Letters for Sept. 9, 2015
River needs to be cleaned out
I have been a rancher in Carson Valley my entire adult life. We are just finishing the fourth year of a severe drought cycle that has really challenged agriculture. Part of our operation involves watering our crops with an amazing gravity flow surface water conveyance system that has been working for over 100 years. Gravity flow irrigation is used on thousands of acres of productive ag land in the Carson Valley. Ranchers use diversions to convey the water from the river to their fields and crops. Many people call the agriculture production land “Open Space” or a “Green Belt” and they enjoy the scenery and laid back rural quality of life that the Carson Valley delivers year after year.
The question is who is responsible for maintaining the river. The State of Nevada, Division of Environmental Protection, claims they regulate waters of the state. Their definition of waters of the state are defined in NRS 445A.415 as “all waters situated wholly or partly within or bordering this State, including but not limited to: 1) All streams, lakes, ponds, impounding reservoirs, marshes, water courses, waterways, wells, springs, irrigation systems, and drainage systems; and 2) All bodies or accumulations of water, surface and underground, natural or artificial. Waterways of the State also include intermittent and ephemeral drainages and channels as well as other non-perennial water bodies and wetlands.” Folks, if you have a rain puddle the state has regulatory powers over it. Unfortunately, the Clean Water Act went into effect on Aug. 28. The federal government states that they own the river and have regulatory powers through the EPA. Here’s the rub, governments and not the property owner of the land the river transverses own the river bottom. The maintenance of the river has been neglected by government for over a decade. Currently there is so much vegetation and dunnage in the riverbed that if we get a serious winter, like we’re all hoping for, the river could be forced out of its banks. The diminished channel capacity of the river will affect the way it handles spring runoff or, God forbid, a rain on snow event like we had in 1997.
During the 1997 flood the agricultural community saved the towns from getting hit with a huge slug of water that was heading their way by opening our diversions. This allowed a lot of the river water to spread out over our fields saving the towns from serious water damage. We can do this because we know how the river and the diversions work in high flows and low flows. Due to lack of maintenance the riverbed has filled up with willows and sand bars that will redirect the river flow in directions we are not familiar with. We were able to handle the 1997 flood but we won’t be able to do that again unless someone cleans the riverbed so the river has a well-defined course.
I believe this is a safety issue that needs to be addressed. The solution to the problem is for the state, county and towns to create a maintenance fund to pay for the ongoing management of the riverbed and surface water conveyance systems. Please contact your representatives in the state legislature, your county commissioners and town board members and express your concern.
Suicide Prevention invites everyone to Saturday awareness walk
The Suicide Prevention Network would like to invite you to our annual “Walk in Memory, Walk for Hope” event to be held on Saturday, Sept. 12.
This event provides our community the opportunity to come together to remember those we have lost to suicide, to stand side-by-side those still grieving, and to raise awareness about prevention.
Suicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans each year. Mothers, fathers, children, the elderly, and U.S. Military Veterans succumb every day.
My own brother died by suicide in 2001 at the age of 27; suicide does not discriminate.
Douglas County has experienced eight suicides thus far in 2015, and 23 in 2014.
We are sure you agree one is too many. Please join us with your family, friends,and/or staff for this great cause.
There will be a brief ceremony followed by an awareness walk.
8-9 a.m. Pre-Registration – $20 (includes T-shirt)
8-9 a.m. Free breakfast provided by the Knights of Columbus
9 a.m. Ceremony begins followed by the walk
The Suicide Prevention Network operates solely on the donations of our community. Your generosity in supporting our cause will help broaden our ability to inform and educate our community.
We provide essential outreach programs, support groups, and referral services free of charge.
If you are unable to attend the event, but would like to support our cause, you may visit our website at http://www.spnawareness.org and donate today.
We express our deepest gratitude to you for your support and look forward to seeing you on Sept. 12.
Memory Walk planning board member
Volunteers made difference at Basque fry
We would like to thank all of the volunteers who worked hard to make the Adam Laxalt Basque Fry on Aug. 15 such a success at the Corley Ranch in Gardnerville.
Thank you to the community in their involvement in this event. In particular we would like to thank Ahern Rentals, Bing Materials, Gary Berrington, Steve Naulder, A&A Construction, Carson Valley Golf Course, Douglas Disposal, Charter Communications, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Nevada Highway Patrol and security for an exceptional job. It is nice to know that just a phone call or a handshake is still honored in this community.
Thanks to the JT Basque Bar & Restaurant and the Lekumberry family, and all the Basque and other workers who prepared and served the food. Thank you to all of you for your understanding when you called the ranch, and the tickets were sold out. Thank you to the media, communication and sound crews. Thank you to all of the staff, and the behind-the-scenes crews. To the employees and staff of the Corley Ranch, you are amazing. To everyone we might have missed, thank you.
Above all, hats off to Nicole, Tesa, Katrina and John Raper for their outstanding performance in planning, layout, and assembly of all the facilities.
Jon and Paula Corley