BLM awards city for Silver Saddle wetlands project

With still water nearby and the peace and beauty of a warm spring day in Carson City, a willet drifted down and landed behind officials dedicating the new Silver Saddle Ranch wetlands project Friday.

Carson Mayor Ray Masayko received the crystal Award of Merit by the Bureau of Land Management during the ceremony for the city's project.

"It couldn't have happened without the land to do it," Masayko said. The bureau owns the Silver Saddle Ranch along Carson River Road and agreed to allow the city to place the wetlands at the site.

The city and bureau are partners in the use of water on the property.

"The Silver Saddle Ranch is the perfect place to do this," Masayko said. "We had a lot of partners and a lot of help. This is really beneficial to the people we work for, the citizens of Carson City."

The bureau, which acquired the 703-acre ranch in 1997 in a land exchange with Perma-Bilt Homes and the American Land Conservancy, offered 27 acres of the ranch to the city this year for the project. Carson City purchased water rights to supply the ranch crops and irrigation.

Recently, the city built 5-acre pond, fed by the Carson River and a 22-acre marsh. The city was required by the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers to build the a 20-acre wetland at the ranch to meet a requirement by the state to make up for loss of wetlands in the city from the Carson freeway.

The project has been hailed as a success, drawing birds and wildlife to the new pond. Karen Kish was prepared Friday with binoculars and a camera to watch birds enjoy their new play area. She had spotted waterfowl and shorebirds, including the willet, black-necked stilts and American avocets.

"It's a well-inhabited area," Kish said. "Any place you can preserve or reconstruct a wetland, it's tremendously important for wildlife in general. It's a great location and you can already tell it's going to be used."


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