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Protecting Truckee River from destruction is all hype

With all the effort and taxpayer money being expended to protect the Truckee River from destruction by development, sedimentation and pollution, I’d like to say relax, it’s all political hype.

The reality is the Truckee River isn’t only one of the cleanest in North America and sports some of the best trout fishing around, it appears it’s been getting cleaner ” even with all the development ” since it was classified a “threatened” waterway in the 1970s. So much so it may be declassified by the federal government as soon as 2008.

One thing our taxpayer-subsidized watershed council has shown through out the TMDL identification process is their desire to use this process to create a new regulatory agency similar to TRPA to address erosion in the Truckee River basin. The sad fact for our local political activists and organizations is virtually all the sedimentation currently entering the river is coming from Grays and Bronco drainages and the Mount Rose wilderness.



A TRPA-type agency exists to control erosion by controlling development and use. Since there’s no private property to regulate in the wilderness the argument for more regulation has become essentially baseless.

The last watershed meeting I attended the spin by our local political activists was intense. They’d created a multi-layer map (at taxpayer expense) in an attempt to show how badly the Truckee watershed was suffering. Example, Grays and Bronco brown water drainages were shown as being green and good. And places like Russell



Valley (that has virtually zero impact on Truckee River sedimentation) as in the red zone needing immediate mitigation and regulation. Not.

The spin was so obviously orchestrated by local activists that Lahontan Water Control scientists (the agency in charge) stated they “didn’t like the direction this process was headed” and had decided to commission a two-year scientific study of their own to determine the true condition of the Truckee River.

I love the Truckee River. I have gone out of my way to address and mitigate real erosion problems locally for almost 30 years, as have many of my friends and neighbors. We find it disheartening to see our money being used for partisan political purposes that basically has nothing to do with saving or protecting our environment.

I hope in the future our local “environmental” groups will stop playing politics with our environment and instead lead by example on real issues.

To their credit, the watershed council has recently bought a small piece of private property and is restoring it to slow erosion into the Truckee River. I applaud this new direction. Lead by example. What a quaint concept.

Scott Denham is a Truckee resident.


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