853 acres of some of the most ecologically rich and scenic stretches along Clear Creek on the eastern slope of the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevada are permanently protected thanks to a partnership between Clear Creek Tahoe and The Nature Conservancy.
Clear Creek is the only tributary to the main stem of the Carson River that flows year round, making its water very important for the entire Carson watershed. The conservation easement safeguards a large swath of land around the creek that will help the water remain pristine and clean. The easement parcels combine with neighboring Forest Service and Washoe Tribal land to provide a larger, unfragmented corridor of habitat that is particularly important as winter range for the declining mule deer population in the area.
The easement protects important habitat types including:
- Alder and willow riparian
- Montane meadow
- Jeffrey pine forest
- Bitterbrush and sagebrush scrub
The upper Clear Creek watershed area supports more than:
- 70 species of mammals
- 170 species of birds
- 21 species of reptiles and amphibians.
Clear Creek Tahoe donated the conservation easement on the 853 acre parcel in the Clear Creek watershed to The Nature Conservancy, ensuring that the land remains natural open space in perpetuity. A conservation easement is a voluntary, legally binding agreement that limits certain types of uses or prevents development from taking place on a piece of property now and in the future, while protecting the property’s ecological values.
“We are honored to have The Nature Conservancy as our conservation partner,” said Jim Taylor, Managing Partner of Clear Creek Tahoe. “We hope that this project and the work we have done to include protected open space can become a model for how to balance development and caring for the environment in other projects in the future.”
The conservation easement is adjacent to a project by Clear Creek Tahoe which includes a planned community and a golf course, and is just one of the elements that help make the project more environmentally friendly. “I was expecting to see a sea of bright green when I arrived – golf courses and other artificial things, but you can’t even see the golf course from here . . . this is beautiful and natural,” said Margie Evans, Clear Creek Watershed Council Coordinator, of the scenic ridgelines and open meadow protected by the easement.
The conservation easement is part of a larger effort to protect important pieces of the Clear Creek watershed that involves a diverse group of partners including the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, Carson City and Douglas County, the US Forest Service Carson Ranger District, the Carson River Coalition, and the Clear Creek Watershed Council. “We owe this great success and the protection of a crucial piece of the Clear Creek and Carson River watersheds to the work of many dedicated partners, as well as the citizens of Carson City and Douglas County who worked to see a portion of this landscape conserved,” said Kathryn Landreth, former State Director of The Nature Conservancy in Nevada.
The Nature Conservancy worked with the Carson Valley Trails Association to design and construct several miles of trails in the Clear Creek area that allow hikers to enjoy the natural beauty along the southern and western portions of the easement area. The new trails are now open to the public. Learn more about hiking on the Clear Creek Trail >