MINUTES OF THE MEETING
NEVADA LEGISLATURE’S MARLETTE LAKE WATER SYSTEM
(Nevada Revised Statutes 331.165)
October 15, 1999
Carson City, Nevada
The first meeting of the Nevada Legislature’s Marlette Lake Water System Advisory Committee (Nevada Revised Statutes [NRS] 331.165) was held on Monday, October 15, 1999, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 302 of Legislative Building, Carson City, Nevada. Pages 2 and 3 contain the “Meeting Notice and Agenda.”
COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT:
Senator Lawrence E. Jacobsen, Chairman
Assemblyman Joseph (Joe) E. Dini, Jr., Vice Chairman
Senator Mark E. Amodei
Robert E. Erickson, Research Director, LCB (nonvoting member)
Gene Weller, Chief of Fisheries, Division of Wildlife, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (SDCNR)
Wayne R. Perock, Administrator, Division of State Parks, SDCNR
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL BUREAU STAFF PRESENT:
Kim Marsh-Guinnasso, Principal Deputy Legislative Counsel
Nenita Wasserman, Senior Research Secretary
MEETING NOTICE AND AGENDA
Name of Organization: Nevada Legislature’s Marlette Lake Water System Advisory Committee (Nevada Revised Statutes 331.165)
Date and Time of Meeting: Friday, October 15, 1999
Place of Meeting: Legislative Building
401 South Carson Street
Carson City, Nevada
A G E N D A
*I. Election of Chair of Advisory Committee
II. Overview Reports by State and Local Government Entities
A. Division of Forestry, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
B. Division of Wildlife, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
C. Division of State Parks, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
D. Buildings and Grounds Division, Department of Administration
E. Division of State Lands, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
F. Local Governments
*III. Discussion of Issues Related to Marlette Lake Water System
IV. Public Comment
Tour of facilities in the Marlette Lake and Hobart Reservoir watersheds (Meet at Legislative Building at 1:30 p.m. Persons who are not employees of the State of Nevada must provide their own transportation; four-wheel drive required.)
*Denotes items on which the committee may take action.
Note: We are pleased to make reasonable accommodations for members of the public who are disabled and wish to attend the meeting. If special arrangements for the meeting are necessary, please notify the Research Division, Legislative Counsel Bureau, in writing, at the Legislative Building, 401 South Carson Street, Carson City, Nevada 89701-4747, or call Nenita Wasserman, at (775) 684-6825, as soon as possible.
Notice of this meeting was posted in the following Carson City, Nevada, locations: Blasdel Building, 209 East Musser Street; Capitol Press Corps, Basement, Capitol Building; City Hall, 201 North Carson Street; Legislative Building, 401 South Carson Street; and Nevada State Library, 100 Stewart Street. Notice of this meeting was faxed for posting to the following Las Vegas, Nevada, locations: Clark County Office, 500 South Grand Central Parkway, and Grant Sawyer State Office Building, 555 East Washington Avenue.
SENATOR AMODEI MOVED TO NOMINATE ASSEMBLYMAN DINI FOR CHAIRMAN OF THE NEVADA LEGISLATURE’S MARLETTE LAKE WATER SYSTEM ADVISORY COMMITTEE. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED BY GENE WELLER, CHIEF OF FISHERIES, DIVISION OF WILDLIFE, STATE DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES (SDCNR).
Senator Jacobsen noted that he would like to continue as chairman of the committee and stated that he sponsored the legislation that created the advisory committee. He added that he has served on this committee since 1969 and has worked on this subject longer than any other legislator.
WAYNE R. PEROCK, ADMINISTRATOR, DIVISION OF STATE PARKS, SDCNR, NOMINATED SENATOR JACOBSEN FOR CHAIRMAN OF THE NEVADA LEGISLATURE’S MARLETTE LAKE WATER SYSTEM ADVISORY COMMITTEE. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED BY ROY W. TRENOWETH, DIVISION OF FORESTRY, SDCNR.
MR. TRENOWETH MOVED TO CLOSE NOMINATIONS. MOTION WAS SECONDED BY SENATOR AMODEI. THE MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
The members of the committee were instructed to vote by secret paper ballot. The secretary counted the ballots and announced that Senator Jacobsen was voted chairman of the committee.
SENATOR AMODEI MOVED TO NOMINATE ASSEMBLYMAN DINI FOR VICE CHAIRMAN. MR. PEROCK SECONDED THE MOTION AND THAT NOMINATIONS BE CLOSED. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED BY ASSEMBLYMAN DINI. THE MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
Assemblyman Dini was nominated vice chairman by acclamation.
The committee members introduced themselves and gave a brief history of their involvement with Marlette Lake.
Senator Jacobsen commented that the tour scheduled later in the day would begin at Lakeview and end at Spooner Summit.
