One-two-three – each of the local governments has now adopted the One Truckee River Plan when the Reno City Council unanimously voted for it on September 28. The Washoe County Commission and Sparks City Council approved the plan earlier this month. A year-long process established the plan with involvement of many citizens and groups and agencies from the community. The approved plan addresses numerous issues of the Truckee River (and tributaries) through the urban area of the Truckee Meadows.
Community members at the first “One Truckee River Plan” meeting in fall 2015.
The One Truckee River Plan phase one lays out goals for implementation as funding becomes available and a time-frame to accomplish them.
“Goal One: Ensure and protect water quality and ecosystem health in the Truckee River” has six specific objectives with more detailed sub-objectives dealing with storm water, watershed management, human impacts, trees and vegetation, wildlife habitat, and the proper functioning of the river and its floodplain lands to attenuate flooding.
“Goal Two: Create and sustain a safe, beautiful and accessible river connecting people and places” also has 6 specific objectives to address appropriate use and discourage illegal activities, promote planning and management between Cities and County, enhance public safety and access, ensure better transportation and restrooms, add public art and murals, provide housing for homeless and access to medical care as an alternative to living on the river.
“Goal Three: Create an aware and engaged community that protects and cares for the river” has five specific objectives to promote awareness and education of the river’s natural and cultural importance, increase student education and participation, add opportunities for activities for all, inspire culture of stewardship, and ensure easy access to information. The latter could include a Truckee River Visitors Center, a network of kiosks, encouraging collaboration to Native American cultural uses of the river, and opportunities to acquire land or protect natural or cultural resources.
“Goal Four: Create an aware and engaged community that protects and cares for the river” has four specific objectives to create a sustainable organizational model to make implementation of the plan successful, develop partnerships and raise awareness of the plan, bring in funding to support the plan, and improve our understanding of the condition of the Truckee River.
The One Truckee River Plan – OTR Plan – is probably the most comprehensive look, yet, at the needs of the Truckee River and how to make the river a better place to visit while improving water quality, safety, accessibility, and helping residents and visitors to understand what makes a river “healthy”.
One of the key features to the plan is community education and involvement and that is always a positive to help make changes in the river corridor where they are very much-needed today. The next phase of the plan will address downstream of the Truckee Meadows where rapid development in Washoe County and Storey County continue to threaten the river and its vegetative corridor. Phase two of the OTR Plan may well be more controversial since industrial interests have dominated recently with construction of huge new buildings, roads, and bridges.
For now, we can celebrate a new approach to benefit our area’s most important natural resource – the Truckee River.
The goals of the planning effort are to create a common vision for the river, provide for comprehensive planning, a forum for collaboration & communication, coordinated action, and funding.
The 9 stakeholder groups tackle issues that are often interrelated and multi-jurisdictional. Dealing with river health, public safety, and water quality, for example, involves at a minimum, understanding how to solve problems ranging from encampments along the River to increasing biodiversity of riparian species and finding funding to accomplish them.
Outcomes from the 9 issue areas go next to the core planning team which will be meeting in February 2016. OnStrategy will produce a draft plan based on stakeholder input by late spring 2016. Public open house meetings on the “One Truckee River” plan are now scheduled for mid to late summer 2016.
The Truckee River is a community asset – a treasure, really – for residents and visitors alike. Many of us spend weekends and as much free time we can get along its banks or in its water. For many residents and visitors the Truckee River Trail through both Reno and Sparks is the best way to spend a lunch hour or a day enjoying the river and absorbing a bit of nature running through our urban home. Truckee Meadows residents embraced the Truckee River and enabled the cities and county to create a trail that spans the valley from west to east right along the river. Recently, river projects at Reno’s downtown Whitewater Park and Spark’s Rock Park enhance river function and provide very popular recreation for kayakers, rafters, and swimmers. A downtown amphitheater at Wingfield Park provides a venue for performances and events enjoyed by thousands. The Trail is continuous from Ivan Sack Park in Reno all the way to Vista in Sparks.
Truckee River Trail winds along the Truckee River from Ivan Sack park in Reno to Vista in Sparks (Click to expand; map ends at McCarran Blvd)
We love the Truckee River
Most of us love the river and enjoy the river and depend on the river. We want community leaders to focus more on the river – orient buildings and activities to face the river to offer inviting spaces for all of us to experience and enhance our daily lives. And, we want the community to protect the river environment by planting and protecting the trees that line its shores, improve water quality by reducing and filtering storm runoff, improve recreational opportunities and public access for pedestrian and bicyclers, enhance fish passage by removing barriers and providing more space for the river, and create more open space along the river to protect the flood plain where it is still available as envisioned in the Community Flood Plan of 2005. More can and should be done to protect the Truckee Meadow’s most important natural feature.
