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Douglas backs bistate river district

by Christy Chalmers

A proposal that would create a unique interstate river management district has the approval of all the prospective members.

Douglas County leaders added their blessing Thursday to the plan, which would add Alpine County, Calif. to the Carson Water Subconservancy District. The district covers the Carson River watershed areas in Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Churchill counties. The river’s two forks originate in Alpine County, and proponents think adding Alpine would mean a more coordinated approach to managing the watershed.

“It’s important, to protect our watershed, that we start dealing with the issues in Alpine County,” said Subconservancy District manager Ed James.

Douglas County representatives occupy five of the current 11 seats on the subconservancy board, and they have supported the plan to add Alpine.

“This has kind of been our philosophy, to be inclusionary rather than exclusionary,” said Commissioner Bernie Curtis, one of three commissioners who serve on the subconservancy board.

“It gives it strength,” added Commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen, also a subconservancy board member.

Though bi-state involvement would make the subconservancy district the only one of its kind, it would not add special powers or change current water regulations. The district has no regulatory power and the river would still be subject to the Alpine Decree, which regulates water rights.

Adding Alpine will require approval from the California and Nevada legislatures. James plans to ask Nevada lawmakers for approval when they meet again in 2001. After that, the California legislators will be asked.

The subconservancy district was expanded in 1999, when Churchill County was added.