Overview Reports by State and Local Government Entities
Division of Forestry, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Rich Harvey, Nevada Regional Manager, Division of Forestry, SDCNR, stated that the division operates inmate work crews in the Marlette Lake and Hobart Reservoir areas. The crews work on assignments such as cutting dead trees, keeping the road open, and collecting seed. The crew works an average of 70 days a year. In 1998, there were 200 crew days to help remove dead trees.
Mr. Harvey reviewed some points of interest in the Hobart area and stated:
· A commercial harvest was set up in 1994 to remove dead trees that were killed in the bark beetle epidemic.
· The “Red House” is an old historical building located in the Marlette area that has been restored.
· An insect and disease survey was completed in 1998. A large beetle breakout occurred as a result of the drought at the Lake Tahoe Basin. Most of that has died off and returned to endemic levels. Currently, there are Jeffrey Pine beetles in the Spooner North Canyon area, Fern Graver beetles in the Franktown Creek area and above the Hobart Reservoir.
· With grant money obtained from the Federal Government, a zigzag yarder was purchased which looks like a small ski lift. A cable can be attached to standing trees, which reaches out picks debris up to a quarter of a mile. A piece of firewood up to an eight-foot length can be suspended and hauled to the nearest road.
Addressing Senator Amodei’s question, Mr. Harvey stated that was correct that the remains from the timber harvest are still sitting in certain areas of the forest. He explained that trees lose their value after two years because of rotting. He added it is too expensive to helicopter out firewood and most trees are located in areas that cannot be driven to.
DIVISION OF WILDLIFE, STATE DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Dave Sanger, Staff Fisheries Biologist, Division of Wildlife, SDCNR, explained that he is responsible for the Brood Stock Program. Mr. Sanger made the following points regarding the Brood Stock Program:
· The Brood Stock Program began in 1964 shortly after Marlette Lake property was purchased.
· The Cutthroat Trout spawning was phased out in 1984 and eggs are now taken from Heenan Lake and Pyramid Lake.
· Rainbow Trout is the current brood stock established at Marlette Lake.
· Since 1984, there have been approximately 4.9 million eggs taken from that area. During the last four years, the Rainbow Trout brood stock has declined which may have been caused by the weather changes and heavy snow pack.
· The Division of Wildlife is looking at rewriting the management plan for the Brood Stock Program.
· Considerable effort was spent building a new spawning facility.
Addressing Mr. Meizel’s statement that the Federal Government is moving towards abandoning fish hatchery programs and if he saw this as a way to force states to abandon programs also, Mr. Weller responded that was a concern and that his office recently completed a comprehensive management system study within the Division of Wildlife and noted that:
· One of the recommendations that came out of the study was to stock more fish which was the most frequent request from the public and stakeholders.
· A few elitist groups exist that would like to see hatcheries eliminated but there would be an overwhelming outcry if that were to occur.
Chairman Jacobsen noted that during the interim period, the committee could tour the fish hatchery in Gardnerville.
Division of State Parks, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Mark Kimbrough, Regional Manager of the Carson City/Lake Tahoe Area, Division of State Parks, SDCNR explained that Marlette Lake is an area that he oversees and made the following points during his presentation:
· The primary use in the Marlette Lake area for recreation is hiking and mountain biking. There have been approximately 5,000 mountain bikers counted per month along the flume trail with a hidden counter.
· The traffic has increased so much at Marlette Lake that a restroom will be installed hidden in the trees.
· Hobart Lake is also popular among recreation enthusiasts. Ash Canyon Road is a primary access to Hobart Lake that needs improvement but cannot be maintained because the road ends on private property. Other than that road, it is a difficult four-mile hike.
Mr. Kimbrough stated his office works with:
· Up to 50 people on improvements for the Tahoe Rim Trail.
· University of Nevada, Reno, on a program called the Nevada Conservation Corps, to develop an alternate trail along North Canyon because mountain bikers have taken over the trail that the hikers will not use it any longer.
Responding to Mr. Perock’s question, if the number of bikers would be restricted on the flume trail due to the increasing amount of mountain bikers yearly, Mr. Kimbrough responded that he did not foresee that but noted there is a restricted amount of parking available.
BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION
Mike Meizel, Chief, Buildings and Grounds Division, Department of Administration, made the following points during his presentation:
· In the past, water was water was sold to Carson City and Lakeview. The water treatment plant was used from the mid-1970s and later abandoned in 1999 because Carson City has a full water treatment center.
· The state supplies only raw water to Carson City, and Storey County. The water from Storey County is used for Gold Hill, Silver City and Virginia City.
· There are two projects pending that were funded through the 1999 Legislative Session:
1. A request for $61,000 was made for an engineering project on a gravity collection system from Marlette Lake down.
2. The second project is a preliminary engineering project that would design an emergency action plan for both Hobart Reservoir Dam and Marlette’s Dam.
· It is important to have a plan for the water from Marlette Lake whether it is an emergency backup supply or that it be used as a primary supply with the other water.
Mr. Meizel noted that his office works with the Division of State Parks and the Division of Forestry to keep the road system in good condition. On the Lakeview side from Red House down to the diversion tanks, the road is kept very primitive and open enough to get a truck through. Regarding bicycle traffic, he added there has been more and more bicycle traffic through the Lakeside. If the traffic increases, the road may have to be closed off.
