Volunteers begin Clear Creek restoration

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Volunteers came together Saturday to begin the restoration of the Clear Creek Watershed.

For the first project, 81 volunteers from the Clear Creek Watershed Council, along with Carson City residents and Boy Scouts, spent the morning cleaning up trash and planting willow and cottonwood seeds along the creek at the west end of Fuji Park.

Laura Lueders, coordinator for the Clear Creek Watershed Council, said parts of the tribal land near the creek had been destroyed by illegal off-road vehicles. It is neccesary to reseed some of the old scars, she said.

The Washoe Tribe has fenced off a parcel of the land to preserve its beauty. The new willow seeds that were planted this weekend will help restore the damage made by off road vehicles, Lueders said.

"It's still relatively pristine," she said. "It is still worth protecting."

The day began with a prayer session led by a member of the Washoe Tribe. The volunteers planted 150 willows and cottonwoods, and hauled out 10 tons of garbage.

The seven-mile stream is the largest tributary to the Carson River. The creek begins at Spooner Summit and winds its way down through Carson City and Douglas County.

The Clear Creek Watershed Council formed in November last year to restore the creek's natural beauty.

Dan Kaffer, with United States Department of Agricultue Natural Resources Conservation Services, is working with the council to conserve the creek.

He said the goal was to retain the quality of the creek as the surrounding area develops and grows.

"It's really beautiful in some locations," Kaffer said. "But in others it's near disaster."

He said the erosion along Highway 50 combined with the development along the creek could pose a threat to Clear Creek.

"All these things combined make this a watershed that has the potential to be overused and overloved by the community," Kaffer said.

He explained that while the development near the creek does not cause direct damage, the run-off from the development does. A petroleum biproduct comes from the asphalt and runs into the creek, Kaffer said.

Another problem in the watershed is the erosion near the creek.

Jim Dodson, with PBS&J Consulting Firm, is studying the creek to determine the level of the erosion and the extent of the damage. He was also at the creek Saturday picking up trash.

"The culmination of our study will be to suggest measures to stop erosion from occuring," Dodson said.

The Nevada Department of Transportion hired Dodson's firm to perform the study on the creek.

Kerri Williams, with the Nevada Division of Transportation, said the study is neccesary to determine which problems need to be worked on first.

"We couldn't do it all at once," Williams said.

The next scheduled workday will be in the fall along the Carson River.


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