TMWA expands Forest Stewardship Program on Mt. Rose to protect watershed

Thanks to private funding TMWA is expanding its Forest Ambassador Program for another year.
Thanks to private funding TMWA is expanding its Forest Ambassador Program for another year.(KOLO)
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 10:32 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Truckee Meadows Water Authorities (TMWA) Forest Stewardship Program on the Mt. Rose Fan has been extended for another year.

While TMWA’s initial partnership was directly with the USFS, the private sector is now supporting the program as well, with retail chain REI joining on.

Over the summer Megan Andrews has been getting to know many of the hikers and bikers, who use the trails around the Mt. rose and Galena area every week.

“They love this forest more than I could ever expected,” she said”

Andrews is an ambassador for the program, which was created in partnership with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) to protect water flows, used by TMWA’s water treatment plant in Mt. Rose, from heavy-use recreation.

“People are really good about staying to the trails, not going off and creating erosion issues for us,” said Andrews.

She starts walking the trails at seven in the morning. So far she has interacted with about 1,500 people and says the biggest issue is trail users not picking up after their pets.

“We recommend that people carry bags with them and be aware that even if you leave the bag out there, it’s going to disintegrate and we can have issues with bacteria and parasites from the dog waste,” said Andrews.

The $50,000 pilot was for one year but thanks to funding from REI, Andrews could be out there next year.

Friday afternoon, the program hosted a tabling event at the store, located at 2225 Harvard Way in Reno.

“We’re also here because this is where people come to gear up to get ready for those trails and so we really wanted to highlight that public-private partnership,” said Katlyn Lonergan, Eastern Sierra & Great Basin program coordinator at NFF.

Recreational impacts such as people going off trails and/or leaving trash create sediment and other materials bad for the water, which can then increase treatment costs.

For more information on how to recreate responsibly, head to https://www.recreateresponsibly.org/

In the future Lonergan said the goal is to add more ambassadors and expand the covered area.