Supervisors assess fire damage to watershed
September 2, 2004
Carson City supervisors trudged through ashen soil and weathered afternoon winds Thursday to survey watershed damage caused by July’s Waterfall fire.
Policy makers including city supervisors Robin Williamson, Shelly Aldean, Pete Livermore, Richard Staub and Mayor Ray Masayko piled into city vans for the tour, while city engineers explained restoration work the city has planned.
“It’s a moonscape, isn’t it?” supervisor Pete Livermore remarked as he rode through the charred landscape toward the water treatment plant in Kings Canyon. “I miss all the quail and rabbit you used to see out here.”
Others lamented the loss of property and the damaged watershed.
“This looked like liquid mud during the August storms,” Hoffert said, pointing down a barren slope to Ash Canyon Creek, which flows to a water-plant intake facility.
Hoffert said the creek water was so laden with debris that the city could not use it until last week, when work crews placed enough wattles – straw erosion barriers – on the sides and removed enough fallen trees from the watershed.
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Intake filters on three dams at the base of the Carson Range used to bank water for the city have also been filled with debris from Vicee Canyon Creek, Hoffert said, and city crews are working to clean them out.
“It wasn’t holding any water after the storms,” Hoffert said. “It’s a constant problem now.”
Masayko and City Manager Linda Ritter shielded their eyes from blowing dust and peered over canyon edges while Hoffert, Werner and Development Services Director Andy Burnham explained the intricacies of restoration efforts.
Hoffert pointed out that city workers have already begun placing wattles along slopes throughout the Carson Range facing the city in Kings Canyon, Ash Canyon, Vicee Canyon and the Timberline and Lakeview areas.
Carson City Public Works Operations Manager Tom Hoffert said the wattles, along with planned log erosion barriers, will slow the flow of debris during major storms this winter.
City engineer Larry Werner said reseeding will begin within the next few weeks, and aerial reseeding with will begin by Sept. 13.
State prison work crews have also finished digging 12-foot berms behind the Quill water-treatment plant in Kings Canyon to prevent debris from contaminating the plant’s two full reservoirs.
Werner said the National Forest Service will remove dead trees in burned areas and use them for lumber.
Homeowners driving a golf cart in the Custer Springs neighborhood in Kings Canyon stopped to tell the supervisors they are worried boulders on a burned slope behind their house will slide down during a storm.
Burnham gave the couple his contact information, invited them to a homeowners meeting Tuesday night and said the city would do what it could to help.
“People have to be patient,” Supervisor Aldean said. “The city has a lot to deal with.”
The Nevada Department of Forestry will provide reseeding funds, Werner said, while a recent 2.6 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will aid with water drainage repair and maintenance.
So far, the city has spent more than $100,000 for watershed rehabilitation, while costs to the city and state are expected to exceed $5 million.
Contact Robyn Moormeister at email@example.com or 881-1217.