Fish farm not such a bad idea for Carson Valley
John, the drifter kinda cowboy showed up on our place one afternoon while I was irrigating in the field up near the house. He was riding down the lane on a beautiful, honey-colored palomino with a shiny white tail. Had something on his lap with him in the saddle. I had seen him coming for a while. He called out to me from a distance. I was wondering what he had in his lap so I walked closer with my German Shepard trailing behind.
“Is he friendly?” He hollers a few yards out.
“What?” I call back walking closer.
“Your dog. Is he friendly?” He asks stopping his horse.
“Friendly enough.” I think I said.
The man, older, gray-haired, days unshaven, thin, sitting tired in his saddle, has a small dog across his lap I can see now asks, “Do you have some food, for my dog?”
This lost memory of John, his dog and his horse finds its way into my head after driving past the improvements going on at Sharkey’s parking lot in town.
Change in this Valley keeps happening. Changes in the characters, too. A shift, the realization we are one big community seems lost. People leave where they were because it has changed expecting change not to happen here after they arrive. Change is always going to happen.
People don’t want solar panels interrupting views of sage and mountains. No gravel pit to help cover cost and development of increased sewer capacity needed for the people who live and work at Tahoe, within Douglas County. No fish farming.
I raise a few beef cattle. I would love to see fish farming developed here because ocean fish can be nasty. There is no ocean fish grading system like on beef. There are only warnings about mercury poisoning from eating tuna. Chilean sea bass are endangered from over fishing, but are tasty. So to eat healthy, local and safe with the possibility of eating fresh Chilean sea bass guilt free I say bring on the fish farm.
The farm would be between me and the Rancho’s structures, which one can easily see all the time. One big building nicely appointed or bunches of smaller ones makes no difference to me. My caveat is the operators be mindful of water use.
I have read Mr. Bently is conscious of no unnecessary building in open space, making buildings LEED certified. The Sea Dream project can be environmentally sound, and sustainable. Reuse, recycle and reduce water and loss. Fish waste can be an excellent source of fertilizer. And the claimed two trucks a day won’t really be noticed among the other big rig commercial trucks resupplying merchandise folks buy at the mall at the North end of the Valley, on top of very prominent hill.
And about views, I gotta side with the man who said you only own your land not the view. If a community is worried about views offer a land owner compensation for keeping it. I have watched structures being built for decades. Seen unbelievable traffic growth. Multiple stoplights where once only a single stop sign was needed driving the length of Minden to Gardnerville. It was at Sharkey’s corner. The last place I saw John.
I had said yes, I had food for John’s dog. Some beans for him, too. A place in the bunk house for his saddle, and work, repairing fences. After a few weeks John got paid and was gone. One night walking through Sharkey’s after dinner I see him sitting at the bar with a drink. I walk over, ask how he is. Thought he left the area.
No. He had found work around. Was camping in Sharkey’s parking lot with his horse. Didn’t say anything about the dog. Others knew who I was speaking about when I asked around about him later. They remembered the Palomino.
Marie Johnson is a Carson Valley rancher.