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Flood project director Naomi Duerr transitions back to business



Truckee River Flood Management Authority Acting Executive Director Naomi Duerr has accepted a new opportunity to become president of DPE, Inc., a geologic exploration, water and natural resource policy consulting firm. She will also step up as an active partner in MinQuest, Inc., a mineral exploration firm she and her husband helped start in 1998.  Duerr plans to leave the flood authority on June 30.

Duerr, a Professional Geologist with a masters in public administration and policy, cited the boom in the mining industry as something she could no longer ignore.  “For the last six years I have devoted myself to protecting the Truckee Meadows community from floods and enhancing the region’s environment and quality of life.  As of July 1, the Truckee River Flood Management Authority will be ‘up and running,’ and the start-up phase of this new agency will be completed.  This is the perfect time for me to re-focus my energies back on business,” she said.

Duerr noted that her companies’ joint venture partners are investing nearly $6 million in 20 separate mineral drilling programs in Nevada and two other states over the next 6-8 months, and that dozens of people will be employed as a result of these activities.  “We feel we are creating our own mini-economic stimulus program,” she said.  Much of the funding for the effort comes from venture capital that the Duerrs and their business partners have attracted to the region.

During Duerr’s tenure, the flood project adopted the “Living River Plan,” a $1.6 billion plan to provide flood protection and restore the river.   Along with their partners, the project also constructed an award-winning levee and floodwall, restored three sections of the Lower Truckee River, acquired 12 properties,  designed 50 miles of river restoration and fish passage projects, obtained approximately $26 million in grants to support the project, passed a cutting-edge statute (AB 54) to elevate homes above the floodplain, and has plans in the works to re-route the North Truckee Drain in Sparks and replace the Virginia Street Bridge in downtown Reno.

During this time, Duerr also worked with Senator Harry Reid’s office to help develop a federal law to advance the flood project (Public Law 109-103, Section 113) and to obtain yearly appropriations totaling some $20 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue working on the project.  She also worked with the Nevada State Legislature in 2009 to pass an authorizing statute for the project (Senate Bill 175) and helped craft the Joint Powers Agreement under which the new Flood Management Authority was established.  Duerr noted that the environmental impact statement for the flood project should be ready for release soon and that the Authority has been promised a “date” with the Corps generals next year, when the flood project will receive its final review before heading to Congress for authorization.

Duerr said “I leave knowing that the flood project is in very good hands and that the board and staff will continue to do a great job turning the community’s remarkable vision into an even greater reality. The public has been key to the success of this effort, and I will miss working with them most of all.”

Ron Smith, Sparks councilman and chairman of the Flood Management Authority Board, commented that they will sorely miss Duerr’s leadership and said plans to replace Duerr are not yet finalized.

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