September 28, 2016
by Celeste Tinajero
Comments Off on TMWA Approves Funds For Restoration, Education Efforts

TMWA Approves Funds For Restoration, Education Efforts

SEPTEMBER 21, 2016

By Carla O’Day

Funding of projects that include restoration efforts, education initiatives, surveying and invasive weed control were approved unanimously Wednesday by the Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) board.

The Truckee River Fund Advisory Committee recommended the TMWA board authorize six projects totaling almost $400,000:Image of Truckee River showing tall whitetop outcompeting riparian vegetation. Image: UNR Cooperative Extension.

° Removing invasive weeds along the Truckee River and its tributaries is planned next spring at sites identified by Nevada Land Trust and Truckee Meadows Weed Coordinating Group. Municipal park employees have indicated weed control is the most challenging part of their jobs.

° The stabilization of Donner Creek’s bank is necessary because of a slope near an existing railroad culvert that shows severe erosion.

“The project will create final designs to re-profile the bank and stabilize the area with a combination of large wood, rock, erosion control fabric, revegetation with native, drought tolerant grasses and sedges and riparian plantings,” a report to the TMWA board said. “This will stabilize a severely eroding stream bank, thus largely eliminating one of the largest sources of fine sediment to the downstream-most portion of Donner Creek.”

° The Truckee River Watershed Committee’s Donner Creek Concept Designs project is supposed to improve water quality and habitat along the creek and decrease sedimentation reaching the Truckee River.

° The Watershed Education Initiative will allow Sierra Nevada Journeys to serve 675 students in 25 area classrooms over a four-week period that includes one field-study experience, pre- and post-assessments, classroom extension lessons for teachers, family and community engagement and citizen science.

° One Truckee River’s Phase I implementation will support Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful and Nevada Land Trust with leadership efforts. Two AmeriCorps volunteers will complete a survey inventory of the Truckee River corridor, a watershed survey and provide management support for two additional volunteers. The additional volunteers will complete and implement curricula for schools and generate a watershed education plan.

° Management of the property encompassing Webber Lake, a 220-acre natural lake at the mouth of the Little Truckee River, will address areas of disease and overstock and assist in prevention of wildfires. This will aid in source water protection and reduce amount of sediment entering water due to erosion, which effects water quality. The Little Truckee River is in eastern California and a tributary into the Truckee River.



September 20, 2016
by Celeste Tinajero
Comments Off on A New Leaf Blog from Reno News & Review

A New Leaf Blog from Reno News & Review

Interns spend summer with the Nature Conservancy

This article was published on .
The Nature Conservancy’s interns head out to track Western pond turtles.

Kids across the country are headed back to school. For some, the summer excursion started and ended on the couch. But for four young women, the voyage back to the classroom began with a flight from Nevada to Rhode Island.

The Nature Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program was started in 1995 to connect students with conservation internships. As of this year, high schools in 11 states participate in the program—sending small groups of students to work paid internships with Nature Conservancy field offices in 28 states. 2016 was the third year that students had internships at the River Fork Ranch near Carson City, an 800-acre preserve owned and operated by the Conservancy as a part of its Carson River Project.

“I think one of the challenges we face is that today’s youth are probably growing up more disconnected from nature than previous generations,” said Duane Petite, director the Carson River Project. “And it’s our belief that if young people are not exposed to nature early in life, then they’re going to be less likely to see themselves as stewards of the planet and of the natural world as they reach voting age.”

Petite helps coordinate the internships and acts as a supervisor for the conservation projects the students undertake. He explained that the Conservancy aims to have students work on several different projects during their month-long internships. This year’s projects included the removal of invasive weeds and the tracking of Western pond turtles using radio telemetry.

“They also worked with scientists from Mongolia and France and all over the United States on a water quality research project that’s occurring in several rivers, both in the United States and in Mongolia, but the Carson River is one of those sites,” Petite said.

