weather icon Partly Cloudy

Larger conservation area proposed

Boulder City could have a larger area conservation area for desert wildlife and more space for solar revenue if Clark County approves proposed changes to a local easement boundary.

At its meeting on Tuesday, May 8, City Council unanimously approved asking the Clark County Desert Conservation Program to adjust the Boulder City Conservation Easement boundary to include additional land adjacent to the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area and to exclude land immediately south of the original solar energy area.

This change would increase the city’s easement area by 2.2 percent and make almost 2,000 more acres available for solar energy development.

“This is not a rush project,” said Councilman Kiernan McManus. “It has been looked at for some time.”

The Boulder City Conservation Easement, also known as the Tortoise Easement, was established in 1995. It is in the Eldorado Valley and contains 86,538 acres. It covers 65 percent of the total land area within the city limits and its primary purpose was to create a dedicated desert tortoise habitat preserve.

This change is needed to facilitate the option agreement between Boulder City and Copper Mountain Solar 5 LLC to develop a new solar energy facility immediately south and adjacent to Copper Mountain Solar 1, 2 and 4, which was approved by council April 24.

Sempra Renewables is the company behind Copper Mountain Solar 5 LLC, and McManus said that they have been an “excellent partner with the city” with their solar projects and this project. They did the necessary ecological study for it at their own expense and have agreed to safely move any desert tortoises that will be displaced with the changed boundary to a new habitat of equal or better conditions.

“The city will wind up with more solar lease revenue and the conservation area will grow,” he said.

Mayor Rod Woodbury agreed with McManus and said that this project has been ongoing since 2011.

“We’re just facilitating the project, and the county can weigh in on this,” he said.

Resident James Adams said he was not necessarily against changing the boundary, but he was concerned about the precedent that would be set with changing the purpose of land areas and their boundaries.

“The county will have to conduct their own analysis of the two sites and make their recommendation to the County Commission,” said Special Projects Coordinator Brok Armantrout.

Armantrout said it is unknown when the county will finish that analysis.

Even though the Boulder City conservation area was originally intended for desert tortoises, the new portion also will be suitable for additional desert wildlife, Armantrout said, adding it would not be suitable for solar energy production.

“The city had reviewed the site proposed for inclusion in the conservation easement for possible solar development as well. … due to the close proximity to the mountain range combined with an ever-increasing slope, the site was not ideal for solar production,” he said.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, council:

■ Introduced a bill that could add a new chapter to the section of the city ordinance about boards and commissions. It would prohibit board members from giving any information about pending matters or any action taken by the board to the media and pass on any inquiries from the media to the staff liaison.

It would also allow the city manager to remove any board member appointed by the City Council for a violation of city administrative policy. Council will consider the bill at its May 22 meeting.

■ Presented the 2018 Historic Preservation Award to Linda and Marvin Schrick for the work they did on their home at 1360 Denver St.

■ Heard presentations by Clark County School District’s Associate School Superintendent Lorna James-Cervantes, King Elementary School Principal Anthony Gelsone and Mitchell Elementary School Principal Benjamin Day about the school district achievement and updates on the local elementary schools.

■ Heard a presentation about the proposed plans for the Nevada State Railway Museum visitors center from its Director Randy Hees; Peter Barton, division administrator of Nevada Divisions of Museums and History; and Larry Bender, Boulder City Economic Vitality Commission member.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
City offers prizes for vaccines

Boulder City is incorporating several new things to help more people in town get vaccinated against COVID-19 — cash, prizes and mobile clinics.

Train museum director to retire

Changes are coming to the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum.

Mask up; new directive for indoors spaces starts Friday

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak imposed a new mandate Tuesday, July 27, that requires everyone, vaccinated or not, to wear masks indoors in public places in counties with high rates of COVID-19 transmission, including Clark County.

Lake Powell hits historic low

Lake Powell, the country’s second-largest reservoir, reached its lowest water level on record this weekend, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Lagan completes two Olympic events; misses finals

It’s two events down and two more to go for Boulder City’s first female Olympian, Alexis “Lexi” Lagan.

Masks are back for some

Employees in Boulder City and the rest of Clark County will have to wear masks in public indoor places regardless of their vaccination status according to a new mandate.

Tokyo bound: Lagan confident about competing in Olympics

Alexis “Lexi” Lagan of Boulder City is confident about competing at the Olympics in a few days despite having to train with a broken ankle.

Coalition urges protection for shrinking Colorado River

A group that included environmentalists, elected leaders and officials from business and agriculture gathered July 15 to put forth a slate of demands for a new approach to managing the Colorado River.

Freedman named state museums administrator

Myron Freedman has been named administrator of the Nevada Division of Museums and History, overseeing the state’s seven museums. The director of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs made it official in June after consulting with the Board of Museums and History.