Welcome to the agrihood
One might mistake all of Carson Valley for an agrihood.
The concept combines agriculture and development in much the same way as a golf course community does.
In the instance of one Palm Springs golf course, developers plan to tear up a golf course and replace it with olive trees and gardens.
The concept of agrihoods arose as part of the agricultural element of the 20-year update of the Douglas County master plan, which was approved by planning commissioners on Tuesday.
According to the master plan, there are 255 farms in Douglas County accounting for 100,944 acres with an average size of 396 acres. That accounts for 22.4 percent of the county’s land. Of those, 10,000 acres are devoted to growing alfalfa hay, which is 3.4 percent of Nevada’s total.
There are more farms now than there were in 1945, when there were only 131. Total land devoted to agriculture at the end of World War II was 216,678 acres, which was 48 percent of the land in the county. Agriculture in Douglas County peaked at 235,016 acres in 1959, or 52 percent of the county.
The county is home to 14,500 head of cattle or 3.2 percent of the state’s total.
More than a third of Carson Valley’s housing is located in the Gardnerville Ranchos community plan, which also has 2,856 acres of agricultural land in its 6,680 acres.
Irrigating Carson Valley are 93,444 acre feet of committed water rights, which includes 46,630 acre feet of supplemental rights for irrigation. Those rights can only be used when the Carson River doesn’t provide enough irrigation water to meet ranching demands.
During the 2013 water year, 3,274 acre feet of effluent was imported into the Carson Valley basin for irrigation and wetlands.
There are 2,786 acres of wetlands in Douglas County, more than 900 acres of those are engineered to handle effluent disposal for the Incline Village General Improvement District.
Transfer of development rights have preserved 3,964 acres of agricultural land, while the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act has preserved 18,320 acres of sensitive land in Douglas County. The first transfer was the Hussman property in Gardnerville in 2006. The largest single purchase was of 14,147 acres of Bently land in the Pine Nuts by the BLM.
What wasn’t approved was the transportation element of the plan, which is still being considered by Douglas County commissioners.
According to the economic development portion of the plan, more Douglas County residents commute to jobs elsewhere than commute to the county for work, but not many.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau 9,485 commuters work in the county, but live elsewhere.
However, 10,556 Douglas County residents commute to jobs outside of the county. There are 7,954 residents who also work in the county, or about 43 percent of the population.
The master plan update will go to Douglas County commissioners in November.