Earlier this year, public radio KUNR launched a survey asking members of the community to share topics or issues they would like to hear about from candidates in Nevada’s 2022 election. Many community members expressed concern about climate change and wanted to know how their local politicians would respond to environmental issues. With additional environmental questions collected from a group of University of Nevada, Reno students majoring in various fields, KUNR created a questionnaire for contestants competing in nine races in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County.
This election cycle, there are two candidates vying for the Reno City Council seat in Ward 2. Municipal races in Nevada are nonpartisan:
- Naomi Duerr (Full Member)
- Jay Kenny
Editor’s notes: Candidates were listed alphabetically by last name. We provided candidate responses to our questionnaire, and each response had a 1,000 character limit, except for a yes or no question. Responses have not been edited for spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Candidates’ responses have been checked and editor’s notes have been provided where necessary. Editor’s notes have also been added to provide additional context.
Some candidates did not respond to the questionnaire after being contacted several times; however, we will post their responses if they become available. Contestants were also asked to submit a head shot, and these photos were included subject to availability.
When our area is experiencing poor air quality from wildfire smoke and high temperatures, how would you help the most vulnerable populations in our community, including homeless people and outdoor workers ? (We’d love to hear your local mitigation ideas.)
Key elements for heat protection and air quality for ALL residents are the provision of exterior shade and air-conditioned interior shelter.
The Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Reno Event Center, and schools were all used as emergency shelters. I would go further and proactively designate additional shelter locations for heat and smoke protection.
Outdoor workers pose special challenges. I would consider extending the City of Reno’s new policy (9/22) to protect employees who work outdoors to ALL employers: At AQI 150, provide N-95 masks; at AQI 300+, no outside work should be performed unless deemed essential or for emergency response.
Finally, trees provide shade, reduce overall urban heat gain, and absorb pollutants and toxins from smoke. I would expand the city’s ReLEAF Reno program to increase our trees and minimize local fire hazards by expanding programs to reduce fuel loads and promote defensible space.
According to a City of Reno spokesperson, the policy Duerr is referring to with the September 22 date is the City of Reno Policy 602 related to air quality.
According research by the U.S. Forest Service, trees clean the air when plant surfaces intercept the particles. Trees also absorb gaseous pollutants through their leaves. However, the magnitude and value of the effects of trees and forests on air quality and human health in the United States remain unknown.
ReLEAF Reno is a City of Reno sponsored program designed to preserve and expand Reno’s Urban Forest and combat the heat.
How will you help ensure we have enough drinking water for the growing population of Reno, Sparks and Washoe County? And more broadly, what would you do to improve water management and sustainability in our region?
I was the former Nevada State Water Planner and served as Executive Director of the Truckee River Flood Project. I now sit on the Truckee Meadows Water Authority, the Western Regional Water Commission and the Flood Authority. My professional goal has been water management.
Water management has two fundamental aspects: conserving what we have and increasing the supply.
Conservation: Each Reno resident uses about 110 gallons per capita per day, compared to about 150 gpd nationally. Our conservation savings are due to the use of water meters and conservation messages. We also store a lot of water upstream in reservoirs for use in times of drought, increasing our resilience.
Supply: Approximately 80% of our water comes from the Truckee River (via snow runoff) and 20% from groundwater. My proposals are to increase the use of reclaimed water for irrigation, turn reclaimed water into drinking water, and store more surface water underground where it doesn’t evaporate as easily.
Editor’s notes: For clarity, Duerr referenced his role with the Truckee River Flood Management Authority. In an email to KUNR, Duerr said he got the stat that Reno residents use, on average, 110 gallons per capita per day from Truckee Meadows Water Authority staff and that figure refers to both combined indoor and outdoor water use. Duerr also said the statistic that people use an average of 150 gallons per capita per day nationwide (indoor and outdoor water use combined) comes from historical trends observed by the American Water Works Association.
The Truckee Meadows Water Authority States that significant drought reserves are stored in six upstream reservoirs. The City of Reno website states that the Truckee River provides “80% of all drinking water for residents of the Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County areas.”
Do you believe man-made climate change is real? (Answer yes or no only.)
What other environmental issues would you like to address for your constituency, and how?
You want to develop the following elements:
Climate Change: Trees are the single most cost-effective measure we can take to combat urban heat. In 2016, I started a program called ReLEAF Reno to educate residents on the value of trees and increase the number of trees in the city. Over the past five years, we have planted around 1000 trees. We are now using heatmaps and socio-economic data to prioritize sites and have launched a tree distribution program.
Desert Lands: I have championed city-wide hazardous waste, e-waste, and green waste disposal programs.
Renewable Energy: I advocated for the use of geothermal and solar energy at Moana Pool, sponsored the 1st community solar project in Reno, and promoted electric car charging stations.
Plants and Animals: I support wildlife sanctuaries, helped ban puppy mills, defend bees, and work on wild horse management.
Pesticides: Launch of the first 12 pesticide-free parks.
Water quality: Support the formation of a municipal stormwater service.
Editor’s notes: According to a Environmental Protection Agency study, trees and vegetation are effective tools for lowering surface and air temperatures. However, we were unable to verify that planting trees is the most cost-effective way to combat urban heat. The study indicates that while the benefits of urban forestry can vary widely across communities and tree species, these benefits almost always outweigh the costs.
Duerr launched the ReLEAF Reno Program in 2016. Over the past five years, staff have planted an average of 150 trees in Reno’s parks and open spaces. In total, the City of Reno has added nearly 1,750 trees to the community. As a member of the Reno City Council, Duerr helped draft Legislation 2020 that would ban the commercial sale of dogs and cats in Reno. In 2021, Duerr supported the installation of solar panels in the car parks of Moana Pool, as well as exploring the potential use of the site’s geothermal energy. Later that year, Duerr worked with HERO Environmental Services to provide residents free disposal of household hazardous waste, green waste and electronic waste.
A City of Reno spokesperson says that since the inception of the Arbor Day Subsidized Tree Program in 2019, the City of Reno distributed 982 trees to Reno residents. Although this initiative is called a “gift program”, there is still a small charge for residents to ensure they have some level of investment in the success of the tree.
Learn more about Naomi Duerr on votenaomi.com.
KUNR contacted this candidate several times, and they acknowledged receipt of the questionnaire over the phone, but did not submit responses. We will update this web posting with the answers to the candidate questionnaire if they become available.