WASHINGTON - A Senate committee has approved funding for the Douglas County open space preservation consideration.
"The preservation of open space in Douglas County is a goal worth fighting for," Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., said Wednesday afternoon.
Douglas County officials have been working to preserve open space in the Carson Valley, and are expected to discuss the issue at a commission meeting today.
"This legislation will help bring that worthy goal to fruition. The Carson Valley is truly one of Nevada's gems, and we should do everything we can to help preserve its quickly shrinking open space," Bryan said.
The Douglas County Commission has been meeting with Lincoln County leaders on the pending Lincoln-Douglas Exchange. The proposed exchange involves selling federal land in Lincoln County and using the proceeds to buy open space in Douglas.
Sen. Bryan's legislation will adjust the boundary of the Toiyabe National Forest in Douglas County to shift the extent of authority of privately owned rural land in the Carson Valley from the U.S. Forest Service to the Bureau of Land Management.
The legislation is necessary in order to secure conservation easements, on a completely voluntary basis, from private landowners to help preserve open space in Douglas County. In addition, without this legislation, landowners would face the prospect of a bureaucratic nightmare by having to negotiate with two completely separate federal agencies and departments in their efforts to obtain a conservation easement administered by the bureau.
Conservation easements are a voluntary contract that permanently limits future development while still allowing landowners to retain ownership and use of their property.
"I fully support the goal of protecting land for its inherent, open space value," Reid said. "This bill will ensure that the private landowners in the Carson Valley will have to work with only one federal agency, and one set of rules and requirements as any land exchange process moves forward."