Carson​ City Board of Supervisors proclaim “Energy Efficiency Day” and address Clear Creek open space acquisition

by Roger Moellendorf and Brian Bahouth

Carson City hopes to acquire 100 acres of forested state-owned property in Clear Creek Drainage adjacent to Highway 50 - image - Roger Moellendorf

Carson City – The Carson City Board of Supervisors met Thursday, October 4, and two of the items they addressed included a proclamation proclaiming Friday, October 5 as “Energy Efficiency Day” and authorizing the Parks, Recreation and Open Space staff to submit a grant for fee-title acquisition of 100 acres of forested state-owned property in Clear Creek Drainage adjacent to Highway 50.  

Local resident and environmentalist Ann Macquarie, presented the “Energy Efficiency Day” proclamation to Mayor Robert Crowell who read the proclamation into record. Ms. Macquarie presented the proclamation on behalf of Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP).

Through the proclamation and in her remarks, Ms. Macquarie lauded the city’s efforts in energy conservation funded by utilizing energy cost savings through reduced usage which has reduce energy usage an equivalent of 188 average American homes.  SWEEP also provided a handout to the public that list ten everyday simple measures that individuals can employ to be more environmentally friendly and reduce energy waste.

After the Board of Supervisors meeting, Roger Moellendorf spoke with Ann Macquarie about Energy Efficiency Day in Carson City … listen …

“The reason for it is to draw attention to the value of energy efficiency in having a sustainable society and economy,” Macquerie said.  “I think that energy efficiency is often overlooked because maybe its not as glamorous and interesting as say solar panels on everybody’s roof, but the term clean energy advocates use about energy efficiency is ‘negawatts not megawatts,’ so what that means is, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to not use energy than it is to develop new energy sources, so the purpose of this day marking energy efficiency is to raise that up in peoples’ consciousness.”

Also during the meeting Ann Bollinger, Carson City Open Space Administrator, presented a recommendation from the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department as well as the Open Space Advisory Committee to allow staff to seek a Forest Legacy Program grant for the purchase of 100 acres of state-owned lands in the Clear Creek Drainage.  This property consists of the former Clear Creek Youth Camp and is adjacent to Highway 50 and Golf Club  Drive.  The property if acquired, will be used for open space and passive recreation.  More specifically it will be used to provide a trail head for both Carson City Open Space trails and the Carson Valley trails in Douglas County.  The site is strategically located just north of the Douglas County and Carson City border.

Following Thursday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting, NCN’s Roger Moellendorf recorded an interview with Carson City Open Space Administrator Ann Bollinger and Juan Guzman, President of the Carson Valley Trails Association … listen …

Bollinger said when the Open Space Master plan was written in 2000, the Clear Creek property was a camp for children.

“The open space plan was written back in 2000, so it is several years old, and originally it (the Clear Creek property) was not even included because no one actually thought that there was a threat of development for this property,” Bollinger told NCN’s Roger Moellendorf.  “There were a couple properties adjacent and to the west, and they have been purchased by the Forest Service for protection of all the values that we discussed protecting today, wildlife habitats, native vegetation, watershed soils in Clear Creek, so even though it wasn’t initially identified, it does fit into the larger picture of acquisitions.  We have a couple hundred acres we own just to the north of that, and we’re looking at closing another acquisition in early 2019 for another 20 acres.”

For Juan Guzman, President of the Carson Valley Trails Association, the property is an important connector piece between trains in the Carson City area and Douglas County.

“We have been working on a trail-head that has been designated on just about everyone’s plan, Douglas County plan, Carson City plan for trails have designated that that would be a desirable place, that site,  to be able to connect our trails going from Carson into Douglas County,” Guzman said.

Carson City hopes to acquire 100 acres of forested state-owned property in Clear Creek Drainage adjacent to Highway 50 – image – Roger Moellendorf

 

The Forest Legacy Program requires a 25 percent match from the grantee.  However, staff’s recommendation included sweetening the city’s request by including a 30 percent match.  Staff believes that a higher match will improve the city’s approval prospects.  The city’s match will come from the Quality of Life Open Space Budget.  The state believes that property is worth between $1.4 million and $1.6 million.  If the grant is approved the city will have an appraisal conducted to determine the value of the property.  Board Supervisor Brad Bonkowski asked for insurance from staff that the city would not pay an above appraisal cost for the property.  The Supervisors approved Bollinger’s request for a 30 percent match.

“Because this grant will compete at a national level, and because we are a little weaker on those natural characteristics of water sources and threatened and endangered species, if we can increase opportunities in other areas such as our match, hopefully that can bring us a few bonus points on the application.,” Bollinger said.

The Forest Legacy Program is a national competitive grant program administered by the United States Forest Service that identifies and conserves environmentally important forest areas that are threatened by conversion to non-forest use.  The program is funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund which invests a small percentage of federal offshore drilling fees towards conservation and park projects.  The Clear Creek property is zoned for 20 acres lots and could be sold to a private developer who could then develop five residential lots on the property, but should the City not win the grant for the Clear Creek property, Ann Bollinger said there is a secondary plan.

“There is another grant program that would apply to this property,” Bollinger said.  “It’s the Community Forest and Open space Program.  The reason we chose Forest Legacy first, is because it does not have a maximum dollar value, whereas Community Forest does.  It has a maximum of $600,000 we can apply for.  The difference is the match requirement.  Forest Legacy requires a 25 percent match, and Community Forest is 50 percent.”