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Watershed planning progressing

Staff reports

Stewards of the Carson River system are pleased with watershed planning efforts and say they’re steadily progressing on different aspects of river management.

A few dozen ranchers and local, state and federal representatives met for a half-day conference Wednesday on the status of the Integrated Watershed Planning Process, which is intended to bring various river management groups together.

Six subcommittees have been meeting to address issues ranging from environmental protection and water quality to education and research.

While the tangible results have been mixed, the work has been steady.

Kevin Piper, a member of the subcommittee that is promoting interaction and cooperation among various agencies, said the group has successfully streamlined the river work permitting process, making maintenance and repairs along the river much easier for landowners.

“I think that’s a major accomplishment. That pulled a lot of folks together,” he said. “I think by 2002, we will streamline things even further so there will be permits issued for the entire region of the Carson River.”

A group devoted to land use and development is studying an overall watershed plan and pondering flood plain issues, as well as headwater protection, an endeavor that heavily involves Alpine County, Calif., because the river’s two forks originate there. Alpine officials, said the group spokesman, have been very cooperative.

One of the subgroups will also assist the U.S. Forest Service gathering public comment on a proposal to designate the river as wild or scenic.

The conference yielded no major changes in current river management policies, with most participants agreeing on a series of principles and a vision statement that has been proposed. Organizers said they hope to hold two such conferences a year, with anyone interested welcome to participate. For more information, call 887-1260.