Ranchos seeking Question 1 money for fishing pond

Anglers may have a new fishing hole in town if plans move forward for a 2-acre fishing pond in a Gardnerville Ranchos park.

Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District Manager Bob Spellberg said that he and district board members are waiting to hear back from the state about an application for Question 1 money, which, if approved, will fund the building and sealing of the proposed pond in the southwest corner of Mitch Drive Park.

After the state rejected a similar request for a smaller version of the pond last July, the Ranchos revised its application and resubmitted in August.

"At the minimum, the state wanted a 2-acre pond," Spellberg said. "We doubled the size, and cleaned up the language in the application."

The Ranchos is asking for $310,000 in grant money, and is willing to add about $140,000 of its own money for fencing, signage, landscaping, and other features outside the purview of the grant.

Approved by voters in 2002, Question 1 authorized the state to issue up to $200 million worth of bonds to fund conservation projects.

According to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Web site, $65.5 million of that money was allocated to the Nevada Division of State Lands to distribute in the form of grants to state agencies, local governments, and nonprofit organizations for a variety of projects, including trails, urban parks and habitat conservation.

With direction from the board, Spellberg has already set aside about $350,000 for the 2-acre site. He said the board wants to move forward with the project with or without state funding.

"Yes or no, it's a good project that will benefit people in the area," Spellberg said.

He said plans are for a diverse fishery, including bass, bluegill, perch and rainbow trout, the latter contingent on the Nevada Department of Wildlife's stocking capabilities.

"We need to set up the habitat and throw in some minnows, crayfish and mosquitofish," Spellberg said.

During the first application process, wildlife officials raised concerns about the proposed pond's water temperature and oxygen levels.

Spellberg said the pond will have no natural inflow or outflow, but will be filled by well water.

"Out of the ground, the water's about 52 degrees," he said.

Aerators will also be used to oxygenate the water.

"We're thinking of using a pump to irrigate the surrounding trees and grass," Spellberg said.

He said a well-inflow/pump-outflow system would circulate the water and keep the pond clean of algae.

He said the depth of the pond will range from 12 to 15 feet, allowing cold-water fish like trout to thrive in deeper, cooler water.

Spellberg pointed to the popularity of the Martin Slough in Gardnerville - proof that residents use urban fisheries. He hopes, however, that unlike the Martin Slough, which has to be stocked regularly, the Mitch Drive Park pond will be big enough to engender a self-sustaining population of fish.

"We want a pond that's sustained year-round," he said.

For more information about Mitch Drive Park, visit www.grgid.com.


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