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New NID manager getting acclimated

Eileen JoyceRon Nelson replaced Jim Chatigny as the general manager of the Nevada Irrigation District.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Ron Nelson has been on a honeymoon with a steep learning curve.

About five weeks ago, he took over as general manager of the Nevada Irrigation District. He replaces Jim Chatigny, who retired after 23 years with the district.

Controversial issues are often simmering at NID. A big one may come to a boil Wednesday when NID directors select preferred routes and start environmental documentation for a proposed 51/2 -mile, 4-foot-diameter Banner Mountain irrigation water pipeline.



But Nelson isn’t taking a stance on any specific issues yet.

He’s still too busy getting his bearings, racking up long days of “countless meetings,” and taking tours of NID’s sprawling facilities, which stretch from Jackson Meadows Reservoir high on the middle Yuba River down to the Lincoln area, where NID irrigation water keeps the golf course green at Del Webb Sun City Lincoln Hills.




Nelson thinks he’s finally met all of the district’s roughly 170 employees.

“Good people. Very dedicated to what they’re going, very dedicated to doing a good job,” said Nelson.

“Every day I kind of run into a few more people. You meet them during the day and then you bump into them in the grocery store. That’s the kind of community I want to live in.”

Originally from Richmond, Nelson and his wife, Becky, have been married for 34 years. They have two grown sons.

The Nelsons moved here from the Bend, Ore., area, where Ron spent 22 years as manager of the Central Oregon Irrigation District. That district uses 450 miles of canals to provide agricultural and industrial water for about 45,000 acres.

“Twenty-two years in Oregon went by in just a heartbeat,” Nelson said. “I was real close to retirement. (But) the opportunity to live here and get involved in this was too good to pass up.”

The same types of issues cropped up in Bend, he said.

“While there may be these controversies, the people I’ve met are all very sincere about working them out,” he said.

“I just don’t see anything out there that we can’t go to work on or make some good headway.”

Despite being new to his job and the area, Nelson was quick to take a stand on one issue: he’s glad it finally rained.

“If I did everything else wrong and there was plenty of water, I’d be a success,” he said.

Nelson’s annual salary is in the low $90,000s, he said. He doesn’t have an employment contract with the district.


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