Spending a Saturday morning raking gold-and-taupe-colored leaves as the early November sun peeks through the creekside reeds sounds more like a rite of fall than a conservation effort.
But conservation was solely on the collective minds of a dozen Clear Creek Watershed Council staff and volunteers at Fuji Park on Saturday morning.
A 20-foot stretch of the creek on the park's south end was tended to by the creek caretakers in an effort to ebb erosion and restore the habitat to its more natural state.
Beyond the simple foot traffic that causes dirt and debris to flow into the creek, there is another four-legged foe the stream faces on a regular basis.
"We're glad Fuji Park is a dog park and it's great to see owners and their animals play here," said Margie Evans, spokeswoman for the watershed council. "But people have to be just as diligent about picking up dog poop near the creek as they are on the manicured grass.
"In fact, when a dog does his business over (by the creek), it's actually more harmful."
Along with cleaning up doggie droppings, the group spent the morning installing straw waddles (serpentine straw bales a foot in circumference and 20-plus feet in length), planting trees and installing soil mixed with native grass and flower seeds.
The goal: to re-create a natural bank through which the creek can meander.
"It really doesn't take a whole lot of effort to make a big difference," said volunteer Rob Fellows. "We've been out here since about 9 a.m. and this is a really doable half-day project for us.
"The results, we hope, will speak for themselves."
The council, which is the only resident-based watershed organization in Nevada, has a mission to "protect, conserve, and restore the unique and valuable resource of Clear Creek and it's watershed through collaboration, education, planning and project implementation."
The council is comprised of landowners, concerned residents, politicians, private corporations natural resource managing agencies that share a common interest and responsibility to address the issues regarding the quality and health of the Clear Creek watershed.
"I think here in Nevada people know the importance of water and water quality," Carson resident and volunteer Paul Pugsley said as he raked up a pile of leaves near the riverbank. "It just takes a little effort and a little time.
"From small groups big things can happen."
• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at email@example.com or 881-1219.