Water grant to aid district
Study and preservation of the Upper Truckee River will increase this year.
The California Tahoe Resource Conservation District was awarded more than $69,000 last week to hire a watershed coordinator. The coordinator, who will be hired this week, will study the river and work with residents and regional agencies to assess the need for stream restoration and soil erosion control.
District project manager Tim Oliver said 24 people applied for the job at the end of January, but only six had public speaking experience and knowledge of watershed management planning, necessary software and grant writing.
The state grant will pay for the coordinator’s salary, computer and office expenses. It is one of about five grants the district has been able to secure for the year.
“We’ve been really fortunate to get these grants and to get participation from regional agencies,” Oliver said. “This grant will be good for research in order to educate people about problems out in the streams and how to protect the streams.”
The district will also set up a group to identify and prioritize watershed improvement projects. Oliver said all research and planning with the grant money must be finished by June 30, 2002.
The state awarded $2 million to 26 Resource Conservation Districts to hire watershed coordinators.
“There’s a real need throughout the state for the coordination of efforts at the local level to improve and protect our watersheds,” Department of Conservation Director Darryl Young said. “Everyone lives in a watershed, and the health and vitality of each one is an important measure of the quality of life in California.”
The California Department of Conservation set up a public resources code in 1938 that defined Resource Conservation Districts. The 103 state districts were formed to address local resource conservation needs, with emphasis placed on the conservation of soil and water resources.
The districts are governed locally, and board members from around the California side of the lake oversee the Tahoe district.
By participating in the national Backyard Conservation Plan, Oliver said the district has helped many Tahoe residents assess their property and make it environmentally sound.
The plan works closely with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Best Management Practices, which involves any number of property improvements, including paving driveways, planting native vegetation and installing rock trenches. These upgrades help treat stormwater runoff, which ultimately helps in preserving the lake’s clarity.
“(The California and Nevada Resource Conservation Districts) have been very active in working with TRPA and other agencies in implementing their Backyard Conservation Plan in coordination with TRPA’s Best Management Practices,” TRPA’s Public Affairs Coordinator Pam Drum said. “They are active in controlling soil erosion, maintaining good forest health and controlling stormwater runoff.”
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