Residents object to removal of wetlands

The removal of wetlands from Carson City to Washoe Valley isn't sitting well with members of Carson's Open Space Committee.

The state is applying to fill in about 16.5 acres of wetlands as part of the construction of the Carson bypass.

According to an application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state plans to expand wetlands at the south end of Washoe Lake in exchange for those that will be removed in Carson City.

"One of my pet peeves is that all of our wetlands are going to Washoe County where no one who lives here can enjoy them unless they're driving by at 70 mph," committee member Deborah Uhart said. "We want them to stay where we can enjoy them. It's unfair to take away wetlands from our area."

The Corps of Engineers is seeking public input from Carson residents on the application. The wetland relocation is part of the state's drainage plan for the freeway. The application to move the wetlands made a public appearance at the open space committee meeting Wednesday evening.

The plan calls for filling in roughly 20 acres of wetlands and waterways north and south of Highway 50 East with about 321,000-cubic-yards of dirt.

The wetlands north of Highway 50 were the home of the Carson wandering skipper, which threatened to delay the bypass. However, a search for the elusive butterfly indicates it may now be extinct.

Park Planner Vern Krahn said the open space committee has been concerned about how the freeway will affect open space in Carson City. Committee members also expressed concerns that channels to be dug for the project be natural looking. The committee has asked the state before that any wetland mitigation be kept in Eagle Valley.

"When you think of it, the biggest impact on open space in the valley floor is the freeway," committee member Michael Fischer said. "The question is how to use areas next to the freeway as part of the open space plan. Rather than moving our wetlands to Washoe Valley, let's find some wetlands in our own town."

No representatives from the Corps of Engineers or the state were at the meeting for discussion on the item, although the corps is requesting public comment by Dec. 10. The open space committee requested a letter be sent to the Corps and the state asking that wetlands be replaced within Carson City.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is asking for public comment by Dec. 10 to evaluate the impact of the Carson freeway on wetlands and waterways. For information call Nancy Kang or Michael Walsh at 784-5304.


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