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River cleanup day set Nov. 4

by Linda Hiller, staff writer

One year ago, volunteers were swarming on the east bank of the Carson River at Willow Bend off Genoa Lane, planting 3,000 willow sticks, among other things.

Today, approximately 98 percent of those plants survive, a success rate that has the 1999 organizers jumping for joy.

“We’re pleased when it’s better than 50 percent, so at 98 percent we’re very, very pleased,” said Paul Pugsley, watershed coordinator for the upper Carson River resource management plan. “People often wonder if their efforts will really be there the next year and last year’s volunteers, who saw that bank before, would be pleased at how it looks today.”

Pugsley, 51, said the experts who headed up last year’s planting are not completely sure why the success rate has been so high.

“We didn’t have any real high water or flooding last year, and that certainly helped the plants get established,” he said. “After we plant, we usually have to cross our fingers and hope that they do get a chance to become established.”

– Come and help. A week from today, volunteers from the community can participate in the sixth annual Carson River Cleanup.

The event will be held Saturday, Nov. 4, from 8:30 a.m. until noon on the historic Sarman Ranch off Centerville Lane.

The event is co-sponsored by Soroptomist International of Carson Valley and the Lions Club. Soroptomists are providing free doughnuts, coffee and hot chocolate to volunteers in the morning and they are also supplying food for lunch that will be cooked and served by Lions Club volunteers.

Many groups are involved again this year, including Scouting troops, China Spring Youth Camp, Rite of Passage, the Kiwanis Key Club and more.

The Soroptimist organizing committee includes Sharon Grecian, Linda Faff, Kathleen Hansen, Donna Lee, Karen Winters and Heidi Weber.

Community volunteers will plant approximately 5,000 willow cuttings provided by the Sarmans, release trout into the river and install wood duck nesting boxes and bat boxes built by Jacks Valley resident Blake Hiller – all aimed at strengthening the habitat and integrity of the 600 feet of riverbank designated for Saturday’s upgrade.

“We hope to plant 5,000 willow cuttings, and in addition, we hope to put in 500 alternative plants for diversity – dogwood, cottonwood, salt bush, buffalo berry and sumac,” Pugsley said. “In this particular case, we’re trying to re-establish a riparian corridor in the river. Mike Sarman has agreed to help slope the river banks for easier planting to fence the cows out and to care for the trees.”

– Wildlife habitat. Fourth generation rancher Mike Sarman, 37, said about 95 percent of the 50-acre Sarman Ranch was under water after the 1997 New Year’s flood.

“All the efforts we will put in on the river Saturday will help to stabilize the banks so that wildlife habitat is strengthened and agricultural land downstream will not be lost,” said Dan Kaffer, area coordinator for Western Nevada Resource Conservation and Development.

“We welcome all the help we can get from families, Scouting groups, church groups, neighborhoods – everyone is invited to come spend a morning on the river. And, all the volunteer hours we get can be used for matching funds for more work on the river.”

The meeting place for Saturday’s effort will be at the Sarman Ranch, 710 Centerville Lane, about halfway between Highway 88 and Foothill Road, starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 4. Watch for signs.

Volunteers are asked to bring gloves, boots, hats and shovels if you have them, and layered clothing.

“Plan on wet feet,” Kaffer said. “I always tell people to bring extra socks for their kids.”

For more information on Saturday’s Carson River Cleanup, call Pugsley or Kim Hansen at 782-3661 or Rosevold at 782-6715.