Conservancy’s five-year plan nearly ready |

Conservancy’s five-year plan nearly ready

TRUCKEE – In the nearly two years since California Governor Arnold Schwarz-enegger signed the Sierra Nevada Conservancy into law, conservancy officials have criss-crossed the agency’s 25 million acres, listening to ideas, hearing concerns and getting feedback.

Using that information, the conservancy board is weeks away from finalizing a draft plan that will guide the conservancy’s actions over the next five years.

The draft plan states the goals of the organization: Conservation, economic growth, disaster preparedness and a host of others. The tone of the document encourages collaboration, discourages partisanship and offers equal access and benefit from the efforts of the state’s newest and largest conservancy.

And the conservancy has dozens of agencies, non-profits and organizations in the 212 communities throughout the range that it plans to partner with to achieve its goals. Each, with its unique focus, has valuable input on where the conservancy efforts should go.

At the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce, President Lynn Saunders said she hopes the new conservancy will help the area’s economy branch out from its heavy dependence on tourism.

“I think anything that helps with economic diversification and the sustainability of our economy will be really important,” Saunders said. “Because we are so tourism dependent we need to become dependent on other things.”

However, the conservancy’s No. 1 program goal is to increase opportunities for recreation and tourism.

Lisa Wallace, executive director of the Truckee River Watershed Council, said the agency could be a valuable partner in the restoration of meadows, and stream corridors in the Sierra.

“From the perspective of the watershed council, whatever support the conservancy can give to the wetland, riparian and meadow restoration would be very important,” she said.

One of the conservancy’s seven priorities is to improve water quality.

The plan is expected to be adopted at the July 20, Sierra Nevada Conservancy board meeting.

To learn more about the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and about their planning process, go to:

Top goals for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy:

— Increase opportunities for recreation and tourism;

— Preserve the physical, cultural archaeological, historical and living resources of the mountain range;

— Preserve “working landscapes” such as farms and ranches;

— Reduce the threat of natural disasters;

— Protect and improve water and air quality;

— Assist the regional economy;

— Enhance public use of lands.

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy includes:

— 22 counties

— 25 million acres

— 212 communities

— 13 voting board members

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