Addressing questions posed by Mr. Dini, Mr. Meizel covered the following points:
· The water rights for Gold Hill, Silver City, and Virginia City are from a historical civil decree.
· When requests were made to import water out of Virginia City, it was determined that the water could only be used in those areas.
· There is a separate water right on Marlette Lake that is for 3,000 acre-feet.
· The state’s water rights were secure but the state should be prudent and responsible regarding Marlette Lake water.
· It is important to keep the state’s water rights current, which is why the engineering study has been requested. It was his opinion, that if a gravity-feed pipeline brought the water into the water system, it could be used year round.
Senator Jacobsen stated it was his opinion that a review of those water rights should be completed to make sure everything was in order.
Pat McGinness, Engineer, Buildings and Grounds Division, Department of Administration, explained there is 3,000 acre feet of water from Marlette Lake which is predicated only on using three feet of the draw down because fisheries protection. The water right may be expanded and it may require review at that site. If it is dropped down three feet, it moves the spawning ground of the fish.
Greg Hess, Storey County Commissioner, Storey County, reviewed problems that his county is having with water and the waterline. He commented that Storey County:
· Has an average water bill per person of approximately $100 to $130. The county cannot raise the water rates because people cannot afford it.
· Is looking to acquire grants to replace the waterline, which is in very poor condition, from Lakeview up to Five Mile Canyon.
· Has an exposed water line, which makes it very easy access for people. There is a problem with people shooting holes in the waterline or removing the couplers. It is impossible to get to the waterline during the winter because of the elevation and steep grade that it is located on.
· Could improve the waterline more quickly if the water meter could be moved back to its original position.
Richard Bacus, Public Works Director, Storey County, stated that he has been the Public Works Director since 1980. He commented that Storey County:
· Has a grant for Virginia City where an engineer is looking at the pipeline. The engineer estimates that the pipeline needs approximately $2 million worth of improvements.
· Is having difficulty getting easements for the pipeline. Unless easements are attained, the original route of the pipeline would have to be used which is very steep cliff over bare rock. Replacement pipeline is being acquired, which will be the most difficult challenge in upgrading the water system.
· Is not neglecting the pipeline but working with what little resources it has. The county loses an average of 3 to 4 million gallons a month where there is leakage out of the reservoir.
Chairman Jacobsen requested that the Storey County officials put together a tour for the committee and begin the tour from Virginia City and follow the pipeline to Lakeview.
Addressing Senator Amodei’s question, as to what 15 million gallons of raw water sells for, Mr. Meizel responded that the raw water rate is 25 cents per 1,000 gallons.
In response to Mr. Dini’s question regarding whether Storey County had considered developing a partnership with Carson City, improving the water line, and purchasing the treated water from Carson City, Mr. Hess stated that there has been discussion that Carson City could transport the water to Mound House and from that point, to Silver City then to a pump station in Virginia City.
Division of State Lands, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Pamela B. Wilcox
Pamela B. Wilcox, Administrator and State Land Registrar, Division of State Lands, SDCNR, stated that her presentation would give a brief overview of Interagency Lake Tahoe Programs and how the programs relate to the Marlette Lake Water System. She explained that the new interagency programs grew out of the Tahoe Presidential Summit and covered the following topics:
· The Tahoe Presidential Summit recognized if Lake Tahoe were to be saved, that everyone needed to help. Every acre in the Lake Tahoe Basin needs to be looked at so that the entire ecosystem can be healthy.
· The 1999 Legislature made funds available for Nevada’s share of the Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program through Assembly Bill 285 (Chapter 514, Statutes of Nevada) - which establishes program to protect Lake Tahoe Basin.
· The Tahoe Presidential Summit made $3.2 million available this biennium for environmental improvement projects and promises the remaining $53.2 million through the year 2007. This would make up Nevada’s $82 million share of that Environmental Improvement Program.
· The 1999 Legislature gave agencies funds to add staff to set up a Tahoe Interagency Team. The team will look at the wildlife resource, vegetative resource, water resource, together and consider it one package.
· Of the nine projects that were approved by the Legislature during the last session, four of the projects will benefit the backcountry around Marlette Lake. The projects include an old growth restoration project, restoring a hiking trail, an upland wildlife enhancement project, and the first phase of the forest enhancement project.
There was no one from the public who wished to make a comment.
Discussion of Issues Related to Marlette Lake Water System
After some discussion among committee members, the committee set November 12, 1999, as the date for the tour of the Virginia City waterline.
Chairman Jacobsen adjourned the meeting at 1 p.m.
A tour was conducted of Marlette Lake that afternoon.
Exhibit A is the “Attendance Record” for this meeting.
Senior Research Secretary
Robert E. Erickson
Research Director, Research Division and nonvoting member of Marlette Lake Advisory Committee
Senator Lawrence E. Jacobsen