Graffiti, trash, and vandalism … OH MY …
Take a walk or ride on the Truckee River Trail today. Depending on precisely where you end up along the Trail what you’ll be confronted with trash and vandalism and graffiti that not only detracts from the experience, but also keeps a good number of people from ever returning because they see the Trail itself as a threatening environment given to gang scrawls and homeless encampments. Reno, Sparks and Washoe County do try to maintain the Trail and clean up the mess left by taggers and gangs and vandals but it is an unrelenting problem requiring continual input of money and personnel. The homeless issue is a complex problem for our entire society, but it doesn’t mean that we should ignore the impact it has on the river Trail or environment. How do city and county leaders and all of us in the Truckee Meadows better address the continual damage to the Trail so that it becomes the asset it should be?
Over the spring and summer I took some photos along the Trail which helps to document the blight that confronts the Truckee River Trail walker or biker both in Sparks and Reno. To fix some of these problems will take a greater effort than has been available in the past. Are our leaders and community up to the challenge.
Insightful research led Bruce Bledsoe’s career as a journalist and opinion page editor for the Reno Gazette-Journal. In 2001 Bruce Bledsoe won “Editorial of the Year” with his piece: “Private briefings affront to public.” Retiring from the newspaper business didn’t stop his desire to research interesting topics or write about them. Let’s just say that the Truckee River stands out as interesting being one of the most fought over rivers in the nation. Bruce has taken up the challenge to fill in the gaps in all of our knowledge of our iconic river with an entire series on the Truckee River — covering topics from atmospheric storms to zeroing in on where the diminished and diminishing “flood project” is going.
Bruce has generously provided to the Yacht Club some of his most recent insightful articles on the Truckee River, but many more are soon to be available on his website. We’ll let you know when that happens – right here. In the meantime, enjoy these 14 copyrighted articles found in our resources page. We’ve put the first 6 articles online already and will add others over the next couple of months. Check back with us to learn about not only the founding mothers of the “Yacht Club”, but how the Club influenced the flood project.
John Champion Park in DownTown Reno
Bruce writes about Boise’s restoration of its much maligned and neglected namesake river and how that led to the town’s green belt success story. And what about those “flood walls” you see (too often)? Who thought that up? Just what were the “Vista Reefs” that the Army Corps of Engineers engineered away? And is it possible to protect communities from flooding caused by encroachment on river floodplains and wetlands when private property rights advocates say “anything goes”? Bruce answers these questions – and plenty more – to help you and me understand how we got to where we are today and visualize a way forward. Thanks, Bruce!
[Click on “Resources” and find the articles you’re interested in. If the particular article link isn’t active, check back as we are adding them a little at a time.]
Floating the river is a popular summer activity which depends on adequate river flows.
The Truckee River is the keystone of our communities from the town of Truckee in California across the state line in Nevada to the cities of Reno and Sparks, and continuing on to Wadsworth and Nixon on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation. The river is our life blood supplying water for many uses along its 114 mile length. The river paints a different scene with its sinuous blue ribbon of water through each day and throughout the year. It talks to its visitors in its turbulent rapids and quiet riffles alike. It is home to fishes and birds in all seasons. It is a place of solace for all of us.
The goal on our pages is to remind us that the Truckee River is essential to our way-of-life – to remind us that we use the river but must not over-use the river – to remind us that a clean river is not just essential to fish and wildlife but to all of us as well – to remind us that flood plains are publicly costly places to develop businesses and infrastructure – to remind us that recreation is dependent on public access to the river – to remind us that flood-control is best achieved by not needing it – to remind us that restoring the river is akin to restoring our future.
We welcome discussion on our pages of the often complex water issues facing our communities. Understanding the important roles of water conservation, water treatment, flood control, river restoration, river recreation, and protecting the river floodplain is necessary to the formation of sound public policies to keep the river healthy for generations to come.
We hope that the website will also offer background and resource and historical information which will inform us all.
Your help in commenting and offering feedback will help us in making sure our information is up-to-date and accurate.