Weather limits turnout for Prosser Creek habitat public meeting | SierraSun.com

Weather limits turnout for Prosser Creek habitat public meeting

Luke Beasley
Sierra Sun

The Truckee River Watershed Council held a public meeting Wednesday to share details about and solicit public opinion on its Prosser Creek Fish Habitat Improvement Plan. The volatile weather had different ideas, making driving dangerous and keeping attendance down.

The Council’s Program Manager Beth Christman said turnout was “very low,” adding that another public presentation will be held as a result.

“We’ll have some form of another presentation sometime in the near future,” Christman said. “We have a plan that’s definitely based on good science, but we’d really like to trot it out to different people and regulatory agencies to see what their reaction is.”

Despite the California-wide freeze on grant funding due to a massive budgetary shortfall, which affected numerous other Council activities, the Prosser Creek project was able to move forward. Still, Christman said, the project remains in the planning stages and is at best a year away from breaking ground.

According to the Council’s webasite, the plan would tackle several problems relating to fish habitat.

“Currently, the reach of Prosser Creek below the dam provides little habitat for aquatic life. The channel is overly wide, in stream flows spread out so water levels are frequently very low, and the banks provide little to no shading due to lack of vegetation,” the report said. “All these factors lead to high water temperatures that will not support critical life stages of fish and the insect food sources for the fish.”

The construction of the Prosser Creek Dam led to the augmentation of these problems, which Christman said likely originated with an ice dam built in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Christman said that work would be done to narrow and deepen a half-mile stretch of the creek.

“By creating a deeper channel, you can create better water temperature, which would help it become a more desirable fish habitat,” Christman said. “

Though the state funding freeze did not inhibit progress on the project, funding will continue to be an issue, Christman said.

“We’ll need grants to move forward. It’s hard to know in this day and age, but we’re certainly going to keep trying,” she said, in reference to the struggling economy and difficulty acquiring support. “The attitude we’re taking is, whatever funding opportunities are out there, we’re going after them. If you don’t ask, you’re never going to get the money … that’s for sure.”