Water is our lifeline in the desert that is Northern Nevada. Most of our supply comes during the winter as snow in the mountains, which then melts, soaks into the ground or runs off feeding the Carson River through various streams. With such a limited resource, maintaining water quality becomes very important. Homeowners share in this responsibility.
Best management practices (BMPs) are methods to help developed properties function more like natural undisturbed forest and brush fields - nature's water purification systems. Infiltrating water from rooftops and pavement into the soil instead of letting it leave a property as runoff is essential to maintaining good water quality.
In a natural, undisturbed watershed, 95 percent of rain and snowmelt soaks into the ground, recharging groundwater basins. Currently about 95 percent of municipal and industrial water used in the Carson River watershed comes from groundwater. After development, rooftops and pavement cause most rain and snowmelt to run off surfaces rapidly, carrying soil, debris, chemicals and other contaminants into nearby streams and eventually into the river without that critical recharge.
When you install BMPs on your property, you can enhance the curb appeal of your home, reduce flood damage, reduce sediment runoff and protect your investment. BMPs help keep storm drains and culverts clear, reduce costs to the community and maintain good water quality.
Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Water Quality Planning Program has been sponsoring an education program for homeowners on BMPs called Carson Clear Water Revival. This is in partnership with Carson Water Subconservancy District, the Carson City Stormwater Management Program, Nevada Tahoe Conservation District and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Using water-quality protection funds there is now a BMP demonstration home in Carson City. The site was chosen through a contest and workshop participation. On June 4, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at 4100 Meadow Wood Road in Lakeview, there will be an open house to show how beautiful BMPs can be.
Come see how BMPS can improve your property on June 4. Experts will be on hand to answer your questions. Then, on June 18 from 10 a.m. to noon, attend a free BMP workshop and possibly win up to $2,500 of BMP improvements such as rockwork and plantings to your property.
Contact Carson Water Subconservancy District, 887-7450 for more information on the workshop and free BMPs.
• JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 887-2252.