Sin Keeps Development Away, Preserves Nature

The former site of the Mustang Ranch turns out to be an important piece of a floodplain restoration project in Nevada, and was inadvertently preserved because of the presence of the famous brothel.
December 17, 2009, 1pm PST | Tim Halbur
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The Truckee River, long diverted from its natural floodplain, began heating up and losing its ability to absorb wastewater.

"As city officials grew worried, the Nature Conservancy began peddling an ambitious plan that included moving the river back to its old beds, exterminating invasive weeds and replanting forest and other native plants along the Truckee's banks."

"'We joke that in Nevada that we only work on properties near brothels,"'said Mr. Hazelwood of the conservancy. 'They like their privacy - they stay concentrated instead of developing out so they can keep an eye on things. It works for us.'"

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Published on Thursday, December 17, 2009 in The New York Times
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