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Cooperative Extension educator to be recognized for watershed conservation efforts

Posted 1/18/2018

Lewis on a boat in front of pine trees

Douglas County Extension Educator Steve Lewis will be recognized for his more than 28 years of watershed conservation. Photo by Michele Lewis.

University’s Steve Lewis awarded for work with Carson River watershed

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Douglas County Extension educator Steve Lewis will be recognized for more than 28 years of conservation efforts next month, when he receives the Andy Aldax Award for Exemplary Service in Conservation and Protection of the Carson River Watershed. The award, given annually by the Carson Water Subconservancy District since 2007, is given to individuals or organizations who have been actively involved in Carson River watershed conservation activities for 10 or more years, have worked toward the district’s Carson River Watershed Vision, and live or work in the watershed. Lewis will receive the award at the district’s Feb. 21 board meeting.

“I am most humbled by this recognition as I join a list of individuals who have worked with the future in mind for the watershed we want to create,” he said.

Lewis has been involved with more than 17 groups that actively work to educate and participate in conservation efforts for Carson River management and preservation. He has educated agriculture producers, land managers, decision-makers, businesses and communities on many topics related to the watershed, including flood safety in master-planning, groundwater management, agriculture benefits to both wildlife and communities, sage-grouse conservation and wildfire safety.

In addition, Lewis has organized land conservation meetings and coordinated planning workshops with churches, schools and community groups, participating in over 4,000 meetings. He also wrote multiple fact sheets and publications, including working with Extension Water Resources Specialist John Cobourn to write the first Cooperative Extension publications on protecting Nevada communities from flash floods.

Lewis and Cobourn founded northern Nevada’s first citizens’ group on flooding as well, which went on to influence Douglas County to add a flood control element to the 1996 County Master Plan. The pair also led the team that brought community members together to form the watershed group, the Carson River Coalition.

“The river and its watershed are our lifeline,” Lewis said. “We can’t have a healthy community without a healthy environment. Healthy air, water and land quality all contribute to community well-being.”

Lewis’s most recent project included working with Cobourn and others to determine how much of the floodplain lands in Carson City and Douglas and Lyon Counties are protected from development and continue to perform as functional floodplains.

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