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New State Conservationist Lays Out Plans For Nevada's Natural Resources

Washoe County rancher
Ron Nichols/NRCS Photo Gallery

Ranchers depend on the snowpack to irrigate their pastureland, Washoe County, NV

Most people have never had any contact with the state’s conservationist and many probably don’t realize there is a state conservationist for Nevada, let alone know exactly what that person does.

But there is and his name is Ray Dotson.

Dotson began his tenure last week after a serving as an assistant state conservationist for field operations in Arizona.

"Our mission is helping people help the land," Dotson told KNPR's State of Nevada.

The agency is a division of the Department of Agriculture. The team of 60 employees statewide works with private land owners and land owners working on public lands to help them identify natural resources, use those resources in the best way, and protect the resources, Dotson said 

The majority of the work is done in rural areas, but there is a field office in Las Vegas. Dotson said his agency will work farmers with only small plots of land to improve resource management.

Many Nevada residents are skeptical of the federal government, but Dotson said reaching people who may not like the government is about building relationships.  

"I've found in my history of working with this agency that sitting down with people who have opposing views and actually talking and listening to them and developing that relationship slowly over time erodes some of those pre-conceived notions," he said.

He said meeting people, building trust and keeping that trust is part of his job. 

Ray Dotson, State Conservationist

Ray Dotson, conservationist, State of Nevada

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