

Adds Jon Sherve, chairman of the economic development authority: "All economic development inquiries for new or expanding businesses seem to begin with the gathering of current and relevant information. This Web portal is an invaluable tool."

Along with transportation and utility infrastructure, the satellite-view maps allow users to see the location of major mines, check the location of resources such as roadless areas and hydrographic basins even define areas that have been declared as potential flood zones by the federal government.

The flood zones information, in fact, is paying immediate benefits.

Some property in Battle Mountain may be removed from the flood-zone designation after work by Summit Engineering found that a berm that protects Battle Mountain from the Reese River hadn't been taken into account.

And in Austin, county officials used the new mapping system to determine that a 350-foot swath through the middle of town appears to have been improperly included in a flood-plain designation.

The Bureau of Land Management provided major funding for the mapping program, and local communities contributed time and resources.

"There have been many cooperating agencies and businesses that have put the first foot forward for the project," says Sherve.

Veach says more detail can be added to the mapping to meet the needs of the community or its economic development effort.

The inventory of potential development assets began with a look at the major mining areas in Lander County, but was expanded to include Battle Mountain, Austin, Kingston and Gillman Springs.

The Lander County Economic Development Authority, which acts as an advisory group to the county commissioners, seeks to diversify the county's economy beyond its reliance on mining, despite the boom in precious metals.

"They're trying to make hay while the sun shines," Veach says.


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