Making time for the Truckee |

Making time for the Truckee

Sierra CountisSierra Sun

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunSusan Diane and her dog Sophe go for their daily walk in Martis Valley last week. Truckee River Day will feature volunteer projects throughout the Truckee River watershed, including Martis Valley.

Hundreds of volunteers of all ages will pitch in to help plant, dig, weed and celebrate the Sierra Nevada scenery as part of Sundays 11th annual Truckee River Day.Nearly 400 people have signed up to participate in a number of projects from Martis Valley meadows to the Legacy Trail to clean up the regions rivers and creeks in a conservation effort organized by the Truckee River Watershed Council.You dont become a volunteer for this if you dont want to get dirty, said Beth Christman, Truckee River Watershed Council program manager.Christman said she hopes to have as many as 500 volunteers to help with 10 different project sites the council has established for this years Oct. 15 event. A few projects will be dedicated to the Martis Valley area. About 100 people, including members of the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, will reseed a trail with wetland grass that runs alongside the Martis Creek, she said.The U.S. Forest Service has been involved with Truckee River Day since it began. Joanne Roubique, Truckee ranger, said the Forest Service is leading three larger projects this year. There is a restoration effort at Lake of the Woods, north of Truckee on Highway 89; conservation work on Merrill Creek and Davies Creek north of Stampede Reservoir; and weed control along the Truckee River between Olympic Heights and Glenshire.Removing the invasive musk thistle growing along the Truckee River is necessary to ensure that native vegetation continues to thrive and prevent erosion, said Susi Urie, east zone botanist for the Tahoe National Forest.Christman said the council carefully avoids damage that might be caused by a large number of people in delicate areas. She said a smaller number of volunteers are assigned to work on projects located in more sensitive areas.

Volunteer work is very important to getting the projects accomplished, Roubique said.Its a wonderful educational opportunity and it gives us a chance to interact shoulder to shoulder with all the volunteers, Roubique said. A planting project on the Legacy Trail, near Truckee River Regional Park, invites youngsters to bring their garden tools, Christman said. She said when the Department of Fish and Game truck arrives, children line up with buckets in hand to release juvenile trout into the river. The trout release has always marked the celebratory close to Truckee River Day.Truckee River Day has had a big turnout from the get-go, fluctuating from 400 to as many as 800 volunteers in the past, Christman said. A lot of our volunteers have been involved for 10 years, Christman said. Weve got a formula that works pretty well.