Chicago Park man named Conservationist of the Year |

Chicago Park man named Conservationist of the Year

Scott Knies of Sunshine Valley Ranch was recently awarded the Conservationist of the Year award by the Nevada County Resource Conservation District.

The awardee bought 60 acres in the Chicago Park area for its rural beauty and to establish a working landscape.

Knies treated the poison oak and mountain misery, and he cleared the manzanita and ladder fuels which opened the area for pasture grasses for a small, grass-fed beef operation. He also installed fencing and cross-fencing for proper rotation of cattle.

Knies also put his property into the Williamson Act land conservation program so it can remain in agricultural production and offer open space for wildlife and rural aesthetics.

District 1 Supervisor Nate Beason presented a plaque to Knies on behalf of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors at the recent awards. State Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, presented him with a plaque from the Nevada County Resource Conservation District and a Conservationist of the Year ranch sign.

Chris White of Balance Hydrologics received the Special Recognition award for his dedication and volunteerism in the community to improve watershed health.

White assists local watershed groups with water quality monitoring, calibrating equipment, watershed volunteer work days, invasive weed eradication and river clean-ups. He is in the hydrology consulting business.

Alan and Jo Haight of Riverhill Farms received the Watershed Award for their good agricultural practices and water quality research.

Alan Haight received a grant to test the surface water coming onto his property, and he checked it as water ran through his farming area and as the water ran off of his land. The results showed that, through best management practices such as cover crops, Riverhill Farm filtered and improved the surface water quality.

The Forest Health Award went to Fowler Timberlands’ Charles Fowler for long-term commitment to managing and improving the timber stand and improving the overall forest health and wildlife habitat.

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