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Volunteers sought for river cleanup

by Linda Hiller

The fifth annual Carson River Cleanup will be, as always, truly a “touchy-feely” event.

You’ll definitely touch the willows you plant, and anyone who dares, can feel the slippery, small trout that will be planted in the river during the Saturday morning event aimed at strengthening the river that binds the Carson Valley together.

This year’s stretch of river will be at Willow Bend, off Genoa Lane. Event organizer Dan Kaffer of the United States Department of Agriculture, said this area has had its share of problems.

“We had the river undermining the banks there in 1995, and some large trees collapsed as a result,” he said. “And during the flood in 1997, we were out there again, sandbagging homes. Since then, the banks there have gotten progressively worse.”

n Five years of repairs. Kaffer said since the first river work day in 1995, several areas along the river in the Carson Valley have received attention.

“We worked on tribal land in 1995 and 1997, on private ranches in 1995, 1996 and 1998, on state lands every year, and on forest service land in 1995,” he said. “We work where the river needs it the most.”

Over the five years, Kaffer said, approximately 3,000 volunteers have helped work on the Carson River during scheduled workdays in Alpine County, Carson City, Fallon, Dayton and Carson Valley.

“This year we’re doing some different things in bioengineering,” Kaffer said. “We’ll be installing willow wattles – a 2,000-year-old technique using big bundles of willows on the banks as a barrier to erosion. We’ll also do willow clumps, which are vertical willow bundles that also help prevent erosion.”

Other activities planned for next Saturday include weed control, which will involve pulling the noxious weed, yellow star thistle, wrapping tree trunks with wire to prevent beaver damage, installing bat houses and wood duck houses in the trees, and trash pickup.

The site will be prepped beforehand by conservation crews from the Nevada Division of Forestry, and the Natural Resource and Conservation Service with Jane Schmidt doing the design and layout, Kaffer said.

– Free stuff for volunteers. Soroptimist International of Carson Valley, co-sponsors of the event, will provide free T- shirts, which were printed at China Spring, to participants as well as morning refreshments including doughnuts, coffee and cocoa. Lunch will be provided by the Lion’s Club.

Volunteers are asked to meet at Willow Bend, off Genoa Lane at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23, with gloves, boots, hats and appropriate clothing.

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

Tools, including sledgehammers (to pound in the willow bundles), shovels, pliers and wire cutters would also be handy.

Kaffer said scout groups, church groups, school groups and families with kids of all ages are welcome to come work on the river and enjoy the fall color. The fish will be delivered at 11:30 a.m. and participants will hand-deliver them – usually in paper cups – to the river.

For more information, call Soroptimists’ chairperson of the event, Donna Lee, 265-7326.