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 …
Ever wonder why the Truckee River looks … well … bruised and abused once it gets to Nevada? The damage to the river’s native trout and bird life has been 150 years in the making. Today, we’re living with the consequences of decisions to divert flows and, literally, straighten out the Truckee River that were made by the first settlers to the area and subsequent generations – both good and bad. But we had and still have a chance to do things right by the river we all love.
Flood Wall near Walmart constructed on Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Lands in 2009
Bruce Bledsoe explains the current state of affairs of Truckee River restoration successes and otherwise in two articles just posted to our website:
You can find all of Bruce’s loaned articles (© Bruce Bledsoe, 2014) on our website under Resources and see all the Chapter title’s of Bruce’s book there as well. And while you’re looking around don’t miss all the other posted tidbits from the Pyramid Lake water elevations of the 21st century to the Truckee River Watershed Map (produced by the Nature Conservancy).
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.
Time was that the community came together to develop our community flood coalition flood project. That project protected the river and the businesses and residences. The idea was clear. Re-create a “living river” within the reality of our community with businesses, homes, and recreation needs. Protect the river by creating a new flood plain for the river from Rock boulevard to Lockwood. Keep levees away from the river. Keep levees away from residences. Elevate critical buildings. Restore the river and give the community parks and recreation areas for generations.
John Champion Park in DownTown Reno
That was then and now — well, we have no parks or recreation, no restoration within the Truckee Meadows, a contentious road that occupies open space agricultural land, more levees and flood walls — no living river.
Can that be changed? Will the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers honor their earlier commitments? Will the Flood Project Board put back the park and restoration elements that the community supports and pays for with an quarter percent sales tax increase? We think a new discussion is needed among all residents and our leaders to make sure that whatever flood project is built it reflects the values and needs of the community.