Committee faces quick wrap-up of NH 2020 |

Committee faces quick wrap-up of NH 2020

The foot soldiers of Nevada County’s soon-to-be-ended long-term planning program are disappointed, concerned and still on their volunteer jobs.

Eleven of the 20 members of Natural Heritage 2020’s Community Advisory Committee grappled Thursday evening with changing their monthly meeting schedule after supervisors shifted gears Tuesday and directed them to finish their work by June 30. They plan to meet three more times: May 23, June 13 and June 27.

They asked county supervisors to let them and the public see scientists’ work on a 600-page biological inventory of the county, due to be finished at the end of the month.

“The main event was to be in reviewing the recommendations for science and an open-space district. If this committee isn’t going to do it, who is?” said James Meshwert, superintendent of Pleasant Ridge School District and committee member. “I didn’t sign on for one year, or two years. I signed on to produce a plan for the county.”

Meshwert said it was his understanding that the work of the committee would be based largely on what the scientists produced.

Other committee members picked up the mournful tone to talk about what they wanted next after a year and a half of monthly meetings.

Brian Bisnett, also a committee member, called the report from biologists and the ensuing recommendations based on that report “the brass ring.”

Barbara Bashall, executive director of the Nevada County Contractors Association called the biologists’ report “much more important” to her than the recommendations from NH 2020 forestry, agricultural and recreation subcommittees.

The report from the biologists “will greatly affect my membership,” Bashall said. “Frankly, I can tell you I don’t have a lot of motivation on any other subject.”

The scientific report is not a complete biotic inventory of the county, county resource planner Kateri Harrison said. Biologists surveyed habitat only for plants and about 5 percent of the animals living here, she said.

Dennis Ball, a committee member and owner of Indian Springs Vineyard, said, “At least we had some charge over our destiny.

“One of the greatest losses at this point is lack of policy,” he said. “I thought we could stand up to the enforcement of outside agencies.”

John Regan said a failure of the foreshortened program is that the advantages of an overarching planning policy were never explained.

“There are so many barrels pointed at business and property owners from the state and federal agencies, but not the county,” he said. “I think we lost the P.R. war.”

Chairman Chauncey Poston honed in on dates when enough members are available to set up a meeting schedule.

“I realize people are taking their best cut at it,” Poston said.

Supervisor Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, the county’s representative on the committee who, in a surprise move, asked that the program be ended next month, was not at the meeting because she injured her Achilles tendon in a dance class, said Steve Enos, NH 2020 program coordinator for the Sierra Business Council, the county’s nonprofit partner in the program.

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