Valley ranch may become nursery for cottonwoods

Members of The Nature Conservancy, Mariah Power and the Audubon Society planted cottonwood trees at the River Fork Ranch near Genoa on Oct. 23.

The volunteer day, sponsored in part by Toyota's Together Green program, was open to the community to join volunteers from Mariah Power.

"We are excited to spend a day planting trees with the conservancy," said Mariah Power Chief Executive Officer Mike Hess.

"It is important for those of us that live and work here to take the time to take care of our natural resources."

The trees planted during this effort will become a nursery, which will provide cottonwood trees for planting at other sites in the future, as well as providing seeds that can travel downstream to help spread cottonwoods to other places on the Carson River.

"Volunteering is an important way to get people out into nature," said Duane Petite, Carson River project director for The Nature Conservancy. "Giving people the opportunity to both learn about the work we're doing and participate in it themselves will strengthen the connection our community has to the Carson River."

After the event, volunteers and their families were invited to a barbecue where they learned more about the work the conservancy does.

The conservancy acquired the roughly 800-acre River Fork Ranch in 2000; it is one of five locations along the river where the group is working to restore the Carson River and improve habitat.

Located where the east and west forks of the Carson River come together, River Fork Ranch provides critical wetland and wet meadow habitat for wildlife, particularly nesting habitat for migratory song birds. "River Fork Ranch is located in an important Carson Valley bird area," explained Robin Powell, Nevada director of bird conservation for the Audubon Society. "It is a top priority for volunteer work like this that improves habitat for the nesting birds."

In addition, River Fork Ranch is a working cattle ranch, dedicated to demonstrating sustainable agriculture practices that are compatible with habitat restoration and protection.

"We are excited to have Mariah Power and the Audubon Society joining us in this event," Petite said. "It is a great example of how we accomplish our conservation work through strong partnerships with businesses, other non-profit organizations, landowners and others in the community to make sure the work we do benefits both people and nature."


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