Nearly 1,000 community volunteers boost the health of the Truckee River |

Nearly 1,000 community volunteers boost the health of the Truckee River

More than 1,000 people from the Truckee-Tahoe, Sacramento and Bay area communities participated in last weekend’s celebration of the Truckee River.Sponsored by the Truckee River Habitat Restoration Group, the third annual Truckee River Day brought people interested in the health of the river to Granite Flat Campground to work and the Truckee Community Center Saturday night for a symposium: Whispers from the river: The early Truckee River Landscape.”To say the weekend was a success is an understatement,” said TRHRG Executive Director Kathleen Eagan. “The outpouring of community interest in the river was astounding.”Saturday symposiumEagan said especially encouraging was the participation at the symposium. More than 150 people attended the evening gathering to listen to three speakers talk about the natural, cultural and economic history of the river, as well as the future of its health.”We knew we needed to offer participants more river history,” said Ray Butler, group boardmember and symposium organizer. “Every time people signed up for a work group for Truckee River Day, the majority would opt for a group where a leader could provide historical information. We decided on a symposium format.”The symposium included Jean McNicol, a Washoe Indian elder; Susan Lindstrom, a Truckee anthropologist; and Mike Barbour, a University of California, Davis, professor of plant ecology.McNicol spoke about how the Washoe indians used the Truckee and how they had to yield to the Central and Virginia & Truckee railroads. She said the right-of-ways the companies permitted the tribe to hunt on became barren and polluted, discontinuing the tribe’s food source.Lindstrom talked about historic logging and fishing practices along the river, and how they led to the river’s diminishing health and the demise of the Lahontan Cutthroat trout.Barbour continued this discussion and tied past and present land and river uses to today’s issues on the river. He compared a similar area along a Mexican mountain range to the eastern side of the Sierra, comparing forest use and management. He also offered options for introducing large scale controlled burning in the Sierra as a way of increasing forest health.”This mix of speakers was perfect,” Butler said. “The synergy between them made for an exceptional presentation of the Truckee River.”Butler said questions posed by the audience showed the high level of understanding of the river by area residents.”The questions showed a high level of sophistication,” he said. “People definitely have a good understanding of Truckee’s environment.”The night’s energy continued into Sunday morning when the masses of volunteer workers arrived at Granite Flat Campground south of Truckee to reorganize into smaller work groups.Workgroups headed out to different areas within the Truckee River watershed. Work areas included:Little Truckee River above Sagehen, to plant willows.Little Truckee River between Stampede and Boca reservoirs, to stabilize the banks near the Boca Weir.Donner Creek, to clean up the debris left behind by transient campers.Truckee River from Tahoe City to Alpine Meadows, to clean up trash on the river banks.Pole, Silver and Jackass creeks, to plant willows and stabilize the banks.At the campground, Sierra Watershed Education Partners, as well as the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and California Fish and Game, set up interpretive displays to educate children and adults about the health of the Truckee River watershed.Lahontan presented a scale model of the watershed to children, while volunteers organized hands-on activities and games.Fish reintroductionThe finale was the 4 p.m. arrival of the Nevada Division of Fish and Wildlife truck with 400 Lahontan Cutthroat trout fingerlings.Hundreds of children stopped what they were doing, ran for their buckets, filled their buckets with water and stood in line to get their fingerling.Bob Williams, field supervisor for the NFW office, said the strain of trout released Sunday was the closest biologists have come to matching the historic trout that once lived in Pyramid Lake and are now extinct.”We need to work with our partners in both states to ensure that our current practices change with the needs of the river,” he said. “It will take several years for the effects to be seen from Sunday’s event.”The released fish were first tagged and banded so biologists can follow their progress.”This was my first river day,” Williams said. “I thought it was a great event. Public outreach is an important part of what our office does. We got a chance to get out our message.”Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.comVisitors Guide | News | Diversions | Marketplace | Weather | CommunityCopyright, Materials contained within this site maynot be used without permission.About… 

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