Conference is filled up |

Conference is filled up

by Sharon Carter

Organizers of Monday’s Carson River Conference say they are astounded at the interest the Carson City event has generated and may be obliged to turn people away.

With 225 pre-registered to attend the regional watershed management meeting, organizers said Thursday they had run out of space.

Dan Kaffer of the Natural Resources Conservation Service Carson City office said they were renting 100 extra chairs, but that space and food limitations would preclude taking more reservations.

“We’re overwhelmed. We’ve set up a waiting list, but latecomers who do get in should be prepared to go out for lunch,” he said.

Kaffer said people who have preregistered for the conference include state senators and assembly members from all of Nevada’s counties along the Carson River and from Alpine County in California.

“There are ranchers, environmentalists, recreationists and representatives from the (governmental) agencies with jurisdictions along the river,” he said.

Joining keynote speaker Chris Maser, a watershed improvement authority from Oregon, are Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., who is also the conference’s honorary chairman, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Carson Valley ranchers Fred Stodieck and Arnold Settelmeyer, and representatives from various public and private entities involved with the river.

Three breakout sessions are planned at the conference. The sessions will address:

n Protection and management of the flood plains.

n Bank erosion issues, including bank stabilization and irrigation diversion.

n Fisheries and upland watershed management.

Kaffer said the conference aims to unite the efforts of all the communities on the river.

“The five different river community groups – Douglas, Alpine, Lyon and Churchill counties and Carson City – will share their goals and accomplishments in improving conditions on the river,” he said. “The idea is to leverage each other’s time, energy and passion for improving the watershed. We’ll coordinate projects and work until the river is healthy and functioning again. That’s something that can happen when technical, political and financial support (sources) coordinate with private land owners.”

Tyler Turnipseed, the watershed coordinator for the Upper Carson River Management Group in Gardnerville, said he plans to speak briefly at the conference. The grass roots consortium of Alpine and Douglas users recently hired Turnipseed, a 1992 Douglas High School alumnus and wildlife management graduate from the University of Montana (Bozeman), to help organize and coordinate conservation programs with other efforts downstream.

Turnipseed is the only employee of the upper watershed planning group. His salary is paid, in part, through a federal clean water grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

For those who can’t attend Monday’s conference, Dan Kaffer recommends the follow-up workshop scheduled for Monday, April 27.

“That’s where we’ll work on implementing the suggestions that come from this conference,” he said.

The idea of hosting such a regional conference has been in the works since 1994. Planning for this one got serious last September.

“John Cobourn (Water Resource Specialist with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension)found a flooding and flood prevention grant to help put it on,” Kaffer said. “It’s exciting to find that more and more people have become aware of the river. We just hate to have to turn people away.”

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