TRUCKEE, Calif. — Looking around the property behind the Truckee rodeo grounds last week, Jeannette Halderman commented on how disturbed the land is.
The Truckee River Watershed Council’s program manager pointed to fencing around a large pond on the site and a berm that channels water through a portion of the Truckee Wetlands.
“Wetlands are often lost to a lot of recreational activities, golf courses, open space recreation,” Halderman explained. “We need to try to preserve what we have left.”
An effort to restore the Truckee Wetlands — which start at the Hilltop area near Cottonwood Restaurant and are interrupted by Old Brockway Road and Estates Drive before continuing near the Martis Valley Estates neighborhood and connecting to Truckee River — is in the beginning stages.
“We’re looking at what’s feasible with what we already have in place that can’t be removed, and you balance it with cost, function and land use,” Halderman said.
The approximately 28-acre project includes five focus areas, with remedies ranging from installing rock structures across a ditch to slow water flow and deposit silts, to adding native wetland plants to catch sediment.
“We’re making it a more functional wetland,” Halderman said. “... It’s fragmented, and it’s going to continue to be fragmented, but at least it will be more functional — that’s from a hydrological standpoint.”
Benefits include cleaner water going into the Truckee River, less peak flows and a longer period of runoff, explained Tony Lashbrook, Truckee town manager.
“The environment is the economy of Truckee,” he said. “The quality of the water in the Truckee River is important to everyone, and to the extent that we can work on a project that makes the area more aesthetically pleasing, enhances wildlife (and) vegetation diversity, and improves water quality with a cooperation of a handful of local Truckee agencies, is a pretty cool thing.”
The town, Truckee Donner Public Utility District, Truckee Sanitation District, Truckee Tahoe Airport District and Truckee Donner Land Trust all own property within the project, and are partnering with the Truckee River Watershed Council on the restoration.
The project will be phased over the next five to eight years, with a goal to have planning and design done this year and implementation in fall 2015, Halderman said. Implementation will depend on securing permits and funding.
It’s estimated to cost more than $1 million; it recently received preliminary funding approval from the Truckee Meadows Water Authority for $50,000 toward design for three of the five focus areas. Additional funding has yet to be secured.
“The environment is the economy of Truckee.”
Truckee Town Manager