But the LEAF program isn’t limited to field work. The students spend time visiting universities to learn about conservation career paths ranging from environmental engineering to environmental law. This year, they visited the University of California’s Davis and Berkeley campuses and the University of Nevada, Reno.

The program also aims to teach practical life skills. The students were given a budget, which—with the help of a mentor who was with them 24/7—they had to carefully manage in order to plan things like meals and recreational activities on their days off.

The interns who worked with the Nature Conservancy in Nevada this summer are Amanda Marroquen, Chelsea Lizardo, Carolina Franco and Jessica McMaugh. Before heading back to Rhode Island, they took time to write some thoughts on the highlights and challenges of their internships. After a month with the Nature Conservancy, they all reported that they’re still at least considering a career in conservation.

“I feel as though I would definitely continue pursuing my interest in conservation work,” wrote McMaugh, who finished her senior year shortly before coming to Nevada. “But this experience has taught me what jobs I could potentially have in this type of work that nobody really thinks about, such as environmental lawyer.”

Visit to learn more about the LEAF program.



August 10, 2016
by Celeste Tinajero
Comments Off on Pesticides intended to help bees may actually be dangerous to their health

Pesticides intended to help bees may actually be dangerous to their health

August 9, 2016

Max Carol

Honey bees

Beekeepers often spray hives with pesticides to fight parasites, but these chemicals could have hazardous side effects.

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are a vital component of global agricultural production, mainly due to their role as pollinators. About one third of the food in our diet benefits directly or indirectly from honey bee pollination, including most fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Unfortunately, worldwide bee populations have been in decline over the past few decades. Poor nutrition, pesticides, and parasites like Varroa mites (Varroa destructor) have wrecked havoc on honey bee colonies around the world.

To combat Varroa mites and other parasites that kill honey bees, beekeepers have been applying special pesticides to beehives. These chemicals are supposed to kill mites and leave bees unharmed, reducing infestations and eventually increasing bee populations. However, a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology indicates that many of the pesticides commonly used to protect bees may actually damage bacterial communities in their guts, which can have severe effects on bee health.

The study was conducted on several farms in Virginia, where the annual rate of hive loss is over 30%. Researchers from Virginia Tech extracted DNA samples from bees that lived in four different hives across the farms. Each of the first three hives was treated with a different pesticide (tau-fluvalinate, coumaphos, and chlorothalonil), while the fourth hive was left untreated.

DNA analysis revealed that the structures of bacterial communities residing in the guts of honey bees were altered when the bees were exposed to pesticides. Bees treated with chlorothalonil demonstrated the most severe changes in structure, but all three pesticides affected the structure of the honey bee gut microbiome, or the collective genomes of the microorganisms that live in the guts of honey bees. The researchers believe that the changes to structure caused by pesticides could affect bacterial function, making it harder for bees to metabolize sugars and peptides. These processes are vital for maintaining proper honey bee health.

“Although helpful for ridding hives of parasites and pathogens, the chemicals in beekeeper-applied pesticides can be harmful to the bees,” Mark Williams, the lead author of the study, explained in a press release. “Our research suggests that pesticides could specifically impact the microbes that are crucial to honey bee nutrition and health.”

While pesticides have been cited as a major factor in bee colony declines, the pesticides tested in the study are unique as they were applied to hives with the purpose of protecting bees. Often, bees are harmed by pesticides that are not intended to affect them at all. For example, a study published a few weeks ago in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B showed that some common pesticides could reduce bee sperm counts by 39%.

The authors of the study believe that further research into the side effects of pesticides will be necessary to protect bee populations. According to their report, “The results of this field-based study suggest the potential for pesticide induced changes to the honey bee gut microbiome, and thus warrant further investigation into whether chlorothalonil or other pesticide exposure can have biologically significant impacts on honey bee function, health, and survival.”



