Little Truckee River fish project gets $260K; Squaw donates trees | SierraSun.com

Little Truckee River fish project gets $260K; Squaw donates trees

David Lass
Special to the Sun
Cody Townsend, a professional skier and ambassador for Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, fly fishes this past summer on the Little Truckee River.
Courtesy Trout Unlimited |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — We aren’t quite there, but 2015 is shaping up to be a great year for wild trout in the North Lake Tahoe region.

Trout Unlimited is leading the Little Truckee River Fish Habitat Improvement Project, located between Stampede and Boca reservoirs ,­which will go to construction in September of 2015.

As many anglers around the region know so well, 90 percent of the fish live in 10 percent of the water in the Little Truckee, and this project seeks to change that.

TU will hire a local contractor to add 250 boulders and 100 adult trees to the channel, creating deeper and more complex habitats that support vibrant wild trout populations.

New backwater habitats will be excavated for juvenile trout rearing, new spawning gravels strategically placed, and adult willows transplanted to line the banks with shade and enhance threatened willow flycatcher habitat.

To say these projects take partnerships is an understatement, and two significant advancements to the Little Truckee Project occurred over the past few weeks.

First, the California Wildlife Conservation Board awarded TU and the National Forest Foundation $190,000, which is matched by another $70,000 from NFF.

Second, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows donated and transported a large amount of the massive trees required to build the project at no cost, using repurposed materials left over from the Red Dog Forest Health Project, and providing that good skiing and good fishing really do go hand in hand.

Why should you care? The Middle Truckee River watershed is one of 14 nationally recognized Treasured Landscapes by the National Forest Foundation, and this foundation has been incremental in helping local non-profits raise funding to get good work done on-the-ground.

Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows stepped up in a major way to ensure our restoration project costs which often come from state and federal funding sources at the expense of taxpayers were kept low.

This is how great things get done — good people coming together and getting creative. Trout Unlimited can’t say enough about how lucky we feel to be part of the North Lake Tahoe community.

A special thanks to Mike Livak and Andy Wirth of Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, and Vance Russell of the National Forest Foundation. Happy Holidays, everyone.

David Lass is a California’s Field Director for Trout Unlimited, and he runs the Truckee-Tahoe branch. Visit tahoetroutbum.org to learn more.