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Trout Creek to be restored

Scott Hess
Sierra Sun illustrationThis map shows the history of Trout Creek
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Truckee’s ever-changing Trout Creek is one step closer to being restored close to its original state.

Relying on old topographical maps and word-of-mouth, the Town of Truckee staff proposed to restore the creek, which senior civil engineer Pat Perkins said has been “heavily disturbed in the last 100 years.” Thursday, the town council approved the first stage of the project: developing the plan.

The entire council supported the plan, which calls for not only the restoration of the creek, but also flood mitigation measures.

Town staff recognized the three goals of the Trout Creek Restoration Project as restoring a 6,600-foot section of the creek from Bridge Street in Historic Downtown to the confluence of the Truckee River, constructing “detention basins” to treat storm water runoff and mitigate the possibility of a flood and include the town in the restoration process.

The restoration also calls for the implementation of more water treatment for the creek, which the town says will help fish habitat.

Perhaps the biggest job in the restoration is renovating the creek bed. “We’re going to keep [the creek] in the same creek bed, but make the creek meander back and forth,” Perkins said before the town council hearing. This, in turn, would also create wetland areas around the meandering creek.

While the town would like to return Trout Creek close to its original state, Perkins said at the hearing it is impossible; parts of the original creek bed are now covered by buildings in downtown.

Another obstacle: The town does not own all the property the creek currently runs through. “We still have some property issues to work out,” Perkins said.

The town hopes to include the public mostly through outreach programs to the schools, Perkins said. Activities like monitoring the water in the creek and checking acidity levels, as well as monitoring habitats in and around the creek, could be beneficial to both students and the town, he said.

The project carries an estimated price tag of $1.5 million, but will be mostly paid by two grants: one from the California State Parks Department and the other from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.

While the development of a plan has been approved, this is as far as the town can go at the moment. Once the town develops a final plan and environmental report, it will have to come back to the council for further review.

Perkins estimated the project, which will be worked on in six different “reaches” of Trout Creek, may start next year, but definitely by 2005.


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