August 1, 2016
by Celeste Tinajero
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Golden Pinecone Awards 2016


GREENevada Hosts Community Environmental Awards Event

— Golden Pinecone Awards 2016 to be Held at PepperMill on November 1

Reno, NV. – June 8,  2016.  Local nonprofit GREENevada announced that it will host the Golden Pinecone Awards 2016 to honor outstanding organizations and individuals for their achievements toward improving and sustaining the environment.

The Golden PineCone Awards is a legacy event initiated by Environmental Leadership and run for more than 25 years by Environmental Leadership, Nevada EcoNET and more recently greenUP!  The Golden PineCone Awards 2016 and dinner are being hosted by GREENevada and will take place on Tuesday, November 1, 2016, at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno, Nevada.

GREENevada is seeking nominations for the Golden Pinecone Environmental Awards.  Winners will be chosen in each of the following eight (8) categories:

  • Individual / Volunteer
  • Nonprofit Organization or Federal/State Agency
  • Small Business
  • Medium to Large Business
  • Public Figure/Servant (elected or appointed official)/ Agency Representative
  • Youth Leadership
  • Educational Programming
  • Educator

Nomination forms are online: .  Winners from the past 5 years are not eligible, but updated resubmissions are encouraged for previous nominations.  The same individual or organization may be nominated for more than one category.  Nominations must be received by 12 p.m., on Tuesday, August 30.

The awards recognize individuals and organizations for their efforts to make our community environmentally healthy and safe, and to promote sustainable living practices.  Awards will be presented on November 1 at the Golden Pinecone Awards 2016 Ceremony.  Winners will be selected by a panel composed of community environmental experts and leaders.

For more information:

Contact: Donna Walden

949-306-3465 or



July 7, 2016
by Celeste Tinajero
Comments Off on Major Taylor Summer Ride Club Day Camps

Major Taylor Summer Ride Club Day Camps

This year for summer vacation, middle- and high school-age youth can learn bicycle safety, skills and basic mechanics in a safe outdoor environment through the Reno Bike Project’s Major Taylor Summer Ride Club Day Camps. Two sessions are available based on age group: the first for 15- to 18-year-olds from July 18-22, the next for 11- to 14-year-olds from August 1-5. Each day begins at 9 a.m. and runs to noon—except for the final day of the week, which goes until 2 p.m.—and bicycles are provided by RBP to students.

Since 2013, these camps have been a resource for area pre-teens and teens to learn about safe cycling skills while also building their confidence and knowledge. Daily sessions are held at various outdoor locales throughout the Truckee Meadows, safely teaching different skill sets on both mountain and road bikes, and encouraging physical activity during school breaks.

Experienced cycling instructors teach students bicycle handling, safe riding habits, riding preparedness, rules of the road and even essential mechanical knowledge, with lessons based on their individual skill levels. Interspersed instruction on other topics such as road laws, health and wellness, setting and meeting goals, the environmental benefits of cycling and optimal riding attire also supplement morning rides.

Reno Bike Project’s cycling program—delivered as physical education in schools in addition to the summer day camps—is named for an inspiring cyclist named Marshall “Major” Taylor, the first African-American cyclist to become World Champion in 1899. During his lifetime, he was only the second African-American to win a world championship in any sport, and proceeded to achieve a slew of world records in the face of the era’s heavy racism.

“After seeing the success of Major Taylor clubs in cities across the country, we decided it was time to bring one to northern Nevada,” states Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Reno Bike Project, Noah Silverman. “We want to build lifelong, active cyclists through this program, and know that process begins with the basics taught in a fun and supportive environment.”

On the final day of each session, instructors take their class on a long ride to a select destination and celebrate their progress with a lunch outing. Students are also encouraged to continue their newly established cycling involvement and education with a free yearlong membership to the Reno Bike Project.

The five-day summer sessions cost $95 per participant, and reduced-tuition scholarships are available. For more information or to register, visit or call 775-323-4488.