Wetlands report says endangered areas surround Carson City | NevadaAppeal.com

Wetlands report says endangered areas surround Carson City

Nevada’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has released a state Inventory ranking wetlands in order of risk. Three of the most endangered areas are within a few miles of the capital.

The Lahontan Reservoir-Carson River area is ranked 11th on the list. The Carson River from the California border to the Carson Valley is No. 14, and Truckee River tributaries north of Carson City are listed at 19. Those include the Franktown, Galena, Whites, Thomas and Hunter creeks.

The report identifies 234 wetland areas in order of the danger of potentially adverse impacts on them. Impacts include diversion, channeling or accelerated erosion of waterways, or by draining, dredging, filling or leveling activities.

The document is designed to satisfy federal requirements for eligibility for Land and Water Conservation Fund grants, which flow to state and local governments to help protect and preserve wetlands.

A report issued earlier this year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated Nevada has lost more than half its wetlands in the past 220 years. While that doesn’t sound good, it’s not as dramatic as the estimated 95 percent for California and 90 percent for Utah. But the wetlands report says one reason may be that Nevada doesn’t have a comprehensive wetland inventory program. It says actual losses may be higher than the 52 percent number.

Jennifer Newmark, administrator of the Nevada Natural Heritage Program, said this is the first time Nevada has tried to rank its wetlands. She said they used historic factors like how much of the wetland has been converted or degraded. But she said they also tried to use factors such as outdoor recreation, contributions to flood control and wildlife values.

She said the idea was “to provide some basic baseline information on wetlands and the conditions they are currently in.”

“They prioritize them based on all these factors to attempt to begin giving people an idea where they should be doing something,” she said.

The report is available on the department’s website at http://www.dcnr.nv.gov/2007WetlandsInventory.pdf

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.