PVC pipes are cheap, light and visible from a distance. They are used all over the country as stakes to mark everything from foundation contours to mining claims. In Nevada, it’s the mining claim stakes that are the problem.
Ground nesting and cavity nesting birds are flying into the pipes, thinking they are nesting sites. But the birds don’t get out, because the pipes’ smooth interior doesn’t give them anything to grab on to. The Red Rock Audubon Society says that thousands of birds have died in Nevada in these PVC pipes. They say that bees and lizards are also trapped and die in the pipes.
It’s been illegal to mark a mining claim with an uncapped PVC pipe in Nevada since 1993, but the law has been ineffective. A new state law, SB 108, took effect last week. It allows citizens to remove upright, uncapped PVC pipes on inactive mining claims or place the stake on the ground nearby if the claim is active.
Here’s the text of the law as it was actually enacted. You can see the whole history of the bill, including the wording when it was introduced, here.
The law requires that the pipes, whether metal or PVC, be capped or crimped at the top. Comments on the Review-Journal article point out that filling the pipes with dirt would also protect birds, bees and lizards from the pipes too. Claim holders had three years to cap or crimp their pipes before the clause that allows citizens to pull them up took effect.
Photo: plerophoria67 on Flickr