If Terra Firma land conservation consultants' spokesman Jacques Etchegoyhen has his way, more than 450 acres of the Mack Ranch south of Minden will be preserved for open space.
An application was recently submitted to the U.S. Forest Service to fund the project, with money provided through the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.
Etchegoyhen said the property is south and west of Minden, near a residential area that has expanded over the last 40 years.
"This acquisition would conserve the remainder of the land to the east fork of the Carson River," he said.
In a letter approved by Douglas County commissioners Thursday, officials said placing the land in a conservation easement will assist in the long-term viability of ranching in the Carson Valley and preserve the natural lands along the Carson River.
"This easement serves as protection for our floodplains and riparian habitat," the letter states.
The application for funding from Southern Nevada Public Lands was submitted a few weeks ago. Along with many other applications, it will be submitted for consideration in the next couple of months. Etchegoyhen said he does not know when Terra Firma will get an answer.
The Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, which became law in October 1998, allows the Bureau of Land Management to sell public land within a specific boundary around Las Vegas.
Proceeds from those sales are made available for certain types of projects, submitted each year to the secretary of interior for approval.The program is administered by the U.S. Forest Service.
The Mack ranch claims water rights dating back as far as 1858, though its owners didn't officially make a claim to the land until 1868, Etchegoyhen said.
"It's one of the oldest ranches in Nevada continuously owned by the same family," he said.
"We could save the next riparian valley in Nevada, except there isn't another one," he said. "About 1 percent of the land in Nevada has irrigation or crop land of any sort. That makes the Carson Valley a unique and precious resource for Nevada. There's nothing else like it."
n Susie Vasquez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 211.