weather icon Clear

Xeriscaping continues at BOR office

Clean, Green Boulder City is now a little less green, but according to officials from the Bureau of Reclamation, it’s for a good cause, saving more than two million gallons of water a year.

Those who have driven by the Bureau’s offices lately have seen that the grassy hill is no longer that. Instead, the hill is now dirt and boulders as the next phase of work is underway to turn the hill into a xeriscape setting. Xeriscaping is the practice of designing landscapes to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation so little or no water beyond what the natural climate provides is necessary.

The $4.5 million project, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will replace the lawn and associated turf surrounding the facilities with low-water usage vegetation, including drought-tolerant and native trees, shrubs, and plants.

When completed, the regional office grounds will feature a meandering path surrounded by small groves of native plants, trees, and shrubs. Construction for the xeriscape project is scheduled to continue through October.

Last week, BOR Public Affairs Specialist Doug Hendrix and Lower Colorado Basin Regional Engineer Tonya Hart discussed the progress of the project and community feedback.

Work began on the project in May and prior to that the public was invited to attend an open house to talk with BOR officials and see a conceptual design. That design has since been changed somewhat but the majority of the plan remains in place. Prior to proceeding, the BOR worked with the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office in order to receive its analysis of the proposed work. They also worked closely with the Boulder City Historic Preservation Commission as well as the National Park Service.

“We get that this is a very historical property,” Hendrix said. “That’s not lost on us. That’s the reason we’re taking our time and inviting feedback through the entire process. We want to make sure the community is fully onboard as we move forward.”

Over the years, several types of grass were planted on the hill, including Bermuda, which can have a root system eight feet deep.

“So, if you don’t remove and kill the entire root system, it will come back,” Hart said. “Even from small pieces of root, it will regenerate and regrow. For the herbicide to be effective in killing the Bermuda grass, you have to make sure the Bermuda grass is thriving. So, we had to irrigate the grass to get it green. In order for that to happen, the overnight lows have to be above 65 degrees. And because we had such a cool spring and early summer, it delayed the project a bit.”

The project is still in the demolition phase, which should be finished this week and rough grading will begin. The hill will be more gradual than in the past to accommodate the trail that will meander through the xeriscape. Other amenities will include elevated community gathering spots and interpretive signs profiling the historic significance of the building and native vegetation placed at the site.

Huge boulders, which were brought in, will be placed throughout the hill, which will take at least two weeks to complete. This will help with erosion and runoff. Irrigation will then be installed but the plants won’t go in until October to ensure they‘re are thriving and not overstressed by the heat. In the process, the BOR will be switching from municipal water for the irrigation to raw water.

Both said that when the project of removing the grass was first announced, the news didn’t go over well with some.

“Initially, it was a mix of curiosity and approval, frustration or flat-out anger,” Hart said.

Hendrix added, “When we were taking out the grass and removing the trees, we were changing a viewshed that had been there for 75 years. People were asking why. Now, I think they’re seeing progress, and getting the fact we’re going to be bring something very tasteful back in.”

They also acknowledged that early on, some were concerned that the grass removal was going to extend to Wilbur Square, which is owned by the city and not the government. The city is, however, looking at portions of its parks and golf courses where grass can be removed to reduce water usage.

“This aligns us with Nevada state law, which requires all non-functional turf to be removed,” Hart said. “Because our lawn was not a park, it falls under that category. In addition, as the water master for the Colorado River and lower basin, we need to be an example and good stewards of our water.”

It’s official(ish)

It’s all over, at least until November.

Slice of Americana turns 76

Boulder City’s annual July 4 Damboree is almost like a Norman Rockwell painting that has jumped off the canvas and has come to life.

Capturing life through the lens of a camera

If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s safe to say that Bill Bruninga has enough to fill an entire set of encyclopedias.

Boulder City dodges insurance inflation

Insurance is one of those things that are super important but that most people are not going to discuss over a beer like it was a football game. Which is a nice way of saying that the subject can be a little… dry.

It’s (un)official

“Every vote counts and every vote has not been counted.”

City council to mull recruitment firms

When departing and now former city manager Taylour Tedder was on his way out, he took some steps to try to smooth out the transition to a new city executive in the form of five recruitment firms vying for the call to be hired to conduct a nationwide search for his replacement.

Brown proud to represent BC in Nationals

For those who are into the rodeo scene, you may want to remember the name Aiden Brown in years to come.

Church seeks senior housing

Leaders of the Boulder City United Methodist Church have a project in the works that they feel will benefit many in the community but understand those who may have concerns.

Fancier/foster permit back on city council agenda

If you call in to a city council meeting for public comment twice in one meeting, you officially qualify as a gadfly. (noun: 1) a fly that bites livestock, especially a horsefly, warble fly, or botfly. 2) an annoying person, especially one who provokes others into action by criticism.) Fred Voltz, already quoted in these pages for comments on other issues, also addressed the issue of pet breeding, likening the practice to prostitution or the dealing of narcotics.

Liquor Board approves BC Company Store request

In the 1930s, the original Boulder City Company Store included a “club room.” The city was officially dry until the late 1960s, so booze would not have been officially served. Except it was.