Cooperating across state lines to protect Tahoe

December 15, 2008

Lake Tahoe Nevada State ParkBackyard conservation can have far-reaching effects, as homeowners in two states of the Lake Tahoe Basin learn from cooperating conservation districts

(Article courtesy of the National Association of Conservation Districts’ report, Our Land, Our Water.)

Cooperation across state lines between two conservation districts is helping residents in the Lake Tahoe basin protect one of America’s best-known water bodies.

Lodged in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe was developed rapidly and not always wisely in the mid-20th century. With multiple jurisdictions in the basin, including two states, cooperation is the key to making conservation gains.

The Tahoe Resource Conservation District in California and the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District in Nevada have the daunting task of helping about 40,000 residential property owners in the basin comply with mandated best management practices (BMP). Their work is part of a broader strategy to reduce sediment and nutrient impacts on water quality in Lake Tahoe and improve overall forest resource management. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tackling Noxious Weeds a Watershed at a Time

December 4, 2008

 

The Mason and Smith Valley conservation districts in Nevada participated with partners in a Streambank Soil Bioengineering Technical Training Workshop. The site was experiencing drastic bank erosion. Partners in the workshop included the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Western Nevada Resource Conservation and Development, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Nevada Division of Water Resources. Workshop participants reshaped the stream bank, installed rock refusal trenches, rock and vegetated barbs, willow bundles, juniper revetments, live stakes and erosion control blankets.

The Mason and Smith Valley conservation districts in Nevada participated in a Streambank Soil Bioengineering Technical Training Workshop. The site was experiencing drastic bank erosion.

Controlling noxious weeds requires watershed approaches and strong partnerships. Two conservation districts have joined forces with local, state and federal partners to get the work done.

(Images and article courtesy of the National Association of Conservation Districts’ report, Our Land, Our Water.)

Gaining a foothold in efforts to eradicate noxious weeds is like herding cats. They’re not always where you want them to be.

That’s one of the lessons learned by partners in noxious weed control on the Walker River basin in western Nevada. But the weeds may be corralled by a project that focuses on pinpointing where they are and then eradicating them a watershed at a time. The first step is developing a comprehensive map.

“We’ve known for some time that a comprehensive map is not available,” says Michelle Langsdorf, district manager of the Mason Valley and Smith Valley conservation districts. The districts chair the Walker River Basin Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA), comprised of landowners and local, state and federal agencies. “All the stake-holders in the basin got together to find those gray areas where noxious weeds aren’t targeted or funding is not available. Those are the areas where weeds thrive most,” she says.

The partners decided to coordinate efforts to have a greater impact. The conservation districts have a central role. The partners decided to address weeds on a watershed basin. The Walker River has east and west branches that join into a main stem. Each of the stems has a reservoir that serves agricultural producers who grow alfalfa, garlic and onion and graze cattle and sheep. Read the rest of this entry »